Lyons broke into the major leagues in . He recorded his first 2 wins as a relief pitcher in a doubleheader on October 6, 1923, making him one of the first pitchers to perform the feat. He worked his way into the starting rotation the following year, when he posted a 12-11 record and 4.87 ERA. Over the following 18 seasons, he won 20 or more games three times (in , , and ) and became a fan favorite in Chicago.
Lyons was at his crafty best in 1930, when he posted a 22-15 record and A.L.-leading totals of 29 complete games and 297⅔ innings for a team that finished 62-92.
Lyons was such a draw among the fans that, as his career began to wind down in , manager Jimmy Dykes began using him only in Sunday afternoon games, which earned him the nickname "Sunday Teddy". Lyons made the most of his unusual scheduling, winning 52 of 82 decisions from 1939 until his retirement as a player in , including a stellar 1942 season in which he led the league with a 2.10 ERA and completed every one of his 20 starts.
Lyons succeeded Dykes as the White Sox' manager in May but in 2¾ years had less success as a manager than he had as a player, guiding them to a meager 185-245 record. He stopped pitching for good after , having compiled a 260-230 record, 356 complete games, 1073 strikeouts and a 3.67 ERA. After severing his association with the White Sox in , he coached the pitchers for the Detroit Tigers (1949-52) and Brooklyn Dodgers ().
Prior to a 1931 arm injury, his pitches included a "sailer" (now known as a cut fastball), knuckleball, curveball, and changeup. After the 1931 injury, his pitches included a fastball, slow curve, knuckleball and an even slower curveball used as a change-up.
He never appeared in a postseason game, as the White Sox were usually far behind the American League leaders during his career. However, New York Yankees manager Joe McCarthy said, "If he'd pitched for the Yankees, he would have won over 400 games."
Notable White Sox in the Hall of Fame Luis Aparicio Luke Appling Eddie Collins Charles Comiskey George Davis Red Faber Carlton Fisk Nellie Fox Goose Gossage Harry Hooper Al Lopez Ted Lyons Ray Schalk Tom Seaver Bill Veeck Ed Walsh Hoyt Wilhelm Early Wynn
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