Charlie Lea was selected Professional Athlete of the Year in 1985, because he was one of the hottest pitchers in major league baseball. His crowning achievement during his awesome 1984 season was his selection as starting pitcher for the National League in the all-star game, where he was credited with the victory. But such heroics on the baseball diamond were no surprise to Tennessee sports fans.
As a Memphis State Tiger, Lea had led his team to the NCAA regional finals in 1978. His road to the major leagues began at Kingsbury High School and wound its way to Memphis State from Shelby State Junior College. At Memphis State, Lea was one of the leading pitchers in 1978, compiling a 9-2 record with five saves. His no-hitter against Arkansas-Little Rock was one of the highlights of the season. Lea was drafted by the Montreal Expos following his junior year at Memphis State and immediately began moving up through the professional ranks. He was named to the Southern League all-star Team in 1979 and 1980 before being called up to the Expos. He threw his first major league no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants in May of 1981. His 1984 record of 15-10, with an ERA of 2.89 earned him his starting all-star role. Charlie Lea finished off his fine major league career in 1988 after a season with the Minnesota Twins.