By Jim Dresbach, Pentagram Staff WriterMarch 22, 2019
Detroit Tiger first baseman Luzerne "Lu" Blue was a solid line drive hitter who also coaxed American League pitchers into 103 walks during his rookie year of MLB baseball in 1921. Only Babe Ruth reached first base more via the walk with 145.
During parts of 13 seasons in the majors, the rhythmic-nicknamed Blue collected 1,696 base hits and drew 1,092 walks. Today, Blue's grave site inside Arlington National Cemetery is a quick walk from the Old Chapel Gate.
Blue was a World War I veteran when he cracked a big-league roster in the early 1920s.
Other than Negro League star and Army Sgt. Spottswood Poles, he may be the best major leaguer buried in Arlington. Managed by Tiger legend Ty Cobb, Blue played in every game during the 1921 Detroit Tiger season, batted .308 and scored 103 runs.
His ability to draw bases on balls moved switch hitter to the lead-off spot in the batting order during the final two-thirds of the season. Baseball records also indicate Blue was an excellent, gold-glove caliber defensive player.
While starting his baseball career in the Class D Blue Ridge League, Blue's contract was purchased by the Tigers in 1917.
He failed to make the major league team in 1918, and was drafted into the Army.
He was stationed at Camp Lee (now Fort Lee) in Virginia. At Camp Lee, he attained the rank of sergeant in the infantry.
Blue played seven seasons with the Tigers. He finished his career with the St. Louis Browns, the Chicago White Sox, and at the age of 36, made one plate appearance with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1933. Baseball historians rank him as one of the best 100 first basemen of all time.
The Washington, D.C., native is buried in Section 15, grave 272. Blue's final resting place is approximately 30 feet from the wall separating Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and Arlington National Cemetery between the Garfield Drive curve and Selfridge Gate.