Lieb was working as a clerk for the Norfolk & Western Railroad in 1909 when he began
submitting biographies of players to Baseball Magazine. That led to a job with the Philadelphia News Bureau, and in 1911 he moved to New York, joined the new Base Ball Writers Association, and held honorary card No. 1. During the next 20 years he worked for the New York Sun, Evening
Telegraph, and Post.
In 1931 the cigar- and pipe-smoking Lieb took a team to Japan for a profitable tour. That and other profitable investments allowed him to retire in 1934. The following year Taylor Spink induced him to write a regular column and the most important obituaries for The Sporting News, which he did from his home in St. Petersburg, Florida, for 35 years. He also did a weekly Hot Stove League column for the St. Petersburg Times. His books include the classic Baseball As I Have Known It;
Connie Mack, Grand Old Man of Baseball; and team histories of the Tigers,
Red Sox, Cardinals, Pirates, Orioles, and Phillies. He received the J.G. Taylor Spink
Award from the Hall of Fame in 1972.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»February 9, 1920: The Joint Rules Committee bans all foreign substances or other alterations to the ball by pitchers, including saliva, resin, talcum powder, paraffin, and the shine and emery ball. A pitcher caught cheating will be suspended for 10 days. The American League allows each club to name just two pitchers who will be allowed to use the pitch for one more season. The National League allows each club to name all its spitball pitchers. No pitchers other than those designated will be permitted to use it, and none at all after 1920. Other rules changes: the adoption of writer Fred Lieb's proposal that a game-winning home run with men on base be counted as a home run even if its run is not needed to win the game. Also, the intentional walk is banned, and everything that happens in a protested game will go in the records.
»May 15, 1922: In a 4–1 win at New York, Ty Cobb beats out a grounder to SS Everett Scott. Veteran writer Fred Lieb scores it a hit in the box score he files with the Associated Press. But official scorer John Kieran of the New York Tribune gives an error to Scott. At the season's end, the American League official records, based on AP box scores, list Cobb at .401. New York writers complain unsuccessfully, claiming it should be .399, based on the official scorer's stats. Lieb will reverse himself at the end of the year, but Ban Johnson goes with the hit call.
»December 14, 1922:
Still smarting over the rejection of the official scorer's decision in the Ty Cobb case, the national baseball writers' group meets and votes to back the New York group's protest. Fred Lieb, who had filled in the AP box score giving Cobb the disputed hit, asks Ban Johnson to revise the records to .399 for Cobb. Johnson complains of not receiving box scores from some writers, who are appointed by the clubs as official scorers.
»September 11, 1923: After Yankee leadoff hitter Whitey Witt reaches first base on a controversial infield hit that is ruled a single, Boston P Howard Ehmke retires the next 27 batters for a 3–0 win, his 20th of the year. The Yankee crowd exhorts the scorer Fred Lieb to reverse his call on the hard grounder that 3B Howard Shanks booted, but the one hit stood. Ehmke has now given up just one hit in his last two games.