A small guy in size only, Lombardi came up with the big plays and big hits for better than 15 years on the Akron sandlots. Emulating his brother, Dick, a charter member in the Hall of Fame, the talented, durable and spirited Lombardi began his AA career with Chester's Diner. Seasons with Krispy Kreme and Zoff Heating followed, before joining the Black Label squad that dominated the League throughout the 1960's. As a catcher, he handled pitchers with remarkable efficiency. Lombardi was named to the All-Star Team 12 consecutive years. That career was highlighted in 1960 when he batted .428 and earned the Frank Garcia Award. During his AA years he never hit under .300 and he never missed a regular season game on any level in his entire baseball career.