The most important thing that needs to be mentioned is the three seasons the war cost Lemon, as well as Feller, Ted Williams and a lot of other great players. But, prior to the war, Lemon was a third basemen who was not a very good hitter. Lemon took some time to learn how to pitch during the war, an opportunity he may have not gotten if he had still been playing in the major leagues. Perhaps he never would have tried to become a pitcher and his career been over. So yes, the war cost Lemon some time, but not like Feller and Williams, it did not cost Lemon numbers on the field. In fact, it may have salvaged Bob Lemon's career and allowed him to become a full time pitcher.
Though he could not cut it as a MLB infielder, he became a very good hitting pitcher. He hit over .200 for all but 3 seasons, and .236 for his career. In 1941 and 1942, at age 20 and 21, respectively, he had 1 hit in 9 ABs as a backup 3B. He was a good fielder, but his throws were known to have a natural sink to them. When he returned for the 1946 season, he was the opening day CF for the Cleveland Indians. That particular opening day was also the one where Feller threw his no hitter, the 2nd of his career. In fact, Lemon made a miraculous catch and doubled off a runner at 2B to preserve the no hitter. He played 16 games in the OF that season, and 35 as a pitcher, 5 starts. It was not until 1948 where Lemon became a staple in the Indians rotation, winning 20 games for the first time in his career. The Indians won the World Series that season, with Lemon winning 2 games in the fall classic against the Boston Braves. Lemon lost two of the four games in the 1954 series against the Giants, as the Indians were swept in that series. Lemon would win 20 games 7 out of 9 seasons from 1948 to 1956.
His winning percentage of .618 was a big reason he made the HOF in 1976. Making the transition from an infielder to pitcher and becoming an ace helped also. Writers gave him a pass for a lack of longevity because of both the transition and the fact he served during the war. But like I stated earlier, Lemon's career may have been saved because he was in the navy. He may have never learned to become a pitcher if he had stayed on the major league roster.
Lemon was a respected MLB manager, known mostly for leading the 1978 New York Yankees to a miraculous comeback to win the AL East, Pennant and World Series. He was rewarded by owner George Steinbrenner with a lifetime contract after guiding that team to the World Series. He also managed in Kansas City (1970-1973), Chicago White Sox (1977-1978) and two stints with the Yankees in 1978-1979 and 1981-1982.