Earl Averill Baseball Facts and Stats by the Baseball Page
Earl "Rock" Averill was a journeyman outfielder who played two years of minor league baseball before breaking into the Cleveland Indians organization in 1929. Averill had shown his offensive prowess in the minor leagues, driving in 173 runs for the San Francisco Seals in 1928. The next year, Averill signed with the Indians for a reported $50,000 and lived up to his expectations. In his first at-bat for the Indians, Averill homered, and went on to lead the Indians in homeruns with a team-record 18 in 1929. That first year in Cleveland, Averill hit .332 and quickly became a fan favorite, despite his lack of flair in the field.
In the 1930 season, Averill avoided a sophmore slump and hit .339 with 119 runs batted in. In a September doubleheader, Averill hit three homeruns in the first game of the doubleheader, then hit one more in the second game, totalling 11 RBI's for the day, which still stands as an American League record. His next two seasons, Averill hit 32 homeruns each year, drove in 143 and 124 runs respectively, and finished 4th in MVP voting each year.
Averill became an annual all-star, making the American League squad for 6 straight years from 1933 to 1938, and hit a line drive in the 1937 All-star game that broke Dizzy Dean's toe and eventually ended Dean's career. Averill was the only American League outfielder to be named to the first 6 all-star games. In June of 1937, Averill was bothered by temporary paralysis in his legs that was later diagnosed as a spinal malformation. The disease forced Averill to change his batting style, but he never regained his hitting prowess.
Shortly into the 1939 season, Cleveland traded Averill to Detroit, angering Indians fans, and although Averill helped the Tigers win the pennant, he was reduced to a pinch hitting role in the playoffs, going 0 for 3 in 3 pinch hit attempts in the World Series. In 1941, Averill was released by the Tigers and signed as a free agent with the Boston Braves, but after playing less than one month with the Braves, Averill was released by the Braves and subsequently retired at the age of 39.
Averill remains Cleveland's all time leader in total bases (3200), runs batted in (1084), runs scored (1154), and triples (121). He finished his career with a .318 batting average and 238 career home runs, and was elected to the Baseball hall of fame in 1975.
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