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Earl Averill

Earl Averill

Position(s):
OF
Nicknames:
Rock, The Earl of Snohomish
Born:
May 21, 1902
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 9"
Weight:
172 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-16-1929 with CLE
Hall of Fame:
1975

Intro

Earl Averill was the starting center fielder for the American League in the first five All-Star Games. "Rock" patrolled the outfield for Cleveland, Detroit, and Boston for 13 seasons, hitting 238 homers and batting .318 with more than 400 doubles. He hit .378 in 1936, and finished in the top ten in AL MVP voting four times. He blasted a homer in his first big league at-bat, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975.

Unform Number

#3 (1931-1939, 1941), #24 (1939 Tigers), #27 (1940)

Replaced By

The Indians dealt Averill to Detroit in June of 1939 because they had Ben Chapman to play in his outfield spot. They had acquired Chapman in a trade from the Red Sox in December, 1938.

Best Season

The stocky center fielder blasted his way to a third-place finish in American League MVP award voting, batting .378 with a league-best 232 hits and 15 triples. He hit 28 home runs, drove in 126, scored 136, and slugged .627. He also enjoyed a 20-game hitting streak.

Factoid 1

Earl Averill hit the line-drive that struck Dizzy Dean on the foot and helped hasten the end of the pitcher's stellar career. The play occurred in the 1937 All-Star Game.

Transition

June 14, 1939: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Detroit Tigers for Harry Eisenstat and cash. This was an extremely unpopular move in Cleveland.

Strengths

Extra-base and home run power.

Weaknesses

Averill was (at least on one occasion) accused of being nonchalant. The Sporting News, discussing his hot start in 1938, noted that the 35-year old Averill was playing with newfound spirit. "Always a competent workman, Averill nevertheless has shown a lack of aggressiveness in past campaigns that caused him to be marked as a somehwat colorless performer," TSN wrote on June 2, 1938. "His old, lethargic attitude is gone," TSN continued, and Averill "has become a No. 1 hustler." Reports speculated that Averill was spurred by manager Ossie Vitt's approach and the competition from fellow outfielders Jeff Heath and Roy Weatherly.

Feats

On September 17, 1930, Averill belted three homers in one game... He hit for the cycle on August 17, 1933.

Notes

Averill retired as the Indians' franchise leader in runs scored, triples, home runs, RBI, total bases, extra-base hits and slugging. Entering 2004 he still led in runs (1,154), triples (121), RBI (at 1,084 he's the only Indian ever to reach 1,000), total bases (still almost 900 ahead of Jim Thome), and extra-base hits (724). Averill's homer mark was passed by Albert Belle (242), Manny Ramirez (236) and finally Thome. Hal Trosky (.551), Belle (.580), Ramirez (.592), and Thome have each surpassed Averill's .542 career slugging percentage as an Indian.

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Tagged:
1935 Pacific Coast League season, All Star, Baseball History, Cleveland Indians, Committee on Baseball Veterans, Detroit Tigers, Dizzy Dean, Earl Averill, Hall of Fame, Harry Eisenstat, Luke Appling, Retired number, The Earl Of Snohomish

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