Lew Burdette, 1957 world Series MVP
- November 22, 1926
- 6' 2"
- 180 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-26-1950 with NYA
- Allstar Selections:
- 1957 BR, 1957 WsMVP
Years before Mark Fidrych became famous for talking to the baseball, Lew Burdette used the same antics to psych himself up on the mound. Often accused of throwing a spitball, Burdette never bothered to refute that charge, and used the paranoia to his advantage. In the 1957 World Series, he shut out the New York Yankees twice in four days to give the Milwaukee Brewers their only World Championship.
When he posed for his 1959 Topps baseball card, Lew Burdette grabbed teammate Warren Spahn's glove and pretended to be a lefty. Topps missed the joke and printed the card with the error.
Burdette had excellent control. Over a four-year stretch in which he averaged 20 wins and 280 innings per season, he walked a total of 156 batters, or 39 per year.
In part because he pitched in Milwaukee most of his career, and in part because he was always around the plate, Burdtte gave up his share of home runs. In 1959, he led the National League when he surrendered 38.
On July 22, 1966, pitching in relief for the Angels, Burdette earned his 200th career victory. The Angels scored two runs in the top of the ninth to defeate the Yankees 6-4. Burdette hurled the final two innings in Yankee Stadium, allowing just one hit.
In 1957, Burdette became the second pitcher to throw two shutouts in a World Series, joining Christy Mathewson, who tossed three in 1905.
Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1950
Burdette would sign his name "Lewis" on his contracts, and would alternate between "Lou" and "Lew" for autograph-seekers. He said he really didn't care how his first name (which was actually his middle name) was spelled.
8/18/1960: For MIL (N) vs. PHI (N), 1-0 at MIL. 9 innings pitched.
1957 World Series
1958 World Series
The Pitches He Threw
"My best pitches were a sinker and slider," Burdette said. "I'd move the ball in and out. I always tried to keep it down. I was always being accused of throwing at the hitters. Early Wynn always said that he was the meanest pitcher in the American League, and I was the meanest in the National League." — Sports Collectors Digest, September 4, 1998
Awards and Honors
1957 ML WS MVP
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- 1957 World Series, 1958 World Series, Atlanta Braves, Lew Burdette, Milwaukee Braves, Spitball