Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Earl of Snohomish

Earl Averill was 27 years old when he broke into the Big Leagues with the Cleveland Indians. He had gotten married at 20 and was working as a florist when at 26, somehow he was recruited to play for the San Francisco Seals. Maybe he thought playing ball was not a sound career choice for a married man. Maybe, because he was stuck up in Snohomish, Washington (about 30 miles northeast of Seattle) in the Pacific Northwest, nobody scouted him. Regardless, after one year in the minors, in 1929, he was the starting centerfielder for the Cleveland Indians. Almost immediately he was the best one in the American League - until a guy named Dimaggio started playing later in the decade. The Indians were never contenders during Averill's career - they usually hovered a little over .500. But Averill could play a little. At age 34 in 1936 he had 232 hits, 28 homers, 126 RBIs, and batted .378. He was traded to the Tigers in 1939 and got to play in the 1940 World Series when the Tigers lost to the Reds. Averill went hitless in 3 at bats as a pinch hitter.

Averill's timing when it came to baseball cards was good. He was playing at his peak when the classic 1933 Goudey set came out. He was shown on card #194 batting left-handed in front of some blurry powder blue baseball fans. I have in my collection the other classic card of Averill during that time period. It's the 1935 Diamond Stars card #35 that shows Averill about to toss a ball right-handed from center field. There is a red advertisement above the center field fence.
His uniform is pin-striped.

Averill went home after playing a few games for the Boston Braves in 1941 and died in Everett, Washington in 1983. Grady Sizemore, the Indians' current center fielder, had been born the year before. He would grow up in the same town where Averill died.

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed Mr. blogger. Why starting with these two? My guess: (1) home grown (and buried product and (2) current development. How many cards do you have that qualify for this museum? Another comment to follow under separate cover.