Thursday, January 24, 2008

Indians Uniform Number - 3 Earl Averill

I know that the choice for all-time Indian with a #3 on his jersey may have seemed pretty cut and dry, but there were at least two other players that could have taken the top spot. Plus, this list boasts not one, but TWO names cursed with innuendo in the vein of Rusty Kuntz (no pun intended):

Bob Rothel - Part of one season (1945) - Rothel had a career total of 10 at-bats in 4 games, all with the Tribe. He got 2 hits and was walked 3 times, which kept his avg down to .200 but gave him an OBP of .385 - an interesting contrast in statistics.

Dale Mitchell - 11 seasons (1946-1956) - As I have documented on here, Dale Mitchell was the first card I ever paid money for. The picture is from my collection and you can read the story by reading my first post on here ever! :-) In college, Mitchell set the OK Sooner records for career avg (.467) and for senior-year avg (.507). In his rookie year, he played in only 11 games while racking up a .432 avg (without any triples or homers, no less). Throughout his Indians career, he had SEVEN seasons with .300+ averages, and never struck out more than 21 times in any season. In fact, he struck out only 116 times for 3,960 at-bats (that's only 3%!). He appeared in two all-star games (1949, 1952) and two World Series' as an Indian (1948,1954). Never a big home-run hitter, Mitchell was more of a line-drive, "Git R done" kinda guy, posting five seasons with 20+ doubles, and five 55-plus RBI seasons. He would have most likely grabbed up the honors for All-Time Uniform #3 had Earl Averill not played for the Tribe.

Dutch Meyer - 2 seasons (1945-46) - Meyer came to the Indians after being discharged from service. He played in 130 games with 524 at-bats, bringing a .292 average by the end of the season. During '45, he had 153 hits, 29 doubles, 8 triples, and knocked in 7 home runs. This guy was ready to play some ball after serving his country. In '46, he played in 72 games and his average fell to .232. The Indians traded him to the Yanks.

Earl Averill - 10+ Seasons (1929-part of 1939) - Averill came into the majors when he was 27 years old. In his time with the Tribe, only three seasons did he hit below .300 (1935, 1937, 1939). And even in 1937, he hit .299. He still holds Tribe all-time records for total bases (2401 not counting walks, 3126 with walks), runs batted in (1084), runs (1154), and triples (121). Add in his 3rd all-time Tribe leader in hits and doubles. Then, for good measure, top it off with the 4th place team record holder in home runs and walks. For dessert, let's toss in 6 All-Star appearances, including one in which he smacked a ball off Dizzy Dean's toe, breaking it. He was inducted into the HOF in 1975, and the Indians retired his jersey number that same year.

Eddie Robinson - 2 full seasons and 3 partial seasons (1942, '46-'48, '57) - He played in 8 games each for his first two seasons with the Indians. In '47, he hit 14 homers and brought in 52 total RBIs. He then went on to help the Tribe win the World Series in '48 after batting in 83 RBIs and 125 hits in 134 games. He is most notoriously known for not lending Larry Doby his first baseman's mitt (according to snopes and other Internet sources). In '57, he played for three teams (Tiger, Indians, Orioles) but his best run during that time was during his 19 games in Cleveland (batting .222 versus batting .000 for the other two teams).

George Strickland - 7+ seasons (1952-1960) - Strickland's best seasonal average came in 1953 (.284) and the next year, he helped the Tribe get to the World Series. Not really a power hitter, he provided consistency during his career. He averaged 28 runs, 61 hits, and 2.75 homers per season with Cleveland. His long career with the Indians continued after he was released as he served as acting manager for an ailing Birdie Tebbetts. Another contender, had Averill skipped the Tribe.

Lyman Linde - 2 seasons (1947-48) - In 1947, Linde pitched in ONE game, and managed to accrue a 26.99 ERA. Yes, you read that correctly - Twenty-six point nine-nine. Ouch. Comparatively speaking, his follow-up season's 5.40 ERA actually looked amazing. He never batted in 1947, and in '48, he batted twice. Anyone care to guess his avg? Yeap, goose-egg... I could not find a picture of him, though I am not really surprised.

Mickey Vernon - 3 seasons (1949-'50, '58) - Vernon batted .291 in his first year with the Tribe, hitting 18 homers, getting 170 hits, 27 doubles, and 83 RBIs. In his next season, he dropped to 90 at-bats with 17 hits, watching his average drop to .189. In his return to the Tribe in 1958, he got 49 runs on 104 hits while bringing in 55 RBIs. His .293 avg netted him a place on the '58 AL all-star team.

Rusty Peters - 6 seasons (1940-1946) - His name can't help but invoke that of another player with an oxidized sexual reference. Ironically (given his name), he played as an all-round utility player. All innuendo aside, Peters' average hovered near or just above the .220 mark during his time with the Tribe. During his 6 seasons with Cleveland, he averaged about a 10% hit-bats ratio (except in '46, where he had no hits for 21 at-bats).

Woodie Held - 6+ seasons (part 1958-1964) - Another innuendo-related name graces the #3 uniform for the Tribe. Throughout his Indians career, Held batted near or above .240 each season except his first. During his tenure, he posted 4 seasons at 100+ hits and 3 with 80+. He also posted double-digit doubles every season except his first. Same holds true for homers (3 of which were 20+). The downside is that he also managed to post 100+ strikeouts for 3 seasons. Still, an all-around trooper.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the cards. I got them in and have them posted on my Reds blog for all to enjoy.