Giving Earl a Whirl (at Catcher)

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Earl Averill

Earl Averill spent eight years as a major league catcher, third baseman and outfielder. He played for five different teams, and played his entire major league career in the shadow of his Hall of Fame father.

His father, Earl Averill Sr., hit .318 over a 13-year career. Earl Jr. batted .242 for his career, and was the first starting catcher for the Los Angeles Angels.

Earl Averill had only one season as an everyday player. That was in 1961, when he hit 21 home runs with 59 RBIs as the starting catcher for the Los Angeles Angels.

Averill signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1952 and made his first appearance in Cleveland in 1956. He played in 42 games with the Indians that season, hitting .237. After two more seasons in the minors, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs and then dealt to the Chicago White Sox in 1960. From 1956 through 1960, Averill played a total of 195 games in the majors (49 per season), hitting a combined .229.

In December 1960, the Los Angeles Angels made Averill the forty-fifth selection in the American League expansion draft. Averill opened the season as the Angels’ starting catcher and had the best season of his major league career, batting .266 with 21 home runs and 59 RBIs.

Coming into the 1962 season, the Angels made Bob Rodgers the team’s starting catcher and Averill was relegated to a backup role, including some spot duty in left field. He hit .219 for the Angels in 1962 and was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. He appeared in only 47 games for the Phillies in 1963, hitting .268 with three home runs and eight RBIs in 71 at-bats.

Averill retired after the 1963 season. In his seven-season career, Averill batted .242 with 249 hits, including 41 doubles and 44 home runs.

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