Today in Tribe History: May 21, 1902

1902 – In Snohomish, Washington, future Major League Hall of Famer Earl Averill is born.

The left-handed hitting Averill started his professional career in the Pacific Coast League, spending three seasons with the San Francisco Seals. After a breakout .354 season with 36 home runs in 1928, he was sold to the Cleveland Indians for $50,000. A late debut by the standards of his day, Averill homered in his first MLB at bat just over a month shy of his 27th birthday.

From the jump, “Rock” was a mainstay in the Indians lineup. He rarely missed games over his first half dozen seasons in the league and finished fourth in the MVP voting in 1931 and 1932. In 1933, he made the first of six consecutive All-Star teams with the Indians, the only outfielder in the Majors to do so in the first six years of the exhibition. He finished third in the MVP vote in 1936, when he hit a career-high .378 with 28 homers and 126 RBI. Five times in his career he reached triple digits in runs batted in and three times eclipsed the 30-homer plateau.

After 24 games with the Indians in 1939, he was dealt to the Detroit Tigers. He spent two seasons with the club before playing eight games with the Boston Braves in 1941 to wrap up his 13-year career. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1975 and his jersey number three was retired by the Indians that same year.

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