Greatest Moments : No. 28 Averill Comes Prepared

By Chris Rewers on Tuesday, December 28, 2010

(Editor's Note: Third in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)

Cubs outfielder Earl Averill Jr. was sitting on his couch watching Lew Burdette pitching for the Milwaukee Braves against the New York Yankees in the 1958 World Series and noticed that the right-hander was using his fastball to set up his breaking stuff instead of the other way around, as is customary.


Averill recalled his observation as he sat in the dugout, watching Burdette pitch against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 12, 1959.

"It looked like everything he was throwing was dropping and only occasionally did he throw a fast one," Averill recalled.

The Cubs entered the bottom of the ninth trailing the Braves 3-2 but mounted a comeback against Burdette. With one out, Walt "Moose" Moryn blasted a home run to tie the game.

The Cubs then loaded the bases on singles by Dale Long and Bobby Thomson, and a walk by Lee Walls. With two outs and the bases loaded, Cubs manager Bob Scheffing called upon Averill to pinch hit for pitcher Don Elston.

Burdette got ahead in the count and thought he had escaped the inning when he froze Averill with a 1-and-2 curveball, but umpire Ed Sudol called it a ball. Burdette delivered another curve and Averill was ready, launching a walk-off grand slam over the left-field wall.

"It was the most satisfying hit of my career," Averill recalled years later.

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