Earl Averill Jr., whose father is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame and who had a lengthy major league career of his own, died Wednesday night at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma at 84. Averill was a catcher for the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians from 1956-63.
No cause of death has been disclosed, nor have any funeral arrangements been announced. The Mariners plan a moment of silence Thursday night prior to their game with the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field.
Born Sept. 9, 1931 in Cleveland, where Earl Sr. — “The Earl of Snohomish” — starred for the Indians from 1929-39 prior to his election to the Hall of Fame in 1975, Averill attended the University of Oregon, becoming the school’s first baseball All-America in 1953.
He made his major league debut April 19, 1956 for the Indians. Averill had his best year in 1961 with the Angels. In 115 games, he had a .266 batting average and 21 home runs. The following year, Averill set an MLB record that he shares with Piggy Ward. He had the most consecutive plate appearances reaching a base with 17, which he did from June 3-10, 1962.
During his seven major league seasons, Averill appeared in 449 games and compiled a .242 batting average. He hit 44 home runs with 159 RBIs. He hit a career-high two home runs for the Angels Aug. 20, 1961 against the Minnesota Twins, and produced a career-high four hits twice, May 12, 1959 against Milwaukee and July 22, 1959 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Averill also played for the 1964-65 Seattle Rainiers near the end of his career.