Earl Averill is one of the worst players selected to the Hall of Fame, put there by a sympathetic Veterans Committee 34 years after he retired. The Veterans Committee is a strange and mysterious body whose work is as secretive as it was inexplicable to the general public; one can think of some questionable selections by them over the years such as Rick Ferrell (after 18 seasons catching in the big leagues, he never got more than one vote by the baseball writers in any Hall of Fame election) and George Kelly (after 16 seasons as a big-league first baseman, Kelly never got more than five votes from the writers), but Averill may top the list.
He didn't make it to the majors until the age of 26, and in his unremarkable 13-year career he hit just 238 home runs - this for an outfielder in the 1930s, playing in League Park with it's short fences. He never won a batting title, never led the league in home runs, RBIs, runs scored, slugging percentage - in fact, the only major category in which he did lead the league was errors (19 in 1930).
What he could do was hit for average - Averill hit .332 as a rookie, his first of eight .300 plus seasons, and his .318 career average is respectable. He was a graceful but unspectacular centerfielder.
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