Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lew Burdette, 1926-2007

I was just 9 years old, but it was my first-ever Major League baseball game. It was 1966 and my grandfather took me to the Big A in Anaheim. Angels vs. Yankees. I saw Mickey Mantle giving an interview near the dugout and Jimmy Piersall was playing in the Angels' outfield. Whitey Ford was on the mound for the Yanks, closing out his last season, and the starting pitcher for the Angels was another old guy, Lew Burdette, who was then 40. The Angels won in extra innings, on an inside-the-park home run by Paul Schaal. Life was good and the memory stuck.

I didn't know back then that big Lew was probably a spitballer, but he never got caught, so maybe he wasn't. Or he was the best ever.

Let's say the best ever. Lew Burdette died Tuesday at his home in Winter Garden, Fla. He was 80 and had lung cancer.


Jill said...

You just took me back to my childhood. Mantle was my favorite player and the Yankees were my favorite team. I remember Lew Burdette pitching. Makes me feel old.

Anonymous said...

I remember the night Burdette pitched against Haddix and won the game in 13 innings. I was just 11 years old and living in Pittsburgh. Lou was one of my favorite pitchers, along with Warren Spahn. Thanks for the memory