"Plain truth of the matter was." says Burdette now, "I was scared."
79 WINS IN FIVE YEARS
He recovered, however, enough to win six games in relief for Boston in 1952 and became a starter midway through that first wonderfully hysterical year of 1953 in Milwaukee. In the last five seasons the big man who wears Sain's old No. 33 has won 15, 15, 13, 19 and 17 games, once led the National League in earned run average and finished runner-up another time. Yet until the second week of October 1957, it had generally been Burdette's misfortune to be remembered best for two things: a supposed prejudice against Negro batters, because of alleged bean balls, and a supposed prejudice against all batters, because of alleged spit balls.
"I guess I'm an old troublemaker," Lew once told Cleon Walfoort of the Milwaukee Journal. "If I went to church, they'd say I was into the collection plate. I'm not really mean up here, but I guess I was in the minors and the boys know I can still get mean."
Anyway, Burdette isn't worried about what people say any more. He is still young and, with experience, improving every year. He may never pitch again as he did on those three October days against the Yankees but, because of them, he will be a better pitcher in all the days from April to September still to come. Even an old hand like Casey Stengel can still learn things from a World Series.
"I learned in this one," says Casey, "that a pitcher of that type can be very valuable to a ball club. But I don't figure they want to trade him."
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]