WINTER GARDEN, Fla. -- Lew Burdette, MVP of the 1957 World
Series when he pitched the Milwaukee Braves to their only
championship, died Tuesday. He was 80.
Burdette had been ill for an extended period with lung cancer.
Family members were with him when he died at home, they told the
A two-time All-Star and a member of the Braves' Hall of Fame,
Burdette was 203-144 with a 3.66 ERA from 1950-67. He also pitched
Burdette's greatest success came in the 1957 Series when he went
3-0 with an 0.67 ERA while pitching three complete games against
the New York Yankees. He capped his performance with a seven-hit
shutout in Game 7 at Yankee Stadium, finishing off a run of 24
straight scoreless innings.
"I have a boatload of memories about Lew Burdette,"
commissioner Bud Selig told The Associated Press by telephone from
Milwaukee, where he grew up rooting for the Braves. "I think what
I remember most was that he was a tremendous competitor. He pitched
in pain, he pitched to win.
"Winning that Game 7 at Yankee Stadium, 5-0, Eddie Mathews
fielding Moose Skowron's smash and stepping on third base for the
final out. What a day that was," he said. "I kept in touch with
him. He came back here quite a lot. The last time I saw him was at
Warren Spahn's funeral."
Burdette started his career with the Yankees and was traded to
the Boston Braves for Johnny Sain during the 1951 season. He also
spent time with the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia
Phillies and California.
The righty led the NL with 21 wins in 1959, ERA (2.70) in 1956
and twice led the league in shutouts. He pitched a no-hitter
against the Phillies on Aug. 18, 1960, and was the winning pitcher
in a famous game in which Harvey Haddix lost a perfect game in the
13th inning -- Burdette went all 13 innings for the victory.
Born Selva Lewis Burdette Jr. in Nitro, W.Va., he was called
both "Lew" and "Lou." He was 179-120 in 13 seasons for the
Braves. He was Atlanta's pitching coach in 1972-73.
Burdette went 17-9 in 1957, then took over the Series. He beat
the Yankees 4-2 in Game 2 and outpitched Whitey Ford for a 1-0
victory in Game 5. Burdette came three days later to clinch the
He was 20-10 in 1958, again teaming with Spahn to pitch the
Braves into the World Series against the Yankees. Burdette homered
and won Game 2 but, with chances to close out the championship,
lost Game 5 and again in Game 7. The teams were tied at 2 in the
eighth inning of the final game, but Skowron's three-run homer
helped New York pull away.
Burdette hit 12 home runs, including two off Sandy Koufax. The
Braves star especially enjoyed swinging at the Coliseum, where the
Dodgers played from 1958-61. The reconfigured football stadium
featured a left-field pole about 250 feet from home plate, along
with a screen more than 40 feet high.
Burdette hit half of his career homers at the Coliseum, and
lofted a fly ball over the screen for his only grand slam as part
of two-homer, five-RBI game against the Dodgers in 1958.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lou's family, friends and
many admirers," Braves general manager John Schuerholz said. "Lou
was a true gentleman and one of the greatest pitchers in Braves'
history. We will miss him."
Burdette was survived by his wife, Mary Ann; son Lewis;
daughters Madge, Mary Lou Burdette-Wieloszynski and Elaina Fontana;
a brother, a sister, eight grandchildren and six