Saturday, November 2, 2013

Player's Ink: Steve Avery 2013 Panini Hometown Signatures

"And then there was Steve Avery. 18-6, 2.94 ERA. Fastball. Change-up. Curveball. Killer. Pull the hat down and let's go. An attacker. All four pitches we're talking about are attackers in different ways, Avery just shows it a little more. Steve had a four-seam fastball. His change-up, he threw it hard. A lot of teams thought he was sinking the ball; it was actually his change-up. He also had a good breaking ball. Steve was able to have success because he trusted a change of speeds at an age most pitchers wouldn't- especially if, like him, you're signed out of high school as a power pitcher...the best young pitcher I ever had the privilege of coaching."~ Leo Mazzone, from his book, Tales From the Mound.

I've been waiting 22 years to pick up an autograph of Steve Avery; it's something I thought would have come much sooner than it did (and on a baseball). Well, all these years later, and I finally picked one up for a very reasonable $7.95 price tag. Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz might have had more successful careers- but it was Avery who was always my favorite. And if you've ever listened to Leo Mazzone on the radio (or read the book I've quoted from), then you know that Avery was a favorite of his as well.

Signature Moment:
1991 NLCS against the Pittsburgh Pirates: Won the NLCS MVP after going 2-0, while allowing no runs over 16.1 IP, 17 K, 4 BB, 9 hits. The sixteen and one-third consecutive scoreless innings pitched by Avery set a new NLCS record.

Signature Ritual:
Taking a nap in the trainers room prior to games he started.

The Glories of Youth:
During the Braves unlikely 1991 worst-to-first season, the 21 year-old Avery torched the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom they were fighting for the division title, by going going 3-0 in four games, with an 0.85 ERA, 0.632 WHIP, 22 K, 3 Bb in 31.2 Innings. Of those four appearances, he had 2 complete games and 1 shutout.

Made major league debut at 20- becoming the youngest Braves pitcher since Mike McQueen in 1969. 

Youngest Braves pitcher to reach 50 career wins.

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