13. Lew Burdette
Lew Burdette arrived in Milwaukee when the Braves moved from Boston in 1953 and his maturation mirrored that of the ballclub. The Braves acquired Burdette and cash in August 1951 from the New York Yankees for right-hander Johnny Sain.
Burdette was a two-time All-Star in Milwaukee, selected in 1957 and 1959, but was never better than in the 1957 World Series, when he threw two shutouts and allowed just two runs in three complete game efforts, earning World Series MVP honors in the Braves’ triumph over the Yankees. He couldn’t duplicate the magic the following October, going 1-2 with a 5.64 ERA in three starts in a seven-game loss to New York.
Burdette won 20 games twice with Milwaukee, in 1958 and 1959, and led the NL in ERA in 1956 and in shutouts in both 1956 and 1959. He topped the circuit in innings in 1961, as well.
A workhorse, Burdette was in the top 10 in innings pitched for eight consecutive seasons (1954-61). He finished third in the Cy Young Award voting in 1958, when there was just one winner for both leagues.
Originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Yankees in April 1947 out of the University of Richmond, Burdette debuted in the majors in September 1950. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs in June 1964, sold to the Philadelphia Phillies in May 1965 and, after his release in October 1965, spent two more seasons with the California Angels before retiring after the 1967 season.
Burdette died in February 2007 in Winter Garden, Fla., at the age of 80.
Here are Burdette’s statistics from his 11 seasons with the Braves in Milwaukee: