Zuverink pitched for eight seasons in the big leagues, compiling a 32-36 career record with 40 saves. He came up with the Cleveland Indians in 1951 and pitched in 16 games over the next two seasons. Primarily a reliever, Zuverink made 25 of his 31 career starts for the Detroit Tigers in 1954. He was 9-13 that season with a 3.59 ERA and 72 strikeouts. He joined the Baltimore Orioles in 1955 and had a strong season the following year, leading the American League in saves (16), games finished (40) and games (62). He was again the AL leader in games (56) and games finished (37) in 1957, a year that saw him earn a career-high 10 wins. He had another good year in 1958 but saw his workload vastly reduced in 1959 which would be his final year in the majors.
Despite his success as a reliever, Zuverink’s fondest memory came from an 11-inning start he made for the Tigers against the Cleveland Indians. As he notes, he pitched a shutout in the game, allowing three hits and striking out five. Don Mossi pitched the complete game for Cleveland and took the loss when he gave up a home run to Harvey Kuenn. You can find a box score for the game here.
Zuverink formed one half of the first all ‘Z’ battery in major league history when he pitched to Frank Zupo on July 1, 1957 against the New York Yankees.
Zuverink died in Tempe, Arizona on September 8, 2014.
George Zuverink – career stats