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1948 Cleveland Indians season

1948 Cleveland Indians
American League Champions
World Series Champions
Major League affiliations
Location
  • Cleveland Municipal Stadium (since 1932)
  • Cleveland, Ohio (since 1901)
  • Other information
    Owner(s) Bill Veeck
    Manager(s) Lou Boudreau
    Local television WEWS-TV
    Local radio WJW
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    The 1948 Cleveland Indians season was a season in American baseball. The team won a one-game playoff against the Boston Red Sox and would then go onto win their second (and, so far, most recent) World Series in franchise history, its first in 28 years. Sporting News ranked the 1948 Indians the 9th-best team ever.[1]

    Off-season

    In the 1947–48 off-season, owner Bill Veeck signed recent St. Louis Browns manager Muddy Ruel as a coach to join player-manager Lou Boudreau and coach Bill McKechnie, the latter who was also a long-time manager.[2]

    Player transactions:

    Regular season

    Boudreau became the first shortstop in the history of the American League to win the MVP Award.[8]

    Season standings

    American League W L Pct. GB
    Cleveland Indians 97 58 .626 --
    Boston Red Sox 96 59 .619 1
    New York Yankees 94 60 .610 2.5
    Philadelphia Athletics 84 70 .545 12.5
    Detroit Tigers 78 76 .506 18.5
    St. Louis Browns 59 94 .386 37
    Washington Senators 56 97 .366 40
    Chicago White Sox 51 101 .336 44.5

    Notable transactions

    Satchel Paige

    The Indians made baseball history on July 9. In a game against the St. Louis Browns, with the Browns leading the Indians, 4–1, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Boudreau pulled his starting pitcher, Bob Lemon and brought Negro leagues legend Satchel Paige into the game.

    The first batter Paige faced was Browns first baseman Chuck Stevens. Paige did not yet know the signs, and Stevens lined a single into left field. Jerry Priddy bunted Stevens over to second. Next was Whitey Platt, and Paige threw an overhand server[clarification needed] for a strike and one sidearm for another strike. Paige then threw his "Hesitation Pitch", which puzzled Platt and led him to throw his bat forty feet up the third base line. Browns manager Zack Taylor bolted from the dugout to talk to umpire Bill McGowan about the pitch. Taylor argued that it was a balk, but McGowan let it stand as a strike. Paige got Al Zarilla to fly out and the inning was over. In the next inning, Paige gave up a leadoff single to Dick Kokos. His catcher simplified his signals, and Paige got Roy Partee to hit into a double play. Larry Doby, the player who broke the American League’s color barrier, pinch hit for Paige the following inning.

    Paige got his first big league victory on July 15. This was accomplished the night after he pitched in an exhibition game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in front of 65,000 people in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. The victory came against the Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park. The Indians were up 5–3 with the bases loaded in the sixth inning of the second game of a double header. Paige got Eddie Joost to fly out to end the inning. Unfortunately, he gave up two runs the next inning when Ferris Fain doubled and Hank Majeski hit a home run. Paige buckled down and gave up only one more hit the rest of the game, getting five of the next six outs on fly balls. Doby and Ken Keltner would hit home runs in the ninth to give the Indians an 8–5 victory.

    On August 3, the Indians were one game behind the Athletics. Boudreau started Paige against the Washington Senators in Cleveland. The 72,562 people that saw the game set a new attendance record for a major league night game. Paige showed his nervousness as he walked two of the first three batters and then gave up a triple to Bud Stewart to fall behind 2–0. By the seventh, the Indians were up 4–2 and held on to give Paige his second victory.

    Paige’s next start was against the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park. 51,013 people paid to see the game, but many thousands more stormed the turnstiles and crashed into the park, overwhelming the few dozen ticket-takers. Paige pitched a complete game shutout, beating the White Sox 5–0.

    By August 20, the Indians were in a heated pennant race. Coming into the game against the White Sox, Bob Lemon, Gene Bearden and Sam Zoldak had thrown consecutive shutouts to run up a thirty-inning scoreless streak, eleven shy of the big league record. For this game, played in Cleveland, 78,382 people came to see Paige. This was a full 6,000 more people than the last time that the night attendance record was set. Paige went the distance again, giving up two singles and one double for his second consecutive three-hit shutout. Paige now had a 5–1 record and a low 1.33 ERA.

    American League Playoff

    At the end of the season, Cleveland and the Boston Red Sox were tied for first place. This led to the first-ever one-game playoff in the American League. The Indians defeated the Red Sox 8–3 in the 1948 playoff game. Knuckleballer Gene Bearden was given the start for the Indians. Red Sox manager Joe McCarthy picked pitcher Denny Galehouse, who had an 8–7 pitching record.[11]

    Ken Keltner contributed to the victory with his single, double, and 3-run homer over the Green Monster in Fenway Park in the 4th inning. The Indians moved on to the 1948 World Series against the Boston Braves. Later, McCarthy said he had no rested arms and that there was no else who could pitch.[11] Mel Parnell and Ellis Kinder claimed that they were both ready to pitch.[11]

    Roster

    1948 Cleveland Indians
    Roster
    Pitchers Catchers

    Infielders

    Outfielders

    Other batters

    Manager

    Coaches

    Player stats

    = Indicates team leader

    Batting

    Starters by position

    Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

    Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
    C Hegan, JimJim Hegan 144 472 117 .248 14 61
    1B Robinson, EddieEddie Robinson 134 493 125 .254 16 83
    2B Gordon, JoeJoe Gordon 144 550 154 .280 32 124
    3B Keltner, KenKen Keltner 153 558 166 .297 31 119
    SS Boudreau, LouLou Boudreau 152 560 199 .355 18 106
    OF Mitchell, DaleDale Mitchell 141 608 204 .336 4 56
    OF Doby, LarryLarry Doby 121 439 132 .301 14 66
    OF Tucker, ThurmanThurman Tucker 83 242 63 .260 1 19

    Other batters

    Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

    Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
    Berardino, JohnnyJohnny Berardino 66 147 28 .190 2 10

    Pitching

    Starting pitchers

    Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

    Player G IP W L ERA SO
    Lemon, BobBob Lemon 43 293.2 20 14 2.82 147
    Feller, BobBob Feller 44 280.1 19 15 3.56 164
    Bearden, GeneGene Bearden 37 229.2 20 7 2.43 80

    Other pitchers

    Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

    Player G IP W L ERA SO
    Zoldak, SamSam Zoldak 23 105.2 9 6 2.81 17
    Paige, SatchelSatchel Paige 21 72.2 6 1 2.48 43
    Black, DonDon Black 18 52 2 2 5.37 16
    Kennedy, BillBill Kennedy 6 11.1 1 0 11.12 12

    Relief pitchers

    Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

    Player G W L SV ERA SO
    Christopher, RussRuss Christopher 45 3 2 17 2.90 14
    Webber, LesLes Webber 1 0 0 0 40.50 1

    1948 World Series

    Main article: 1948 World Series

    On October 9, 1948, a new World Series single game attendance record was set during Game 4. 81,897 fans packed Cleveland Stadium but one day later, that record was broken during Game 5. 86,288 fans attended the game.

    Satchel Paige appeared in Game 5 for the Indians, becoming the first black pitcher to pitch a game in World Series history. He pitched for two-thirds of an inning in Game Two while the Indians were trailing the Boston Braves, giving up a sacrifice fly to Warren Spahn, got called for a balk and struck out Tommy Holmes.

    AL Cleveland Indians (4) vs. NL Boston Braves (2)

    Game Score Date Attendance
    1 Boston 1, Cleveland 0 October 6 40,135
    2 Cleveland 4, Boston 1 October 7 39,633
    3 Cleveland 2, Boston 0 October 8 70,306
    4 Cleveland 2, Boston 1 October 9 81,897
    5 Boston 11, Cleveland 5 October 10 86,288
    6 Cleveland 4, Boston 3 October 11 40,103

    Game 1

    October 6, 1948 at Braves Field in Boston, Massachusetts

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    Game 2

    October 7, 1948 at Braves Field in Boston, Massachusetts

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    Game 3

    October 8 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio

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    Game 4

    October 9, 1948 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio

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    Home runs:
    BOS: Marv Rickert (1)
    CLE: Larry Doby (1)

    Game 5

    October 10, 1948 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio

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    Cleveland 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 5 6 2

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    Home runs:
    BOS: Bob Elliott 2 (2), Bill Salkeld (1)
    CLE: Dale Mitchell (1), Jim Hegan (1)

    Game 6

    October 11, 1948 at Braves Field in Boston, Massachusetts

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    Cleveland 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 4 10 0
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    Home runs:
    CLE: Joe Gordon (1)
    BOS: None

    Awards and honors

    All-Star Game

    Farm system

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    Level Team League Manager
    LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Dayton, Union City[13]

    Notes

    1. ^ "Cleveland Indians' 1948 World Series champions ranked 9th-best team ever by Sporting News". The Plain Dealer (Cleveland.com). July 2, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
    2. ^ Baseball Digest, 1948, "Indians Collect a Brain Trust" by Lyall Smith of the Detroit Free Press.
    3. ^ Pete Milne page at Baseball Reference
    4. ^ a b c Catfish Metkovich page at Baseball Reference
    5. ^ Thurman Tucker page at Baseball Reference
    6. ^ Lee Wheat page at Baseball Reference
    7. ^ Bill Upton page at Baseball Reference
    8. ^ Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures, 2008 Edition, p.152, David Nemec and Scott Flatow, A Signet Book, Penguin Group, New York, NY, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0
    9. ^ Sam Zoldak page at Baseball Reference
    10. ^ "Satchel Paige Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-reference.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008. 
    11. ^ a b c The Boston Red Sox, Milton Cole and Jim Kaplan, p.30, World Publications Group, North Dighton, MA, ISBN 1-57215-412-8
    12. ^ Associated Press Athlete of the Year (male)
    13. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3rd edition. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 2007

    References

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