Tribe No Strangers to Wild Doubleheaders
Vince Guerrieri | On 02, Jul 2013
There was a time when true doubleheaders – buying one ticket to watch two games – were a common occurrence.
In 1950, the Indians played 25 twin bills, including one memorable one June 11 at Cleveland Stadium that saw the Tribe score 28 runs in a sweep of the Philadelphia Athletics.
Bob Feller took the mound for the first game, and pitched a gem. After giving up a one-out single to Wally Moses in the first, Rapid Robert would give up just one more hit, a single in the eight to Mike Guerra. Feller walked Ferris Fain twice, and pitched his first shutout since 1948, prompting newspaper accounts of the day to say that fans got a glimpse of Feller’s old form.
The Indians, meanwhile, got to A’s starter Dick Fowler early. A single in the first by Larry Doby scored Dale Mitchell, who reached on an error to lead off the game. Doby and Joe Gordon each knocked in a run in the third on sacrifice flys, and Jim Hegan tagged Fowler for a home run to lead off the fourth. In the fifth, Gordon and Hegan each had run-scoring sacrifice fly balls, and Fowler ended up leaving after six innings. He was relieved by Joe Coleman, who fared little better, giving up a home run to Ray Boone in the seventh, as the Indians went on to win 7-0.
Mike Garcia came out for the nightcap, and gave up two runs in a complete game, one in the fourth, and one in the seventh. But he got more than enough run support. After one inning, he was staked to a 14-0 lead.
Lou Brissie was the starting pitcher for the A’s. Brissie had attracted the interest of the Athletics before World War II, but like many men his age, ended up in the service. While fighting in Italy, Brissie was severely injured when a mortar exploded near him. He needed 23 surgeries over two years to repair the damage to his left lower leg, but ended up pitching for the A’s.
That day, Brissie couldn’t find the plate, walking five straight batters as the Indians got out to a 3-0 lead. RBI singles by Hegan and Garcia pushed the lead to 5-0, and after another walk, Athletics Manager Connie Mack pulled Brissie for Carl Scheib, who fared little better. Scheib couldn’t stop the bleeding, and gave up six more runs as the Indians took a 11-0 lead in the first with Ray Boone coming to the plate. Boone unloaded, hitting a three-run home run to give the Indians a 14-0 lead – at the time a record for the most runs in the first inning by one team.
Scheib also gave up a grand slam in the third to Hegan, the fourth home run hit by the Indians in the doubleheader. The Indians tacked on three more runs in the eighth, and won the second game by a final score of 21-2. The sweep ran the Indians’ win streak at the time up to six games. It would be snapped the next day when the Yankees came to town.
And that doubleheader took a total of four hours and 20 minutes – or 18 minutes more than the first game of Friday’s twin bill between the Indians and the White Sox.