Tribe Celebrates World Championship with Fans Before Heading Home
Mike B. | On 01, Apr 2016
October 12, 1948
This morning the Cleveland Indians arrived home from Boston, victors of the 1948 World Series, and received a heroes’ parade upon their arrival.
A dozen slow moving vehicles carrying Indians players and personnel traveled from the Cleveland Terminal to University Circle. It was estimated that between 200,000 and 500,000 fans turned out to honor the first baseball championship in Cleveland in 28 years. Fans lined both sides of the street and threw paper and held signs from building windows.
While it seems reasonable that future pennants will be won and future players will become stars, this championship and squad seems special in that regardless of nationality or background, Clevelanders had a player on the team that embodied their morals and beliefs.
Traffic Chief John R. Sammon said it was impossible to total the spectators, but based on an old police formula of 700 persons between each pair of downtown light poles, he estimated there were 175,000 in the downtown section alone.
Children ran alongside the slow moving cars through the one-way streets asking players for autographs, while other fans held signs and patted players on the back.
“All I want to be is a good ball player, not president,” Bob Lemon said during the parade. Lemon rode in the parade with his mother. What thoughts he must have had during the scene as he was placed on waivers just a season ago.
“This is it, this is it,” repeated Sam Zoldak throughout the parade. Zoldak was a deadline trade on June 15 with the St. Louis Browns. He joined the team midseason while Bob Muncrief and Wally Judnich were acquired from St. Louis last winter.
“I never want to play anywhere except in Cleveland after this,” Al Rosen said when the parade concluded. The rookie of the year in the American Association will have every chance to make the Indians out of spring training in 1949.
“Look at that sign, fellows,” yelled Dale Mitchell pointing to the sign that read: Boudreau for President.
“How about that boy Doby?” Joe Gordon called to the crowd as he pointed to his teammate’s car. While Gordon is likely nearing the twilight of his career, Doby is young and potentially destined for greatness.
Parochial schools were closed to honor Columbus Day and Cleveland Public School children were excused for the parade. Most elementary school children remained in class, but up to 50% of high school boys were absent from class. Some returned to the classroom at 10:30 a.m. after the parade concluded at 10.
Many players are expected to collect their things and leave Cleveland and the celebration this afternoon. Left-handed pitcher Gene Bearden announced last night in New York where he appeared on the “We the People” radio program that he has been promised a Hollywood screen test by the Universal-International Pictures Corp. at the end of this month.
“It definitely will not be a baseball picture,” Bearden said. “I think I’ve had enough to last me a while.”
Johnny Berardino is expected to head to Hollywood to continue working in films. Fellow Californians, Lemon, Judnich, Steve Gromek and Bob Kennedy will all head west to participate in the barnstorming circuit.
Ten-year veteran, Ken Keltner, is heading home to Milwaukee for some rest before opening his bicycle shop.
“It’s been a long, tough season with no chance for a let down,” Keltner said.
Second baseman Gordon will head to Eugene, Oregon, where he plans to hunt and fish while working in his hardware store.
Bob Feller will not tour on the barnstorming circuit this winter, but will pitch one more game this Saturday in Van Meter, Iowa, for his annual Homecoming game. After the game, he’ll return to Cleveland before moving to his new home near Dallas, Texas.
Larry Doby, the Indians’ young star outfielder, will return to his home in Paterson, New Jersey, and after some rest will consider semi-pro basketball until it is time to return to Tucson, Arizona, for spring training.
Finally, Lou Boudreau will meet with president Bill Veeck this afternoon before heading home to Chicago. The two will review the completed season and discuss plans for the 1949 season that is just four months from beginning. While the two may discuss Boudreau’s contract, it is likely he will begin next season in the second of his two-year deal as the defending American League Champion.
Photo: Plain Dealer file photo