Today in Tribe History: October 12, 1920
Bob Toth | On 12, Oct 2017
After trailing 2-1 in their best-of-nine series with the Brooklyn Dodgers (Robins), the Cleveland Indians win their fourth straight game and clinch the 1920 World Series with a 3-0 victory at Dunn Field in Cleveland.
The title is the first for the 20-year-old American League franchise, owned by “Sunny Jim” Dunn and managed by Tris Speaker. The championship came in the club’s first trip to the postseason, after a close call in 1908.
At 3:57 PM, Joe Sewell snagged a shot off of the bat of Ed Konetchy and completed the throw to Bill Wambsganss to retire the Dodgers in their last ditch efforts to extend the series to an eighth game.
Stan Coveleski completed the Indians’ second consecutive shutout to win the series, five games to two, throwing on just two days of rest. Coveleski allowed five hits and struck out one man in his complete game effort to win his third game in the series after winning a career-high 24 during the regular season. He was recorded as throwing just 90 pitches in the contest, 21 of which were balls. He needed just four pitches to escape the fourth inning.
“I guess I did look fairly good out there today, but I didn’t feel much that way,” said Coveleski following the game in quotes from the October 13, 1920, edition of The Plain Dealer. “Two day’s rest isn’t enough for a fellow who uses the spitter as much as I do. My arm felt dead. It didn’t seem to me as if my spitter had the usual snap to it.”
He also won Game 1 and Game 4 while allowing just two earned runs in 27 innings.
Cleveland scored single runs in the fourth, fifth, and seventh innings off of Brookyn’s Burleigh Grimes, the first of which came courtesy of Grimes’ own throwing error to second base. In the fourth with runners on the corners, Doc Johnston attempted a delayed steal and was nearly to second base when he stopped, forcing Grimes to throw. The Robins’ pitcher skipped one in to second, allowing the runners to move up. Speaker tripled home Charlie Jamieson in the next inning and Jamieson would knock in Coveleski with a double in the seventh.
Following the game, Speaker drained two fountain pens from autographing score cards and baseballs while sitting in his dressing room. He shared with The Plain Dealer (10/13/1920): “From the start I never had any doubt of our being able to win the championship of the world. The American League campaign was what gave us the trouble, but the fact that we had to fight it right out to the finish helped us against Brooklyn. We were playing at top speed when the regular season ended and kept going the same gait until we had won the world’s title. All the boys have felt the same way. They know they are a good ball club and have known it right along.”