Today in Tribe History: September 13, 1948
Indians pitcher Don Black suffers what would later be determined to be a cerebral hemorrhage while batting in Cleveland’s game against the St. Louis Browns during the heat of the club’s pennant race.
Black was charged with the task of spot starter while the two teams replayed a 12-inning 3-3 tie from the night before in a game halted by darkness. Rules of the time prohibited games started during the day to continue under the lights. After two doubleheaders, the Indians pitching staff was limited and Black, who had struggled throughout the season and had been used infrequently of late, got the call.
Stepping to the plate against former Indians pitcher and St. Louis starter Bill Kennedy, Black fouled a ball off, staggered backwards some, and collapsed to the ground. He was able to leave the field with the aid of his teammates and was taken to St. Vincent’s Charity Hospital and lost consciousness. His ailment, a subarachnoid hemorrhage of a surface vessel on the brain, was normally fatal in the era.
His condition would improve in the coming days and he would regain consciousness. He would not pitch any more during the 1948 season, one dedicated by manager/shortstop Lou Boudreau to the ailing hurler.
Black attempted to play in 1949 with the Indians, but retired after one exhibition game. He lived in the Cleveland area until his death at the age of 40.
Photo: Cleveland Memory Project