Posts By Bob Toth
July 27, 1948
In each of his last five full seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Bob Feller has been a 20-game winner. He has been an All-Star, an MVP candidate, the face of a franchise, and has routinely led the league in wins and starts.
Despite a laundry list of accolades, the 29-year-old pitcher has not appeared quite himself this year. The flamethrowing right-hander has seen more than his fair share of struggles on the mound this season.
July 26, 1948
Cleveland Indians manager Lou Boudreau adjusted his batting lineup earlier in the month, hoping to elicit more consistent production from the heart of the order.
The top of the order remained largely unchanged, as Dale Mitchell was followed by Larry Doby, as has been the preference for the Tribe skipper over the last few weeks. Boudreau, however, moved himself out of the three-hole, probably his better suited spot in the lineup, into the cleanup spot, due to the lack of production he was seeing from Eddie Robinson and, before him, Joe Gordon.
This past week marked the 94th anniversary of the sale of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees, starting a period of Boston history known to sports fans as the “Curse of the Bambino”.
The Yankees would appear in seven World Series contests in Ruth’s 15 years in the Big Apple, winning four. The Red Sox would not win another championship until the Terry Francona-led Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004. It was their first since the Ruth-led Sox won three titles in four years, culminating in their 1918 victory in six games over the Chicago Cubs.
The city of Cleveland has been marred in a slump of its own for the last 49 years. With the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers performing at a level further away from the playoffs than their respective fans may have desired, all hopes may be falling upon the Cleveland Indians.
There has not been substantial audible conversation about Cleveland Indians free agent starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, despite being frequently listed amongst the top free agents available entering this offseason.
Cleveland tendered Jimenez a $14.1 million qualifying offer in early November, securing the Indians a draft pick if the resurgent pitcher opted to leave town for a longer and more financially enticing offer.
Like each of the other twelve players around Major League Baseball to be offered such a deal, Jimenez declined and hit the open market. Since then, mum has been the word on Jimenez as the pitching market remains unresolved. With draft pick compensation looming in addition to his contract, the lost portion of draft bonus pool money, and the uncertain status of Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka grinding the market to a halt, Jimenez remains out of a job for the time being.
July 17, 1948
Philadelphia Athletics and American League All-Star pitcher Joe Coleman allowed just six base hits in blanking the Cleveland Indians on Saturday, 5-0.
The win for Connie Mack and the Athletics earned the series split for Philadelphia and cut the Indians lead in the division back down to one-half game, just as it had been when Cleveland came to town on Thursday for the start of the four-game set.
July 17, 1948
After being a regular contributor to the Cleveland Indians lineup last season, Dale Mitchell’s job suddenly was up for grabs.
Somewhat lost in the outfield shuffle in spring training, Mitchell broke camp with the club but was limited in his opportunities to crack the starting lineup consistently. Now, Mitchell is a fire starter at the top of the Cleveland lineup and is not getting nearly enough credit for his contributions to the Indians’ success this season.
Mitchell appeared in 11 games in 1946 as a 24-year-old. The rookie outfielder played errorless baseball in center field. At the plate, he showed plenty of potential, batting .432 in 45 plate appearances while driving in five runs and scoring seven times.
With an opportunity to even up his record on the season, Cleveland starter Bob Feller was battered for five runs and five hits and was pulled after just six batters, as the Philadelphia Athletics went on to beat the Indians by a 10-5 final on Friday.
Eddie Joost led off the Philadelphia day at the plate with a double to center. A bunt single to third from Barney McCosky moved Joost to third. A base hit by Ray Coleman found Eddie Robinson unable to get to the bag unassisted and Feller was late covering the bag, enabling Joost to score to tie the game at one.
July 18, 1948
Two late home runs earned the Indians a doubleheader sweep on Thursday night as Cleveland defeated the Philadelphia Athletics, 8-5.
The Athletics jumped on Cleveland starter Bob Lemon in the bottom of the third. Opposing starter Dick Fowler led off the inning with a single to left. A walk to Barney McCosky and a single by Ray Coleman loaded up the bases with one out before Ferris Fain grounded out to Joe Gordon at second, driving in Fowler. A walk to Hank Majeski reloaded the bases for Elmer Valo, who knocked in an unearned run on an error at second by Gordon, who did not cleanly field the play. McCosky scored on the play to give the A’s a 2-0 lead.
July 15, 1948
Steve Gromek gave Cleveland just the start it needed on its long East Coast road trip, as his complete game effort paced the Indians to a 6-1 victory in Philadelphia against the second-place Athletics.
In just his second start of the season for the Indians, Gromek (3-1) allowed just a run in nine innings to take the first game of the twi-night double header at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. The victory gives Cleveland some slight breathing room in the standings, increasing their lead in the American League to a game and a half.
July 15, 1948
The Cleveland Indians head east for a lengthy 15-game road trip through the east coast American League cities, starting with a four-game series beginning Thursday against the Philadelphia Athletics. It is the third time the Indians have headed out on an east coast swing this season.
The Indians (45-28) come to the City of Brotherly Love with just a half-game lead over the second place Athletics and a two and a half game lead over the third place New York Yankees. They have fared well against the A’s this season, posting an 8-3 record so far against the Connie Mack-led squad. They have won three in a row against the A’s.
Criticism of the Cleveland Indians’ lack of activity this offseason has not just come from fans of the ball club. It has also come from the national media, where some have gone so far as to call the Indians losers of the annual Winter Meetings while others have opined that the team’s lack of aggressiveness and free spending could end the upcoming season before it even begins due to other upgrades within both their division and league.
The Indians, who finished just one game in back of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central and exited the postseason after a one-game AL Wild Card loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, have been an almost non-existent and irrelevant player in the free agent and trade markets so far this offseason.
For many fans, this is a significant problem.
The American League Central has been a flurry of free agent activity and trades so far this offseason. In fact, big money has been changing hands from East Coast to West Coast in the last few weeks and only seems to be heating up more.
That is, except from the Cleveland Indians.
Unlike the offseason that followed the 2012 season, the Indians have been quiet, causing tension amongst some fans who are waiting (impatiently) for the first big move by the club after an active retooling last year that had the team frequently linked to names on the free agent market.