The Midsummer Classic is upon us and the first place Cleveland Indians have three representatives in the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
This season, Francisco Lindor, Danny Salazar, and Corey Kluber represent the Tribe on the American League squad. The two Tribe players who will take the field (Salazar is out with a sore elbow) may be highly motivated to excel in the exhibition game due to the Indians current spot at the top of the American League Central Division standings.
The winner Tuesday night will claim home field advantage for the World Series, a final destination far more in the sights of the Indians this season than in recent memory.
The 1948 World Championship was the crowning moment in Bill Veeck’s career as an owner – and one of the loneliest in his life. Veeck would own another pennant winner, but no other world champion. On September 23, 1949, he led a funeral procession out to the outfield to bury the pennant, with the Indians mathematically eliminated from the race. That fall, Veeck’s wife Eleanore filed for divorce, and Veeck was forced to sell the team to pay for it.
In 1951, Veeck, newly married, bought the St. Louis Browns. His idea was to run off the Cardinals, and with a mix of his own wacky promotions and Cardinals owner Fred Saigh’s income tax problems, it appeared he might do so. But Saigh sold the team to Gussie Busch, heir to the brewing fortune and a St. Louis institution. Veeck sought to move the team to Baltimore, but was blocked by baseball owners and was forced to sell the team – which then moved to Baltimore.
Opening Day is like no other day of the year for baseball fans.
The stadium is sold out. Warm weather is on the way. There’s optimism. Everybody is tied for first place. A win can catapult a fan base’s spirit and a loss can crush early dreams.
No other day is full of overreactions quite like Opening Day.
So which Cleveland players have vaulted hopes on the season’s first day the best? I thought it might be interesting to find out and construct a lineup.
In order to be fair, I decided that the player must be in the top three number of games played in Openers started at their position and must have at least five games in under his belt, too. This eliminates any player who went 3-3 in their lone Opening Day contest as well as any pinch hitter who maybe went 1-1 with a home run in their lone Opener.
September 28, 1948
The Indians have just a one-game lead with five games to play, but if they qualify for the World Series, their roster has been approved.
Commissioner Happy Chandler approved the roster last night, with one surprise. Rookie Al Rosen was given approval to be eligible for the Fall Classic. The Rookie of the Year in the American Association was declared eligible upon the petition submitted by the Indians after pitcher Don Black was injured.
Normally, Rosen would not be eligible because he did not report to the Indians prior to August 31.
Legendary Indians slugger Al Rosen, the team’s last Most Valuable Player award winner, passes away less than two weeks after turning 91 years old.
Rosen enjoyed a ten-year run in the Major Leagues, spending his entire playing career in an …
September 11, 1948
Al Rosen, the American Association’s batting champion and league’s most valuable rookie, joined the Indians yesterday.
Indians manager Lou Boudreau said he would not hesitate to use Rosen as a pinch-hitter in the Tribe’s stretch run, but he did not expect him or the four other farmhands recalled yesterday to see much serious playing time.
Future star slugger and 1953 American League Most Valuable Player Al Rosen is born in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Rosen will become the first of two Indians ever to be born on “leap day” (joined later by Steve Mingori), but is …
September 1, 1948
Lou Boudreau, Ken Keltner and Joe Gordon have done a fantastic job holding down the infield-fort this season, as the three premier hitters are all integral cogs in Cleveland’s mighty lineup. The three veterans, however, have an average age of 32 and have shown some signs of tiring as the hot Cleveland sun and the everyday grind of the baseball season has taken its toll on the infielders. Reinforcements are more than welcome for the Indians pennant race, as backup infielder Johnny Berardino has shouldered the entire load all season long.
Enter Ray Boone – or Ike, as he is known to his teammates – the Indians’ young shortstop prospect who will be making his Major League debut just as soon as Boudreau pencils his name in the lineup. Boone was called up to The Show on Wednesday after proving his readiness at AA Oklahoma City this season.