Today continues DTTWLN’s three week examination of the Indians’ 2014 season and where it fell short of the playoff expectations established last winter. The staff will examine where the season went wrong and the challenges the front office faces to make the Indians contenders in 2015.
A few years ago, everyone was quoting the line that closed the viral “Cleveland Tourism Video”: “At least we’re not Detroit — We’re not Detroit!”
Economically? Sure, that’s a plus. But this season, when it came to baseball?
Cleveland did not have bragging rights.
October 3, 1948
The pennant winning party scheduled for all weekend set over the horizon of Lake Erie without even a single champagne pop.
As the Detroit Tigers headed west with their season complete, the Cleveland Indians now made plans to travel east to Boston. However, after today’s 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Bengals, the Indians will not be headed Beantown to take on the Braves in the World Series. Instead, Cleveland will battle the Boston Red Sox for the 23rd time this season in a one-game playoff Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. It is the first time in the American League’s 48-year history that two teams tied after 154 games. It’s only the second time in baseball history.
“The loss didn’t get (us) down,” Indians manager Lou Boudreau said after the game. “The boys just feel they’re going to Boston a day early.”
October 2, 1948
What has seemed imminent for days is still not official, but now even closer.
This afternoon the Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 8-0, in front of 56,235 anxious spectators and did not clinch the American League pennant, but assured themselves of at least a tie. Cleveland used a five run fifth inning and an eight-hit shutout from rookie left-hander Gene Bearden.
Cleveland’s victory moves them to 96-57 in the standings, holding a one game lead over the Boston Red Sox as the two teams head to the last day of the season. Boston defeated the New York Yankees 5-1 in Fenway Park to eliminate the Yankees from contention. After 153 games, the tightest American League pennant race in history is finally just a two-team race.
October 1, 1948
Indians manager Lou Boudreau was clear after the game that his team was not tight on the field this afternoon. If they weren’t, they might have reason to be tight now.
Cleveland held a one-run lead with …
October 1, 1948
Somewhere the champagne is on ice and the pennant is ready to be unfolded and hung high on the Municipal Stadium flagpole.
But the Cleveland Indians still have some work to do to put the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees away and win their first flag in 28 years. Cleveland was idle yesterday and remain 95-56 in the standings, but both Boston and New York won the finale’s of their series. Boston defeated Washington 7-3 at Fenway Park, while New York beat Philadelphia 97 at Shibe Park. Both contenders are off today before concluding the season with two games against one another in Boston in the league’s most tightly contested race ever.
September 26, 1948
It’s not over, but the view for the Cleveland Indians could not look much better as they head home for the final five games of the season.
Bob Feller, a pitcher who looked past his prime for much of the summer, has found the fountain of youth in the last month and pitched the Tribe back into sole possession of first place. Feller hurled a five-hitter this afternoon, allowing just one hit before the fourth inning and another afterward. The win, combined with the 6-2 victory by the New York Yankees over the Red Sox today, gives the Indians a one game lead on both contenders with five games remaining.
September 26, 1948
Former Cleveland Indian player and manager Steve O’Neill is likely rooting on the inside for the Tribe to win the pennant, but you won’t catch a glimpse of that on the outside or by his actions.
O’Neill, a Cleveland resident, will send left-handed ace, Hal Newhouser to the mound this afternoon to try and stifle the Indians and their pennant hopes. The Tigers skipper makes no secret though, the Indians will see him in the final series of the season next weekend at Municipal Stadium.
With playoff scenarios for tie-breakers set a day ago, every game is starting to feel like a one-game playoff for survival in the American League pennant race.
Today, the Indians won their most recent survival game, defeating the Detroit Tigers 9-3 in front of 30,087 spectators at Briggs Stadium. The Tribe used a stellar pitching performance from Gene Bearden, who did not allow a hit until the sixth inning, and 14 hits from the offense to take control early against five different Tiger hurlers. Cleveland’s five-run fifth inning took put the contest away early.
Cleveland’s victory, combined with Boston’s 7-2 shellacking of the New York Yankees, leaves the Tribe and BoSox tied atop the standings with the Bombers a game behind. It may be a little less crowded at the top than yesterday’s three-way tie, but the importance of every game remains. All three teams have just six games left on their regular season schedule.
It’s crowded at the top.
A big name star or personality may feel crowded by the people around them, but in the case of the Cleveland Indians they’re crowded by the top of the standings.
This afternoon the Indians lost 4-3 at the hands of the Detroit Tigers in front of 10,464 fans at Briggs Stadium. Bob Lemon was not at his best and wild with control early, while the Tribe offense could not muster a big inning despite three home runs. Freddie Hutchinson stifled the Tribe early and only allowed solo home runs through a cold, cutting wind.
September 23, 1948
After last night’s win at Municipal Stadium against the Boston Red Sox, it felt like the Indians had won the pennant. The reality remains however that the Indians have a lot of work to do.
Despite permission for the commissioner to begin printing World Series tickets, the Indians have eight games remaining in a very tight pennant race. The Tribe is now tied with the Red Sox for first place and the New York Yankees remain just one game behind the top spot.
Many players and sportswriters around the league believe the Indians are the favorite to take the flag, however. Cleveland’s eight games are against second division teams, while Boston and New York play each other five times in the last eight.
There was a lot of talk about the American League pennant around Briggs Stadium and the Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit.
The Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox were the only game on Tuesday’s American League schedule. The Red Sox used a six-run third inning to beat the Tigers 10-2, this afternoon and put Boston a full game ahead of the Tribe as they prepare for Wednesday night’s showdown at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
Ted Gray was wild for the Tigers, allowing four runs on four hits and two walks in just two innings. Tigers manager, Steve O’Neill, seemed disappointed in Gray’s effort but also that Detroit did not have a better starting pitcher to offer the pennant race this afternoon.
September 10, 1948
Gene Bearden (14-7, 2.72) is proving that he can do it all, as he led the Cleveland Indians past the Detroit Tigers on Friday afternoon by a score of 10-1.
Bearden, the Indians rookie southpaw sensation, drove in more runs with his bat than he allowed with his arm and gave the Indians a sweep of the lowly Tigers and their fourth consecutive win. The victory becomes even more important when Boston’s loss to the New York Yankees is considered, as Joe DiMaggio hit a 10th inning grand slam to sink the Red Sox on Friday at Fenway Park. The Indians now trail Boston by only 3.5 games and New York by only 1.0.