The Cleveland Indians add a pair of players in a five-player swap with the Washington Senators, acquiring pitcher Early Wynn and first baseman Mickey Vernon for pitchers Joe Haynes and Ed Klieman and first baseman Eddie Robinson.
This is the second of three installments of “After the Cleveland Indians’ 1948 Season”, the final chapter of the 1948 season review. See Part 1 here.
Bob Lemon had the first of seven 20-win seasons for the Indians in 1948. He became a mainstay of the pitching staff through the 1950s. His 1950 season was one for the ages, going 23-11 and leading the league in wins, innings (288), starts (37), complete games (22) and strikeouts (170). He won 23 games again in 1954 as the Indians rolled to the pennant. He retired in 1958 with a career record of 207-128, and had a successful career as a manager. He managed the Royals, was hired by Bill Veeck to manage the White Sox, and was named AL Manager of the Year in 1977.
After he was fired by Veeck in 1978, he became the Yankees manager, hired by George Steinbrenner and reunited with Al Rosen. The Yankees won the World Series that year and Lemon was named manager of the year again. But his son’s death in a car accident cast a pall on the 1979 season for him, and he was fired 25 games into the season. Lemon came back to manage the Yankees in 1981, as they won the pennant. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976, and his number 21 was retired by the Indians in 1998. He died in 2000.
October 10, 1948
This afternoon, Indians fans proved that they are some of the most passionate and patient fans.
While the two may not go together, the record-setting crowd of 86,288 packed Cleveland Stadium for the Tribe’s first World Series crown in 28 years, but instead will have to wait at least another day. The fans’ patience was tested again today just as they were a week ago when Cleveland had chances to clinch the pennant but could not.
Instead, the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game saw its best pitcher of this generation get tagged for seven runs from the Boston Braves in six and one-third innings. Bob Feller fell behind early and could not hold the lead when Cleveland battled back, eventually falling in a rout in Game Five, 11-5.
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 were set 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 a 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.”
September 14, 1948
For even the biggest believers in the Cleveland Indians, the pennant hopes for 1948 are starting to flicker a little less brightly.
This afternoon the Indians lost their final matchup of the season with the New York Yankees, losing 6-5 in front of 34,064 fans at Cleveland Stadium. Bob Lemon suffered his third loss of the season against the Bronx Bombers when he couldn’t survive a four-run rally by New York in the seventh inning. Eddie Lopat, the Tribe’s nemesis for years, logged his fifth win of the season against Cleveland.
The loss for Cleveland drops them four games back of league leading Boston and two back of the Yankees, who seem cozy in second place. With only 15 games remaining, overcoming a four-game deficit and chasing down two teams seems to be a more daunting task with each passing day.
September 4, 1948
In a season that appears will go down to the final games or innings, the Indians may have several unfortunate moments to point back to if the pennant does not go their way.
Another one of those moments may have taken place in the fifth inning on Saturday afternoon when the St. Louis Browns erupted for three runs against Tribe starter Satchel Paige. It was the only inning the lowly Browns scored in regulation, but that outburst and a well-pitched game by Ned Garver, was enough to push the game to extras where the Browns won 4-3 in ten innings in front of 17,092.
August 29, 1948
Cleveland squandered an early lead and a chance to make up ground in the division, as the Washington Senators took the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader by a 5-2 final.
The loss for the Indians, paired with splits of respective doubleheaders for both Boston and New York, left Cleveland two games in back of the Red Sox and a half-game behind the Yankees.
The Indians jumped on top in the second off of Washington’s Early Wynn.
August 29, 1948
While in the thick of the pennant race in the American League over the last few weeks, the Cleveland Indians have begun to make it a frustrating habit to be charitable to some of the league’s worst teams.
In six recent games against the lowly White Sox and Senators, the Indians went 2-4.
What may be even more discouraging are the wins lost against the top teams in the American League because the relief corps is failing to provide any relief. Instead of gaining ground in the standings and saving close wins, the team has been repeatedly dealt devastating losses in potentially winnable ball games.
August 28, 1948
Walkoff victories come in many shapes and forms. This afternoon the Yankees collected a walkoff victory that was delivered to them with a bow on it, courtesy of the Cleveland Indians.
After eight strong innings from Sam Zoldak, the heat got the best of him and he was unable to pitch the ninth. The 100 degree temperatures left the southpaw fatigued and unable to finish the six-hit masterpiece he had been toiling. What transpired were two runs from the Yankees against the Indians’ bullpen and a 3-2 walkoff victory. New York did not log a hit, or even get the ball out of the infield, in the ninth inning.
August 27, 1948
With a Friday doubleheader in New York to make up a previous rain out, it looked like the Indians had a chance to tie the Boston Red Sox for first place this afternoon with a free game to make ground.
Boston won their game this afternoon against the Chicago White Sox, keeping a half game ahead when the Indians won the first game in the Bronx, 8-1, but the BoSox from Beantown would be defenseless as they sit idle tonight to another Indians’ win. However, sometimes the best defense is none at all. The Indians fell behind early and never recovered, losing to the Yankees 7-2 in the second game of the twin bill.