For the sixth time in team history, the Cleveland Indians will play in a Game 1 on the biggest baseball stage of them all – the World Series.
Strange and inconvenient circumstances have prevented the Indians from owning home field advantage in the series in the past, which makes this year’s World Series opener from Progressive Field the first time in club history that they have hosted Game 1 in Cleveland. In that small sample size, there have been three complete games hurled by Indians starters, a controversial call, a walk-off homer, two games decided by one run, and all five games that were decided by three runs or less.
Baseball fans worldwide could ask for nothing more than that kind of excitement in the 2016 Fall Classic as the Indians host the Chicago Cubs in a matchup of the two longest suffering franchises in Major League Baseball today. Working against the Indians is a 1-4 record in starting the first game of the World Series, but all five games have been road contests. Progressive Field has played as friendly confines for the Tribe this year, both during the regular season and in four straight playoff games to start this postseason.
After trailing 2-1 in their best-of-nine series with the Brooklyn Dodgers (Robins), the Cleveland Indians win their fourth straight game and clinch the 1920 World Series with a 3-0 victory at Dunn Field in Cleveland.
The title is the first …
The 1920 World Championship was the high mark for the Indians, who had reached baseball’s pinnacle after finishing second in the previous two years. It wouldn’t last.
The Yankees’ purchase of Babe Ruth was a game changer. The speed that people thought was lacking on the team as the season dawned turned out to be unnecessary, as it was more than replaced by power. Ruth ended the season with 54 home runs, and would hit 50 or more in a season four more times, including setting the record of 60 in 1927. With six pennants and three World Series wins in the next decade, the Yankees would become the power of the American League for the better part of the next half-century.
Oct. 12, 1920 – Columbus Day – was a beautiful day in Cleveland. It was sunny and approaching 70 degrees as everyone prepared for the final World Series game at League Park.
The Indians had won three straight games at home to take a four games to two lead in the World Series. A win that day would end the series. A loss would send it back to Brooklyn. Tris Speaker danced with the one that brung him, and opted to start Stan Coveleski again. It would be his third start in the series, and he’d won his previous two. Robins manager and namesake Wilbert Robinson opted for Burleigh Grimes, who had won game two at Ebbets Field, but lost game five in Cleveland. Robinson had mentioned possibly starting Rube Marquard, but the Cleveland native was in Brooklyn owner Charles Ebbets’ doghouse after getting arrested for scalping tickets.