Indians Eye a Return to the Top as they Travel to Chicago

May 27, 1948

The second-place Cleveland Indians (19-9) today will head to Chicago’s Comiskey Park to take on the lowly White Sox (7-22) in a four game series that runs Friday through Sunday. The Tribe has won 13 of its last 18 games, while the Pale Hose have won only seven games all season.

The Indians are fresh off of a 12-game homestand in which they compiled an 8-4 record. Most recently, the Tribe split a two game set with the Washington Senators during which the Cleveland club was banged up.

Third baseman and slugger Ken Keltner was injured during the first game against Washington when he was hit on the right forearm diving back into first base during the fourth inning. Keltner is not expected to be in the lineup on Friday and might miss the entire series against Chicago. The same can be said for second baseman Joe Gordon, who is having issues with back muscles and is receiving treatment.

“Gordon, I know, won’t be ready to play tomorrow night,” player/manager Lou Boudreau said in an article originally from The Plain Dealer, “and I don’t think Keltner will either. So I may bat fourth myself and move Robbie into the fifth spot. When Gordon returns, he’ll bat fourth and Robbie fifth.”

In their spots, Boudreau is expected to play backups Johnny Berardino at second base and Allie Clark at third. Clark has never played third base in his Major League career.

If the Tribe is to take the series from the cellar-dwelling Sox, not only will they need to do it without two of their infielders and best sluggers, but with slumping middle of the order hitters as well. Both Boudreau and Eddie Robinson have not hit the ball well as of late, and a number of Tribe hitters have seen their batting averages dip in the last week as well.

The silver lining for the Indians, however, is that they will be taking on the last-place White Sox. Chicago is unquestionably the worst team in baseball and was swept by Philadelphia earlier this week. They are led offensively by veteran star third baseman Luke Appling, who leads the regulars with a .306 batting average.

The Indians and White Sox have met four times thus far in 1948 and Cleveland has taken three of the four games. In April, the two teams dodged raindrops to get one game in, with the Indians taking a wild contest by a 12-11 score. Later in May, the wig-wammers took two of three at the Stadium including a doubleheader split.

Don Black (1-0, 10.38) will toe the mound for the visiting Indians Friday night and he will be opposed by Sox hurler Joe Haynes (2-5, 4.74). Black will be making his fourth appearance of the season and is coming off of his only effective outing in a 5-1 win over the Yankees. Saturday will matchup Bob Lemon (5-2, 2.41) for the Indians and Bill Wight (2-3, 5.15) for the White Sox. Sunday’s doubleheader will see the Tribe throw Bob Feller (5-3, 2.79) in game one and rookie Bill Kennedy (1-0, 5.23) in game two, where the Pale Hose will counter with Glen Moulder (0-2, 6.64) and Bob Gillespie (0-0, 11.81). Gillespie will be making his first start of the season after five games out of the bullpen.

Elsewhere in the American League, the Indians and their fans will have their eyes on another pivotal series as the third place New York Yankees (18-12) will travel to Philadelphia to face the first place Athletics (21-10). The Indians currently sit 0.5 games behind the Mackmen and 2.0 games in front of the Bronx Bombers. The two teams are widely considered to be the Indians biggest competition in the American League.

Photo: The Conlon Collection

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