1940 – Bob Feller is baseball’s first 20-game winner of the year as he outduels Detroit’s Hal Newhouser in an 8-5 win at League Park.
The win pushes Ossie Vitt’s Indians one game in front of the Tigers in the American League pennant chase. The battle of young pitchers goes the way of the 21-year-old Feller, who is a 20-game winner for the second consecutive season. The 19-year-old Newhouser falls to 8-9 with the loss.
Cleveland jumped out to an early 3-0 lead as Hal Trosky hit a two-out, two-run homer in the first inning and Beau Bell followed with a solo blast. After a Ken Keltner double, Newhouser was hooked and replaced by Clay Smith.
An RBI-double from Pinky Higgins cut the Indians lead to 3-1 in the second, but the Indians got the run back in the fourth on an RBI-double of their own from Ray Mack that scored Keltner from first. Cleveland erased any doubts in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run homer from Roy Weatherly and an RBI-double from Bell that scored Lou Boudreau from second. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Smith was able to get a pop up to second and a pair of strikeouts to erase further harm.
Higgins would drive in another run in the sixth, but a single from Boudreau in the bottom of the inning scored Ben Chapman to make it an 8-2 game. The Tigers scored three in the following inning, but would get no closer as Feller completed the game, allowing five runs on seven hits with five walks and seven strikeouts.
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Just a short note: Looking at the picture of old Municipal Stadium brought back memories of the magic it produced when you came up out of the tunnel to the lower box seats and saw the seemingly ocean of green grass and the manicured grey dirt. When filled with fans the stadium rocked with noise and enthusiasm–unfortunately not often enough. I also remember when the old Cleveland Press would have you send in your end of year report card (if you had straight “A’s”) along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and if you were in grade school return you 2 pairs of tickets and if in high school, 7 pairs of tickets. The 50’s were a great time to be an Indians fan–but then Frank Lane came along.