An Introduction to the 1948 Cleveland Indians

Another season has passed with the Indians ultimately falling short of the goal of bringing a World Series victory to the city of Cleveland.

No parades, at least for a victorious squad (ahem, Cleveland circa 1995…).

No new pennants to grace the walls of Progressive Field.

No rings.

No trophies.

No sprinkles. Because sprinkles are for winners.

This offseason, we will again provide you with a winner. Sprinkles for everybody.

On May 19th, 2013, a meeting of the minds occurred at Progressive Field while Cleveland’s Justin Masterson was outdueling Seattle’s Felix Hernandez. Mike Brandyberry, Steve Eby, and Bob Toth met to discuss the coming months of what would turn out to be a fantastic season at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. Little did we realize at the time that our attention would be turned just over one mile to the northwest and 65 years into the past.

It was that afternoon that Did the Tribe Win 1948 and the #48Replay on Twitter were birthed while we were pondering how the players of yesteryear would have dealt with the 24/7 press coverage of the present day. With the addition of Vince Guerrieri to the fold, the team took a magnifying glass to the events surrounding the 1948 season and what we found was far more than just a story about the city of Cleveland and its last baseball championship.

We found a different world.

The city of Cleveland was a sports Mecca.

We delved into the archives, looking through historical accounts and published reports from the Cleveland Press and The Plain Dealer to find every compelling story about that magical season.

There was drama. There were racial tensions. Former stars were losing their luster, while new stars were lighting up the field each day. Attendance was spoken of – in a positive light! The nation was between wars and still adjusting to peace.

Scheduled doubleheaders. Train trips. Life-threatening injuries and health conditions. Taking down the juggernaut Yankees. A pennant chase down to the very final day. The parade for all parades.

The Indians had at their helm an energetic, charismatic, and visible owner, several dominant pieces in their starting rotation, exciting rookies, a future Hall of Fame player-manager, and an offense to be feared, all packed into the biggest and youngest stadium being used for baseball.

Some of the names you undoubtedly know – Bill Veeck, Lou Boudreau, Bob Feller, Larry Doby, Bob Lemon, Satchel Paige.

Some of the names you may not be familiar with – Russ Christopher, Don Black, Joe Gordon, Ken Keltner, Dale Mitchell, Eddie Robinson, Gene Bearden, and so many others.

Beginning Wednesday and running all the way to the opening night of the 2016 Major League Baseball season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will once again share with you baseball, all offseason long. Each afternoon, at least one story will be published looking back on what few of us have experienced in our lifetimes – a championship in Cleveland. All stories shared, more than 300 in total, are believed to be accurate accounts from the countless hours of research done in preparation for this project, minus the elimination of terms of the era that are racially insensitive today.

Let us tell you that story once again.


The year was 1948…


Photo: Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. I was 14 that year. It was one of my first jobs, selling peanuts, popcorn, or hot dogs in that old stadium. Ken Keltner was my favorite player. I hated to see Allie Reynolds traded to the Yankees, but I don’t think we would have won without Joe Gordon. The stadium always seemed full, especially after Bill Veeck signed Satchel Paige. I always tried to work Section A, because that was the best spot to watch the game. I didn’t really care how much money I made (sell a bag of peanuts for a dime and I made a penny), because I usually lost it all in the nightly crap game that took place in the vendor’s dressing room after every game. But the chance to watch my guys, plus JoeDiMaggio, or Ted Williams, et al., it was worth it. What a great year that was!

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