June 1, 1948
Over the course of any given season, a team will suffer through periods with some of its regular players on the bench in agony while recovering from injuries.
That time is now for the Tribe.
Three regulars in the Cleveland lineup have been notably absent during the course of the last few games.
An actor in his spare time, Johnny Berardino has been plugged into the lineup by Indians manager Lou Boudreau during the absence of starting second baseman Joe Gordon. Berardino, who has been in films since he was seven years old, nearly became a member of the Washington Senators while considering walking away from baseball altogether to remain in the Hollywood scene. Instead, his trade from the St. Louis Browns to Washington was cancelled, and he later joined the Indians.
Gordon had been out of the lineup for a week until playing in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader against Chicago. His sore back, described as a muscular condition, originally was expected to keep him out of the lineup for several days while he received treatment. The team hopes to rest him for several more days.
On the season, the Indians second baseman is hitting .250 with five home runs and 24 RBI.
Also missing in action on the diamond is center fielder Thurman Tucker. Tucker fractured his finger and has been relegated to pinch running duties for the team.
He was injured during the game on Saturday against the White Sox when, while attempting to bunt, he was hit by a pitch from Chicago pitcher Bill Wight. The tip of the index finger on his left hand was broken in three places and a metal splint was placed. He will not be able to have regular, full use of the finger for approximately two weeks, but the team will still be able to utilize him as a pinch runner in the meantime.
Tucker is batting .299 in his first season in Cleveland after spending the first five years of his career in Chicago. He is averaging a run scored per game this season and has been the team’s regular center fielder.
Reserve catcher Joe Tipton has been unable to play since suffering a severely bruised hand when hit by a pitch in Chicago. The rookie since has left the team and taken home to Copper City, Tennessee, to help tend to an ill infant daughter. He is expected to rejoin the team later on in the week, but will not be able to play until some time next week at the earliest.
Minor leaguer catcher Ray Murray is traveling with the team in the interim in the event starting catcher Jim Hegan were to succumb to injury while the team is down Tipton. Murray has been placed on Cleveland’s active list, but will remain on the roster of the Tribe’s Oklahoma City affiliate while traveling with Cleveland on their lengthy east coast trip. It is believed he will be shipped back to the midwest when Tipton’s health returns.
Cleveland also was without the services of third baseman Ken Keltner last week after the slugger suffered a bruise on his right forearm when he was hit by a thrown ball while standing at first base. No fractures were shown when the arm was x-rayed, but he was limited for two days.
Photo: WM. C. Greene via Sporting News archives