Salt Pork Gets Tipton Back on Field

June 8, 1948

Sometimes a good home-cooked meal is all a person needs to feel well again.

Joe Tipton needed something a little different from home to heal his ailing wrist this week.

“My mama put a poultice of salt pork on it,” Tipton drawled in his southern style. “We always use salt pork for stuff like that. It fixed it up pretty good. Still a little bit sore, but I can play all right.”

It’s taken a week and three different towns, but Tipton has reached base safely in his last ten plate appearances and has eight consecutive hits. He’s just four hits shy of the big league record Pinky Higgins of the Boston Red Sox set in 1938. Tipton was 5-for-5 on Sunday in the second game of the doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics.

But last Sunday in Chicago, Tipton was 3-for-3 in the first game of the doubleheader. He pinch-hit in the second game during the Tribe’s nine-run rally in the top of the eighth, but was hit on the left wrist and had to be removed from the game and rushed to the hospital. X-rays indicated he had a deep contusion that likely would keep him out for ten days. Without any available catchers, Indians manager Lou Boudreau had to catch the final two innings.

“Won’t keep me out for ten days,” Tipton, a 180-pounder, said after the injury. “I caught a whole season in 1946 with a broken finger in my glove hand so this won’t keep me out but a couple of days.”

After traveling with the team back to Cleveland on Sunday evening, Tipton left the squad with Boudreau’s permission to visit his sick baby daughter in McCaysville, Georgia. When he left the team, Tipton was wearing a splint and bandage on the wrist and was instructed to bathe his hand in Epsom Salt until he returned. After some poultice power from his mother, Tipton rejoined the team on Sunday without the brace and pronounced himself ready to play.

Tipton — a rookie — likely does not want to miss a lot of time due to injury, considering his playing time is limited behind All-Star catcher Jim Hegan. Despite his five hits on Sunday, and .542 batting average for the season, Tipton has only 13 hits in 24 times at bat this season. He led the Eastern League in batting last season at a .375 clip.

The Tribe travels to Boston this evening to open a three game series against the Red Sox. When Gene Bearden takes the mound, he’ll likely be throwing to Hegan — not Tipton. Tipton and his offensive streak will have to wait until Boudreau calls upon him again, but at least he’s ready ahead of schedule.

Photo: Chicago Tribune archive photo

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