Veeck Thanks Fans Personally As Tribe Breaks Attendance Record

June 21, 1948

“It’s a record!”

So proclaimed the booming voice of Cleveland President Bill Veeck to the 82,781 fans who packed the stadium on Sunday afternoon to watch the Indians sweep the Philadelphia Athletics in a twinbill.

The attendance figure stands as the single largest crowd in major league history.

A great Sunday for baseball, Indians fans were treated to a pair of games by the Bobs. Bob Feller won game one in the afternoon, 4-3, after the Indians put together a seventh inning rally to pull off the victory. Bob Lemon threw his fourth shutout of the season in blanking the A’s, 10-0, and hit his third home run of the season in the second game.

Veeck personally claimed the microphone of the public address system located behind the Indians dugout in the fifth inning of the day’s second game, replacing stadium announcer Jack Cresson.

Cresson himself usually handles the task of announcing the number of fans in attendance.

“Ladies and gentleman,” the tieless Veeck announced, “the paid attendance at today’s game is 82,781, which breaks all previous major league records. I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the way you turned out to make this record possible.”

It was another in a series of first-class moves by the showman Veeck, who in his two years in Cleveland has excelled at finding ways to get fans to come down to the stadium to see his ever-improving ball club.

Representatives were not expecting such a large turnout for the game and again needed to utilize a fenced-in area in right field to accommodate the higher participation from the fans.

“The advance ticket sale for this doubleheader was about the same as the one for the Yankees three weeks ago,” Veeck said regarding Sunday’s crowd. “We started selling standing room tickets about 12:30.”

The mark on the day could have been even slightly higher. One hundred and sixteen fans left the ballpark with a refund after entering the stadium and finding out that they were going to have to stand behind the outfield fence in the area marked off in right field.

Now with 773,037 fans to cross through the turnstiles through 24 games, and with the second-place New York Yankees in town this week for four games followed by four more with the Washington Senators, there is a strong possibility, almost a certainty, that the Indians’ home attendance figures in Cleveland will pass the one million mark with more than half of the season left to play.

Photo: Cleveland Memory Project

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