All-Star Preview: Americans Playing Short-Handed

July 13, 1948

As we approach the 15th midsummer classic, the American League squad led by New York Yankees manager Bucky Harris will be at a decided disadvantage for the first time in the annual game’s history. The AL lineup is hampered by injuries and will be missing perhaps its most talented pitcher as well.

Yankees star Joe DiMaggio is hobbled with sore heels and a swollen knee, and Boston’s Ted Williams has torn rib cartilage. Both injured superstars will be out of the starting lineup and are limited to pinch hitting duties. Also, Detroit Tigers star third sacker George Kell has an ankle injury and will be unable to play in the game at all. Cleveland Indians slugger Ken Keltner will replace Kell at third base.

To make matters worse, Indians star pitcher Bob Feller decided on Saturday to sit out the contest, rumored to be on the instruction of Bill Veeck.

“We’ve got one pitcher on the team and he’s got the best record at that,” Veeck was quoted in The Plain Dealer. “After all, we’re out to win a pennant. Feller’s primary job is to pitch for the Indians and that’s what he’ll do. It’s not his fault. He was all ready to go to St. Louis.”

Harris seemed not to care that Feller was told to sit the game out. The Yankee skipper vowed that he would never select Feller to another All-Star Game as long as he was making the decisions.

Including Feller and Keltner, a total of five Cleveland ballplayers were selected to participate in the competition of baseball’s best. Joining the two teammates are shortstop/manager Lou Boudreau, second baseman Joe Gordon and pitcher Bob Lemon. All three position players will start, putting Indians on three-quarters of the starting infield.

For the National League – losers of ten of the first 14 All-Star Games – their lineup looks to be nearly at full strength. For years the perceived weaker league, the NL may finally be the favorite to take down the bully AL.

The game is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. Washington Senators pitcher Walt Masterson is scheduled to start for the American League, while Brooklyn Dodgers ace Ralph Branca is set to fire for the National League.

American League Lineup:

Pat Mullin                 Detroit            RF

Tommy Henrich        New York       LF

Lou Boudreau          Cleveland      SS

Joe Gordon                Cleveland      2B

Hoot Evers                 Detroit           CF

Ken Keltner               Cleveland      3B

George McQuinn      New York       1B

Buddy Rosar              Philadelphia    C

Walt Masterson       Washington  P

Reserves: Yogi Berra (C, NYY), Joe Coleman (P, PHA), Joe Dobson (P, BOS), Bobby Doerr (2B, BOS), Bob Feller – INJ (P, CLE), Joe Haynes (P, CHW), George Kell – INJ (3B, DET), Bob Lemon (P, CLE), Hal Newhouser (P, DET), Joe Page (P, NYY), Vic Raschi (P, NYY), Vern Stephens (SS, BOS), Birdie Tebbetts (C, BOS), Mickey Vernon (1B, WAS), Ted Williams – INJ (OF, BOS), Al Zarilla (OF, SLB)

National League Lineup:

Richie Ashburn         Philadelphia            CF

Red Schoendienst   St. Louis         2B

Stan Musial              St. Louis         LF

Johnny Mize              New York       1B

Enos Slaughter         St. Louis         RF

Andy Pafko                Chicago          3B

Walker Cooper         New York       C

Pee Wee Reese        Brooklyn        SS

Ralph Branca            Brooklyn        P

Reserves: Ewell Blackwell (P, CIN), Harry Brecheen (P, SLC), Bob Elliott (3B, BSN), Sid Gordon (3B, NYG), Frankie Gustine (3B, PIT), Tommy Holmes (OF, BSN), Buddy Kerr (SS, NYG), Ralph Kiner (OF, PIT), Marty Marion – INJ (SS, SLC), Phil Masi (C, BSN), Clyde McCullough (C, CHC), Elmer Riddle (P, PIT), Bill Rigney (2B, NYG), Johnny Sain (P, BSN), Johnny Schmitz (P, CHC), Eddie Stanky—INJ (2B, BSN), Bobby Thomson (OF, NYG), Eddie Waitkus (1B, CHC)

Photo courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library

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