August 13, 1948
A record crowd packed in to Comiskey Park in Chicago on Friday night to watch the White Sox host the Cleveland Indians.
Fans of baseball were not disappointed, as Satchel Paige threw a dominating five-hit complete game shutout as the Indians defeated the White Sox, 5-0, to move back into first place in the American League.
Both starting pitchers, Paige for the Tribe and Randy Gumpert for the Sox, held the opposition in check through the early portions of the game. Paige allowed just a two-out first inning single to Luke Appling through the first four innings. Joe Gordon singled and was erased on a force in the second for the Indians and a pair of fourth inning singles was deleted on an inning-ending double play, preventing Lou Boudreau from scoring from third.
The Indians finally struck through against Gumpert in the fifth after a leadoff triple to left by Larry Doby. After a strikeout by Ken Keltner, Jim Hegan lifted a fly ball to left field to score Doby with the night’s first run.
Paige retired twelve straight batters until Dave Philley singled with two outs in the fifth. Despite a leadoff single by Gumpert in the sixth, he was unable to advance beyond second. Paige would not allow another hit until one out in the ninth, when Appling and former Indian Pat Seerey both singled to left but were stranded on base to end the game.
Cleveland gave Paige a little extra room to pitch in the top of the eighth. Keltner singled down the left field line off of Gumpert and was sacrificed to second by Hegan. Paige grounded out to first to advance Keltner to third, and a single to left with two outs by Dale Mitchell gave the Indians a 2-0 lead.
Gumpert (1-2) was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth and replaced on the mound by Glen Moulder. Gumpert kept the Indians in check throughout the night. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits in eight innings and was just outperformed by Paige. He struck out a pair and did not walk any batter.
In the ninth, Moulder allowed a single by Boudreau and Eddie Robinson reached and advanced on a throwing error by the Chicago second baseman Don Kolloway. With two in scoring position and nobody out, Gordon flied out to deep center, scoring Boudreau. Doby followed with a single to left to score Robinson. Doby stole second and, after an out and an intentional walk, tried to steal third on the front end of a double steal. The second error of the inning, this one by the catcher Robinson on the throw to third, allowed Doby to score, giving the scoreboard a 5-0 advantage to Cleveland.
Paige (4-1) struck out a batter and offered no free passes at all over the course of the ball game. He faced just five over the minimum on the night, allowing five singles over his stellar outing. Only one base runner reached third base.
It was Paige’s return to a city where he shined for years as a star in the Negro Leagues. The 51,013 in attendance was one of the largest crowds in the history of baseball in Chicago. Thousands more, as many as 15,000, were turned away. Some fans that were turned away because they didn’t have tickets instead decided to storm the turnstiles, proving too much for the few ticket-takers at the gate. The game set a new attendance high for the season at Comiskey Park and set a new night record in the city. They fell just short of 1,500 fans of breaking the city’s all-time mark.
Cleveland moved into first place by a half-game with Philadelphia’s loss to New York. The Indians maintain a game and a half lead over Boston and three games over the Yankees.
Cleveland will resume its series in Chicago on Saturday. Steve Gromek (6-2, 3.01 ERA) is scheduled to make the start for the Indians, while Al Gettel (3-7, 5.63) will start for Chicago. Gromek has earned wins in each of his last two appearances, one relief and one starting. He allowed an unearned run in seven innings his last time out against New York. Gettel is 3-6 with a 4.55 ERA since being acquired by Chicago from Cleveland as part of the trade for Bob Kennedy.
Photo: Chicago Tribune archive