Indians’ Aging Infield Gets a Youthful Boost as Boone is Promoted, Rosen Could Follow Soon

September 1, 1948

Lou Boudreau, Ken Keltner and Joe Gordon have done a fantastic job holding down the infield-fort this season, as the three premier hitters are all integral cogs in Cleveland’s mighty lineup. The three veterans, however, have an average age of 32 and have shown some signs of tiring as the hot Cleveland sun and the everyday grind of the baseball season has taken its toll on the infielders. Reinforcements are more than welcome for the Indians pennant race, as backup infielder Johnny Berardino has shouldered the entire load all season long.

Enter Ray Boone – or Ike, as he is known to his teammates – the Indians’ young shortstop prospect who will be making his Major League debut just as soon as Boudreau pencils his name in the lineup. Boone was called up to The Show on Wednesday after proving his readiness at AA Oklahoma City this season.

In 87 games for the little Indians, Boone, 25, batted an outstanding .355 to pace the team. Not known for his power, Boone was able to slam three home runs as well as 16 doubles and nine triples.

Boone signed on with the Indians prior to the 1942 season at the age of 18. After batting .306 for the Class C Wausau Timberjacks that season, Boone enlisted in the United States Navy and missed the next three seasons serving in the war. Ike returned to The States to play in 1946 and improved greatly over the next three seasons.

The call-up of Boone may just be the first step in their youth movement, as the contending Indians may also bring up young third base phenom Al Rosen as well. Rosen is labeled as a “can’t miss” prospect and lived up to his billing this season at the Triple-A level. Rosen batted an impressive .327 and walloped 25 home runs and 110 RBI this season. Although blocked by the veteran Keltner, many figured that Rosen had the ability to shoulder the third base load for the Tribe out of Spring Training.

Rosen was promoted to the big squad last season for a short time, appearing in seven games for the Tribe in September. Rosen started only one game and got only nine total at bats, but he was able to collect his first Major League hit off of Detroit’s Stubby Overmire in a pinch-hitting appearance on September 22.

The addition of Boone and the eventual, probable promotion of Rosen should provide some infield depth as the Indians continue to roll down the stretch. The Tribe currently sits one and a half games behind the first place Boston Red Sox and one-half game behind the second place New York Yankees. While it is doubtful that the young Boone or Rosen would have much impact on the pennant race, they could reprieve the veteran infielders for the stretch that they may need it the most.

Photo: ootpdevelopments.com

Related Posts

The Indians Last Became World Champions 69 Years Ago Wednesday

With last season’s Game 7 loss in the World Series to the Chicago Cubs, the Cleveland Indians took over a title desired by none across the Major…

Veeck’s Ownership Led to an Indians Championship Parade in ‘48

Seventy years ago Wednesday, baseball innovator and mogul Bill Veeck and a small handful of other investors officially purchased the Cleveland Indians organization, setting the stage less…

Rare Piece of Indians Memorabilia Up for Sale

Do you have $20,000 burning a hole in your bank account that you just don’t know what to do with? Send it to me. Student loans and…

When Jackie Robinson Played in Cleveland

On April 15th of every year, Major League Baseball takes pause to recognize the contributions of Jackie Robinson to the advancement of African-Americans (and minorities as a…

After the Cleveland Indians’ 1948 Season (Part 3)

This is the third and final installment of “After the Cleveland Indians’ 1948 Season”, the final chapter of the 1948 season review. See Part 1 and Part…

After the Cleveland Indians’ 1948 Season (Part 2)

This is the second of three installments of “After the Cleveland Indians’ 1948 Season”, the final chapter of the 1948 season review. See Part 1 here. Bob…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.