Galehouse Unlikely Starting Selection for Sox, Tribe Mum on Starter

October 4, 1948

Boston Red Sox manager Joe McCarthy has made a surprising choice for the American League playoff game today. Meanwhile, the Indians still have not made their choice.

Tribe skipper Lou Boudreau says he will not announce his starter until they go to the bullpen to warm up for the game. Most pundits believe it will be Bob Lemon, who last started on Friday against the Detroit Tigers. If not Lemon, then possibly Bob Feller, who did not finish the third inning when the Indians fell behind on Sunday. Boudreau may have given Feller a quick hook to preserve his availability today. The Tribe skipper also feels Gene Bearden or several others are possibilities.

“Sure, Bob Lemon and Gene Bearden are possibilities,” Boudreau said. “But there are three others that could get the call.”

“No one’s going to know the pitcher until he walks out to take his warmup pitches,” Boudreau said.

But Red Sox mentor McCarthy’s decision to start right-hander Denny Galehouse (8-7, 3.82) is mystifying in a rotation that included streaking Ellis Kinder and ace Mel Parnell.

Galehouse, a Cleveland-area native who broke in with the Tribe, is likely familiar to Cleveland fans.

Galehouse was born in Marshalltown, but grew up in Doylestown. After graduating from Doylestown High School, he pitched for area semi-pro teams. An Indians scout liked what he saw enough to sign Galehouse to a contract, and in 1934, he made his major league debut for the Tribe.

After four years in Cleveland, he was traded to Boston. Two years after that, the Red Sox sold him to the St. Louis Browns. After the 1943 season, Galehouse, who got a draft deferment because of his age and because he was married with children, ended up working at Goodyear Aircraft in Akron as part of the war effort.

He still pitched for the Browns, working six days a week at the factory and hopping a train to St. Louis or wherever the Browns were on the road and pitching the first half of the Sunday doubleheader. As the Browns challenged for an American League pennant, Galehouse quit his factory job. He ended up starting Game One of the 1944 World Series, getting the win. He was also the losing pitcher in Game Five, despite giving up just two runs. The Cardinals beat the Browns in six games in the “Streetcar Series.”

Galehouse spent 1945 in the Navy, pitching for Feller and Great Lakes Naval, but came back to the Browns in 1946, and then was sold to the Red Sox the following year. Galehouse did throw eight and two-third innings in relief against the Indians on July 30, allowing just two hits and one run. His success in that game may have played a major part in McCarthy’s selection.

Cleveland has been made a 6-to-5 underdog according to bookmakers. Cleveland being an underdog is largely in part of Boston’s home field advantage. They are the toughest team at home in the American League. Cleveland is 5-6 in Fenway Park this season, the best record of any American League team there. Cleveland was the only team to log a winning record at Fenway Park in 1947, going 7-4.

Most believe the Tribe has success in Boston because of their strong right-handed offense. Cleveland may be the only team in the league with Boudreau, Allie Clark, Joe Gordon and Ken Keltner that can bang the ball off the big wall in left field like the Red Sox do.

While American League batting champion Ted Williams is left-handed, he hits well in any park. Boston has their own right-handed pop surrounding the Splendid Splinter in the lineup with Dom DiMaggio, Vern Stephens and Bobby Doerr. While today’s statistics will count in regular season records, Williams .370 batting average cannot be contested by Boudreau, who is second at .351, or Dale Mitchell, at .337.

Regardless of today’s starting pitchers, all pitchers are believed to be available for the Indians. Only Steve Gromek threw three innings yesterday. The other five hurlers used on Sunday did not throw more than three innings and could relieve if called upon. The same is true for Boston, with one possible exception. Joe Dobson pitched four and one-third innings yesterday and may not be available except in an emergency situation. Otherwise, today’s game should be a contest of “all hands on deck.”

Cleveland and Boston are tied at eleven wins apiece in the season series and most have been tight contests. Today’s game is expected to be no different and in front of a capacity crowd. It took only two hours and ten minutes to sell out 23,000 grandstand tickets for today’s game. Bleacher seats will be sold this morning.

Photo: The Conlon Collection

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