November 25, 1948
This afternoon the Baseball Writers Association of America announced Lou Boudreau as the Most Valuable Player of the American League.
Boudreau, the Indians player-manager, led the 1948 Tribe to the World Series crown last month. On the field, he hit .355, with 18 home runs and 106 runs batted in in 152 games. All three numbers were career highs for the Tribe’s shortstop. Off the field, the 30-year-old manager helped guide the Indians to their first World Series crown in 28 years.
Even before the Indians clinched the American League pennant, the 24 national voters elected Boudreau the star of the junior circuit. The final vote was tallied during the last week of the season. Despite the pennant still being up for grabs in the final week, he received 22 of the 24 first place votes, beating out Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees, who received the other two first place nods. DiMaggio led the American League with 39 home runs and all of the big leagues with 155 RBIs.
Ted Williams and Vern Stephens of the Boston Red Sox finished third and fourth, respectively. Williams hit .369 to win the batting crown this season. The Splendid Splinter was the only hitter to exceed Boudreau’s batting average.
Boudreau’s two home runs and 4-for-4 performance in the one-game playoff helped catapult the Indians to the World Series and eventual championship over the Boston Braves.
Fellow Indians Bob Lemon and Joe Gordon finished fifth and sixth. Lemon won 20 games and Gordon hit 32 home runs with 124 RBIs for the Tribe. Rookie pitching star Gene Bearden finished eighth in the MVP voting.
Bearden was a surprise snub for the Major League’s Rookie of the Year award. Boston’s Alvin Dark received the honor with Bearden finishing second. Bearden likely suffered from votes being cast in the final week of the season. The left-hander won three games in the final ten days, plus a World Series shutout and series-clinching save, all after votes were submitted.
Boudreau is regarded as the best shortstop in the game and possibly the best since Honus Wagner. While he lacks speed, a product of weak ankles from his college basketball days at Illinois, Boudreau is one of the best at positioning himself in the perfect spot to defend hitters. Defensively, he is one of the best at turning the double play.
Photo: Cleveland Memory Project