1948: When Boudreau Led the Boys
October 11, 1948
Hopefully the Cleveland Indians are very comfortable in their own clothes. For many of them, the shirt on their back is all their taking with them back to Boston.
Yesterday, the Indians suffered an 11-5 defeat in Game Five, forcing the two teams back to Boston for this afternoon’s game at Braves Field. Most Tribe players did not pack in advance, fearing they would jinx their performance and hoping they would be able to clinch at home in front of the Cleveland fans.
“We had better finish it tomorrow and come back home. This is all I’ve got with me,” said one of the players, pulling out a pocket comb.
October 10, 1948
This afternoon, Indians fans proved that they are some of the most passionate and patient fans.
While the two may not go together, the record-setting crowd of 86,288 packed Cleveland Stadium for the Tribe’s first World Series crown in 28 years, but instead will have to wait at least another day. The fans’ patience was tested again today just as they were a week ago when Cleveland had chances to clinch the pennant but could not.
Instead, the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game saw its best pitcher of this generation get tagged for seven runs from the Boston Braves in six and one-third innings. Bob Feller fell behind early and could not hold the lead when Cleveland battled back, eventually falling in a rout in Game Five, 11-5.
October 10, 1948
While no reports have been substantiated, Cleveland police and Major League Baseball have provided protection for World Series umpire Bill Stewart.
Stewart has made three controversial calls in the World Series – all going the favor of the Boston Braves. The first two calls have already been proven to incorrect by evidence from photographers. Film has yet to be produced to prove Stewart’s correctness on the third play.
As Did The Tribe Win Last Night helps fans count down the days until the Indians retake the field in an official Major League game, we look back at some of the players who wore the Cleveland jersey with pride.
Countdown to Opening Day – 5 days
Number five on our countdown is one of the handful of players honored in Indians history with a retired number. The man held two very distinct titles during his tenure in Cleveland and several more nicknames for good measure.
Whether you called him “Old Shufflefoot”, “Handsome Lou”, “Boy Wonder”, “The Good Kid”, or skipper, Lou Boudreau was one thing in the end – a Hall of Famer.
October 9, 1948
When Larry Doby lifted the World Series’ first home run and starting pitcher Steve Gromek was carving up the Boston Braves lineup, Cleveland Mayor Thomas Burke said to Boston Mayor James Curley, “Your honor, I can just about taste those baked beans.”
This is according to The Plain Dealer, who reported a bet that had occurred between the mayors of the two cities. The mayor of Tribe-town would receive 100 pots of baked beans while the Beantown mayor would get a wooden Indian if their respective cities won the World Series.
Gromek and Doby put Burke one victory away from a truckload of beans when they defeated the Braves 2-1 in Game Four.
October 9, 1948
It was the first World Series game that triple play man Bill Wambsganss had seen since his Cleveland Indians defeated the Brooklyn Robins in Game Seven in 1920. The grand slam man, Elmer Smith, had seen a few since, however.
“This is the first series I’ve seen since our 1920 victory,” Wamby shared. “Elmer, of course, played in two other series’ with the New York Yankees.”
October 8, 1948
Cleveland Indians rookie pitcher Gene Bearden is making quite a name for himself, as he pitched the Tribe’s third straight outstanding game in defeating the Boston Braves, 2-0, and giving the Indians a 2-1 advantage in the World Series in the process.
Bearden used the pinpoint control of his knuckleball to work through the Boston batters, allowing just five hits and no walks in his complete game shutout. The Braves, like the Indians, got excellent pitching as well, but did not get the defensive support from the position players. The Tribe got their first run gift wrapped for them in the third inning, then had to work for one in the fourth.
The starter for Boston, rookie right-hander Vern Bickford, pitched well but was on a short leash from Braves manager Billy Southworth. Bickford worked only three and one-third innings, allowing just the one earned and one unearned run before being pulled in favor of the Boston bullpen. Relievers Bill Voiselle and Red Barrett did an excellent job of shutting the Indians down and keeping the Braves in the ballgame. It was not to be for Boston, however, as Bearden and the Tribe made the two early runs stand up.
October 8, 1948
Large crowds. Cold, rainy weather. Ticket scalpers making profits. An electric atmosphere.
Welcome back Tribe…this time, it’s for all the marbles.
Today, for the first time since October 12, 1920, the city of Cleveland will host a World Series game. The Tribe will take on the National League’s Boston Braves on baseball’s biggest stage with the series tied at one game apiece.
October 7, 1948
Bob Lemon overcame a first inning unearned run and went the distance for Cleveland, as the Indians chased Boston’s Warren Spahn early in a 4-1 victory on Thursday to even the World Series at one game apiece.
The Braves struck first in the first against the Indians’ Lemon on yet another debatable call from umpire Bill Stewart. The inning’s second hitter, Al Dark, reached safely at first base on an error at second by Joe Gordon. Gordon initially fumbled with the ground ball, but recovered in time to throw to first. It appeared Stewart called Dark safe even before he or the ball reached the bag but, despite some protesting on the field by the Indians, the call remained. Dark moved up to third base as Earl Torgeson singled to right. Bob Elliott, Boston’s RBI leader, drove Dark home with a single to left to give Boston the early 1-0 lead.
With two on and just one out, Lemon picked off Torgeson from second with Marv Rickert at the plate. The threat now diffused, Lemon struck Rickert out to end the inning.
“Sure, there were a few butterflies in my stomach when I walked out there for the first inning,” said Lemon in the Cleveland dressing room, “but they disappeared with the first pitch.”
October 7, 1948
Marring an incredible pitchers’ duel at Braves Field in Boston was what appeared to be a missed call on a pickoff play in the eighth inning of Boston’s 1-0 victory over Cleveland Wednesday.
Bob Feller was on the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning, pitching a one-hitter in a scoreless tie. The Indians’ bats had been held quiet by a combination of the wicked array of curveballs from the Braves’ Johnny Sain and the winds blowing in from right field towards home plate off of the Boston harbor.
October 6, 1948
In quite possibly the best pitched game in World Series history, Cleveland’s Bob Feller and Boston’s Johnny Sain locked up in a pitchers’ duel, with a controversial call in the eighth inning leading to the only run of the afternoon as the Braves defeated the Indians by a 1-0 final on Wednesday.
With no score and both pitchers dealing on the mound, Feller walked catcher Bill Salkeld to start off the eighth inning on five pitches. Phil Masi came on to run. A sacrifice from Mike McCormick down the first base line moved Masi to second. Feller intentionally walked Eddie Stanky to put the double play in order with the pitcher Sain stepping to the plate. The faster Sibby Sisti took over on the bases for Stanky.
Before Feller threw his first pitch to his Boston counterpart, he threw to shortstop Lou Boudreau at second in an attempt to pick off the pinch-runner Masi. Despite appearing to be out, Masi was ruled safe on his return by umpire Bill Stewart.
October 6, 1948
The heavily-favored Cleveland Indians will engage the Boston Braves in a seven-game championship battle in the 45th World Series beginning today.
Lou Boudreau’s Indians knocked off the Red Sox in Boston to earn the American League pennant on Monday, clinching the ball club the right to challenge for their second world’s championship.
The Braves, meanwhile, had a much quieter pursuit of the National League pennant. By the middle of June, they claimed the top spot in the league after a slow start to their season. A 20-10 month of June was followed up by a 19-11 July. They strung together a pair of six-game winning streaks in June. They had two separate four-game winning streaks and a five-game run in July. In the two months, Boston outscored their opponents by a 341-255 margin.