“Wait…I’m starting to suffocate…And soon I anticipate…I’m coming undone…What looks so strong’s so delicate.”
The 2014 Cleveland Indians are so incredibly frustrating. The second I think that they will turn things around (like when they sweep Detroit) they go and lose some more. I understand that baseball is a marathon and that every team is going to lose a lot of games, but it’s the way that they lose that is infuriating. They can’t catch, they can’t throw, they have no bullpen rotation and the rest of the team is wildly inconsistent. Thank God for Corey Kluber and Michael Brantley. I can’t devote this whole article to this team or I’m just going to get mad.
Two years ago, the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera became the first major league baseball player to win the offensive triple crown – leading the league in home runs, runs batted in and batting average – since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967.
No Indians player has ever won the triple crown, but in 1953, Al Rosen came close – and some say he was cheated out of it by another former Indian.
Rosen made his debut with the Indians in 1948, and spent part of that season and the next in the majors. By 1950, he was the team’s starting third baseman, and demonstrated his power hitting ability by setting what was then a rookie record with 37 home runs.
Just two seasons ago, American League Central Division foe Detroit Tigers were swept by the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series. The Indians knew about being swept by the Giants a couple generations ago.
The Tigers could have been swept by the Giants in the World Series after setting an American League record for wins – like the Indians in 1954.
The Indians had won no fewer than 89 games in the five years since winning the 1948 World Series – and they had nothing to show for it. The Yankees won the pennant in each of those years, and became the only team to win five consecutive World Series.
But in 1954, it all came together for the Tribe. Unlike this year’s Tigers, they didn’t have a Triple Crown winner, but Indians led the American League in each Triple Crown category – Bobby Avila hit .341 to lead the league, and Larry Doby hit 32 home runs and 126 RBI. Early Wynn and Bob Lemon each won 23 games, Mike Garcia won 19 and Bob Feller – coming to the end of his career but still having a little left in the tank – went 13-3.
October 12, 1948
This morning the Cleveland Indians arrived home from Boston, victors of the 1948 World Series and received a heroes parade upon their arrival.
A dozen slow moving vehicles carrying Indians players and personnel traveled from the Cleveland Terminal to University Circle. It was estimated that between 200,000 and 500,000 fans turned out to honor the first baseball championship in Cleveland in 28 years. Fans lined both sides of the street and threw paper and held signs from building windows.
October 3, 1948
The pennant winning party scheduled for all weekend set over the horizon of Lake Erie without even a single champagne pop.
As the Detroit Tigers headed west with their season complete, the Cleveland Indians now made plans to travel east to Boston. However, after today’s 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Bengals, the Indians will not be headed Beantown to take on the Braves in the World Series. Instead, Cleveland will battle the Boston Red Sox for the 23rd time this season in a one-game playoff Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. It is the first time in the American League’s 48-year history that two teams tied after 154 games. It’s only the second time in baseball history.
“The loss didn’t get (us) down,” Indians manager Lou Boudreau said after the game. “The boys just feel they’re going to Boston a day early.”
September 28, 1948
The Indians have just a one game lead with five games to play, but if they qualify for the World Series, their roster has been approved.
Commissioner Happy Chandler approved the roster last night, with one surprise. Rookie Al Rosen was given approval to be eligible for the Fall Classic. The Rookie of the Year in the American Association was declared eligible upon the petition submitted by the Indians after pitcher Don Black was injured.
Normally, Rosen would not be eligible because he did not report to the Indians prior to Aug. 31.
September 11, 1948
In just his first full season as a starting pitcher, Bob Lemon has asserted himself as the ace of the Indians staff several times, but this afternoon may have been the culmination of his work to transform from a utility player to a star pitcher.
Lemon won his 20th game of the season after a rocky start with control in the game. The Indians plated three early runs and had a six-run outburst to give the Tribe a 9-1 victory and sweep of Saturday’s doubleheader with the St. Louis Browns. It is the Indians’ sixth straight victory. Cleveland battered southpaw Al Gerheauser of St. Louis in his first big league appearance since June. The lefty was just recalled from Toledo yesterday.
Al Rosen, the American Association’s batting champion and league’s most valuable rookie, joined the Indians yesterday.
Indians manager Lou Boudreau said he would not hesitate to use Rosen as a pinch-hitter in the Tribe’s stretch run, but he did not expect him or the four other farmhands recalled yesterday to see much serious playing time.
The 23-year old Miami, Fla. third baseman who hit .327 for Kansas City this season was in uniform Friday afternoon for the Indians 10-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers, however, he did not play. Rosen is nursing an injured knee and is day-to-day. He should be able to pinch-hit, if called upon.
September 10, 1948
Just like he had hoped, Ken Keltner has been with the Cleveland Indians for a long time now.
When Keltner joined the ballclub in 1937, the only other current Indian was an 18 year old Bob Feller. …
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.
OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
The Indians host an All-Star Game in the same season they end up going to the World Series. A hometown player tears the cover off the ball in the Midsummer Classic.
The Indians were on their way to a record 111 wins that season, and had five players selected for the All-Star Game, which would be held in Cleveland for the second time. The first was in 1934. Bobby Avila and Al Rosen were in the starting lineup, and Larry Doby was in reserves on the bench. Bob Lemon and Mike Garcia were selected as pitchers, but Garcia ended up getting replaced by Sandy Consuegra of the White Sox.
Whitey Ford started for the American League and Robin Roberts started for the National League. Ford pitched three shutout innings, and Roberts put up goose eggs in the first two frames, giving no indication of the slugfest that would develop.