Larry Doby settled into the outfield in Cleveland Stadium and was called the best center fielder in the game by the Sporting News in 1950. Doby led the American League with 32 home runs and 126 RBI as the Indians won the pennant in 1954.
He was traded to Chicago after the 1955 season, and spent two years at Comiskey before coming back to Cleveland. The Indians traded him to Detroit in 1959 for Tito Francona. Doby was the first black player for the Tigers. Bill Veeck traded midseason for him to play for the White Sox that year as well.
Doby, the second black player in the majors, also became the second black manager. Doby was a coach for the Indians when he was bypassed for Frank Robinson, the first black manager, and went to Chicago, where he was reunited once again with Veeck. He became the Pale Hose manager in 1978 after Veeck fired Bob Lemon, and resigned after the 1979 season.
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 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 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 2, 1948
What has seemed imminent for days is still not official, but now is a little closer.
This afternoon the Indians beat the Detroit Tigers, 8-0, in front of 56,235 anxious spectators and did not clinch the American League pennant, but assured themselves of at least a tie. Cleveland used a five-run fifth inning and an eight-hit shutout from rookie left-hander Gene Bearden.
Cleveland’s victory moves them to 96-57 in the standings while holding a one-game lead over the Boston Red Sox as the two teams head to the last day of the season. Boston defeated the New York Yankees 5-1 in Fenway Park to eliminate the Yankees from contention. After 153 games, the tightest American League pennant race in history is finally just a two-team race.
September 29, 1948
The 1948 pennant has not been spotted inside Municipal Stadium just yet, but its arrival is being eagerly anticipated.
The Indians took another step closer to earning their first World Series birth in 28 years with a come-from-behind victory to defeat the Chicago White Sox Wednesday afternoon, 5-2. The 13,559 fans in attendance saw Bob Feller win his seventh straight decision behind the offensive exploits of Joe Gordon and Ken Keltner. Each homered and doubled to provide the necessary offense for the Tribe in the sixth and seventh innings.
Both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees won their games to keep pace with the Tribe, but time is running out for both clubs. Both pennant chasers trail the Indians by two games with only three remaining on their schedules. Cleveland can guarantee itself no worse than a tie with another win and clinch the pennant with two victories.
September 20, 1948
It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective in earning the necessary result.
It’s the best way to describe the Cleveland Indians and rookie left-hander Gene Bearden’s effort on Monday night. The southpaw and Purple Heart recipient matched up with fellow war hero Lou Brissie and earned the win 6-3 in front of 44,442 patrons at Municipal Stadium.
Bearden pitched the Tribe into the seventh inning but needed help from reliever Russ Christopher to complete the contest. It wasn’t Bearden’s best performance of his 16 wins this season, but it was enough to beat the struggling Athletics and keep the Tribe a half game behind Boston for first place in the standings and a half game ahead of third place New York. Each team won their game this evening.
September 18, 1948
Behind the strong effort of Sam Zoldak on the mound, the Cleveland Indians won a third straight game to sweep the hapless Washington Senators on Saturday afternoon, 10-1.
With the series sweep, the Indians defeated a team that they needed to beat and improved to 87-55 on the season. They kept pace with the first place Boston Red Sox, who came from behind to defeat the St. Louis Browns. They picked up a full game on the New York Yankees, who were dealt a 4-3 loss at the hands of Detroit’s Hal Newhouser, shrinking their lead to a half-game on the Indians.
The Indians have now won ten of their last 12. The Senators leave town after extending their losing streak to 18 games, two short of the Major League record. Cleveland finished 16-6 against Washington this season.
September 16, 1948
Gene Bearden settled in after a rough beginning to his outing Thursday night and went the distance as the Indians offense erupted for a five-run first on the way to a much needed win for Cleveland over the Washington Senators, 6-3.
The Senators jumped out to an early 2-0 lead off of Bearden in the first. The first batter of the game, Eddie Yost, doubled down the left field line and scored on a single to right by Al Kozar. On the play, Yost had stopped at third, but advanced on an error at the plate as the throw from Larry Doby bounced in front of Jim Hegan and rolled all the way to the stands. A single to right by Bud Stewart one out later scored Kozar with the inning’s second run. With two outs, the Nats ran themselves out of the inning as Stewart was caught stealing by Hegan.
With Washington’s Sid Hudson on the mound, the Indians struck right back in the bottom of the frame. Dale Mitchell singled to left and moved to second on a walk by Thurman Tucker. Lou Boudreau fouled out to the first baseman Mickey Vernon before Joe Gordon was hit by a pitch in the back to load the bases. Hudson became his own worst enemy, putting a third free runner on base and forcing in Mitchell with the bases loaded walk to Ken Keltner, making it a 2-1 lead.
September 12, 1948
In baseball, sometimes you win and some times you lose. But you don’t tie.
Yet that’s just what the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Browns did this afternoon at the stadium. Cleveland plated three early runs, but only managed two hits in the final ten innings of play, leaving the winning run in scoring position on several accounts. The game was halted after 12 innings around 7:30 p.m. due to darkness.
September 7, 1948
With 23 games remaining in the 1948 season, the Cleveland Indians are going to need a couple things to happen if they still hope to win the pennant.
After splitting a doubleheader yesterday in Chicago, the Tribe is now four and a half games back of first place, the farthest out of first place they have been all season. In order to still win the pennant, Cleveland is going to have to play very well and Boston and New York will have to flounder.