This is the second of three installments of “After the Cleveland Indians’ 1948 Season”, the final chapter of the 1948 season review. See Part 1 here.
Bob Lemon had the first of seven 20-win seasons for the Indians in 1948. He became a mainstay of the pitching staff through the 1950s. His 1950 season was one for the ages, going 23-11 and leading the league in wins, innings (288), starts (37), complete games (22) and strikeouts (170). He won 23 games again in 1954 as the Indians rolled to the pennant. He retired in 1958 with a career record of 207-128, and had a successful career as a manager. He managed the Royals, was hired by Bill Veeck to manage the White Sox, and was named AL Manager of the Year in 1977.
After he was fired by Veeck in 1978, he became the Yankees manager, hired by George Steinbrenner and reunited with Al Rosen. The Yankees won the World Series that year and Lemon was named manager of the year again. But his son’s death in a car accident cast a pall on the 1979 season for him, and he was fired 25 games into the season. Lemon came back to manage the Yankees in 1981, as they won the pennant. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976, and his number 21 was retired by the Indians in 1998. He died in 2000.
August 11, 1948
A four-run seventh inning is normally a good thing for a team’s offense, but it does little good when the team is already down 12-0. Three Indians pitchers were blasted around the ballpark in game two of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Sportsman’s Park, as the Browns walloped the Indians by a score of 12-4.
Indians starter Bob Muncrief (5-4, 4.04) was awful this evening, as were relievers Don Black and Russ Christopher. The trio gave the Indians no chance of winning and was only saved from complete embarrassment due to the pitching of Ed Klieman – the only Cleveland pitcher who seemed to be able to record an out.
The loss, coupled with Philadelphia’s 8-3 victory in Washington, puts the Indians in second place, one-half game behind the Athletics.
July 12, 1948
On the first day of the annual All-Star break, the Cleveland Indians not participating in the exhibition in St. Louis traveled to Dayton to take on the Tribe’s single-A affiliate, the Dayton Indians.
Just as it should be, the big leaguers took care of business and throttled the minor leaguers by a score of 16-4, but how they did it was the impressive part.
Outfielder Bob Kennedy started the game on the pitching mound for Cleveland and went four eye-opening innings allowing just four hits and one run. Rookies Leroy Wheat and Howard Burchett relieved and pitched the rest of the game, while Johnny Berardino, Allie Clark and Wally Judnich all went deep for Cleveland. The “Little Indians” threw prospects Charlie Sipple, Lefty R. Wood, Dave Pryor and Joe Pennington at the big league club. Sipple was hit with the loss.
June 11, 1948
In what might be the most exciting and tension-filled game of the season to date, the Cleveland Indians won a game loaded with big innings, ejections and late night drama.
In a matchup of the two best pitchers in the league this year so far, the Indians snapped Vic Raschi’s 23 scoreless innings streak and scored five early runs. Then, the Yankees used 18 players – including six pitchers – as they tried to chase down the Tribe. Cleveland’s bullpen was able to hold on and stave off a late rally, including using yesterday’s starter, Bob Feller, to win 10-8.
June 8, 1948
Sometimes a good home-cooked meal is all a person needs to feel well again.
Joe Tipton needed something a little different from home to heal his ailing wrist this week.
“My mama put a poultice of salt pork on it,” Tipton drawled in his southern style. “We always use salt pork for stuff like that. It fixed it up pretty good. Still a little bit sore, but I can play all right.”
June 6, 1948
The Indians dismantled the Philadelphia Athletics in the second game of the doubleheader, pounding out 16 hits en route to a 11-1 victory at Shibe Park. The win gives Cleveland a two and one-half game lead over Philadelphia and the rest of the American League. The lead is their largest of the season.
Whenever a team wins by ten runs and accumulates 16 hits, it is a team effort, but two players who likely didn’t think they’d factor so heavily in the team’s performance just a week ago would have been Steve Gromek and Joe Tipton.
June 1, 1948
Over the course of any given season, a team will suffer through periods with some of its regular players on the bench in agony while recovering from injuries.
That time is now for the Tribe.
Three regulars in the Cleveland lineup have been notably absent during the course of the last few games.
May 9, 1948
The Indians endured yet another sour start, but used a fine effort from the bullpen and a late rally to steal the second game of the Sunday doubleheader, 9-5. Cleveland used three more home runs to ignite the rally.
The two victories match the two wins posted by the Philadelphia Athletics today, leaving the Tribe in a virtual tie in the standings. Cleveland is a half-game behind, yet because of playing three fewer games, the Tribe has a .714 winning percentage to Philly’s .706.
August 27, 1948
With a Friday doubleheader in New York to make up a previous rain out, it looked like the Indians had a chance to tie the Boston Red Sox for first place this afternoon with a free game to make ground.
Boston won their game this afternoon against the Chicago White Sox, keeping a half game ahead when the Indians won the first game in the Bronx 8-1, but the BoSox from Beantown would be defenseless as they sit idle tonight to another Indians’ win. However, sometimes the best defense is none at all. The Indians fell behind early and never recovered, losing the Yankees 7-2 in the second game of the twin bill.
August 22, 1948
The Indians now find themselves in a precarious position as a big series with the Red Sox looms.
A ninth-inning rally was stalled as the Tribe dropped a 4-3 decision before more than 57,000 fans in the nightcap of a doubleheader against the White Sox, who have taken three of four from the Tribe in this series. Prior to that, they had beaten the Indians three times in the previous 15 matchups.
With the loss, the Indians’ lead over Boston has been trimmed to half a game. The Red Sox beat the Senators 4-2 on Sunday. Steve Gromek is expected to take the hill for the Tribe in the first game of the series, and Crimson Hose manager “Marse Joe” McCarthy is expected to give the nod to Joe Dobson.
August 11, 1948
A four run seventh inning is normally a good thing for a team’s offense, but it does little good when the team is already down 12-0. Three Indians pitchers were blasted around the ballpark in game two of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Sportsman’s Park, as the Browns walloped the Indians by a score of 12-4.
Indians starter Bob Muncrief (5-4, 4.04) was awful this evening, as were relievers Don Black and Russ Christopher as well. The trio gave the Indians no chance of winning and were only saved from complete embarrassment due to the pitching of Ed Klieman—the only Cleveland pitcher who seemed to be able to record an out. The loss, coupled with Philadelphia’s 8-3 victory in Washington, puts the Indians in second place, 0.5 games behind the Athletics.