The 1948 World Championship was the crowning moment in Bill Veeck’s career as an owner – and one of the loneliest in his life. Veeck would own another pennant winner, but no other world champion. On September 23, 1949, he led a funeral procession out to the outfield to bury the pennant, with the Indians mathematically eliminated from the race. That fall, Veeck’s wife Eleanore filed for divorce, and Veeck was forced to sell the team to pay for it.
In 1951, Veeck, newly married, bought the St. Louis Browns. His idea was to run off the Cardinals, and with a mix of his own wacky promotions and Cardinals owner Fred Saigh’s income tax problems, it appeared he might do so. But Saigh sold the team to Gussie Busch, heir to the brewing fortune and a St. Louis institution. Veeck sought to move the team to Baltimore, but was blocked by baseball owners and was forced to sell the team – which then moved to Baltimore.
August 7, 1948
The Indians found a way to keep Joe DiMaggio off of the base paths yesterday, but couldn’t do it two days in a row.
DiMaggio doubled twice, driving in three of the Yankees’ five runs, and Vic Raschi scattered just four hits over nine innings in shutting out the Tribe 5-0 in front of the 66,693 Ladies Day crowd. It was the largest crowd in Indians history for a Saturday game. It was a record-smashing day in the stadium nursery, too. A total of 274 children were in the playroom, eclipsing the largest previous “crowd” of 168.
July 26, 1948
Cleveland Indians manager Lou Boudreau adjusted his batting lineup earlier in the month, hoping to elicit more consistent production from the heart of the order.
The top of the order remained largely unchanged, as Dale Mitchell was followed by Larry Doby, as has been the preference for the Tribe skipper over the last few weeks. Boudreau, however, moved himself out of the three-hole, probably his better suited spot in the lineup, into the cleanup spot, due to the lack of production he was seeing from Eddie Robinson and, before him, Joe Gordon.
July 24, 1948
It was a day of firsts for the Cleveland Indians, but none of their achievements will be on president Bill Veeck’s mantle anytime soon.
When the Indians and their bullpen allowed the Boston Red Sox to walk to a 2-1 victory in the second game of their Saturday doubleheader, it became the first time the Tribe has been swept in a twin bill all season. It also became the first time the Indians fell below second place in the standings or did not have a winning percentage of .600 or better.
June 23, 1948
Dinner and a movie is always a good date, but Tuesday evening it doubled as team bonding for the Cleveland Indians.
After the Indians welcomed new southpaw pitcher Sam Zoldak to the Tribe with a 5-2 victory over the Yankees yesterday afternoon, the team took their families to a preview showing of “The Winner’s Circle.” This movie isn’t just any picture, however, as one of the supporting actors is Tribe middle infielder Johnny Berardino.
Berardino plays the role of a horse trainer in the picture, a supporting role that he played last offseason. He’s as excited about the release of his movie nationwide this month as he is about being a Cleveland Indian and their pennant hopes.
June 20, 1948
Cleveland hurler Bob Lemon baffled Philadelphia hitters over nine scoreless innings and aided his own cause with a pair of extra base hits, as the Indians swept the Sunday twin bill from the Athletics with a 10-0 shutout.
Lemon (10-5) becomes the first pitcher in the American League to reach ten wins with his fourth shutout of the year. He is the league leader with 65 strikeouts and ten complete games. He allowed four singles and two walks while striking out ten, his highest single game output since May 25 against Washington.
No Athletics base runners reached third base.
June 3, 1948
Mother Nature won the day’s matchup between the Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators from Griffith Stadium in the nation’s capital on Thursday night.
Just prior to the 8:30 p.m. first pitch, a heavy rain fell and postponed the game between the two ball clubs. The Indians had taken batting and field practice, but at 8:15 p.m. the rain that had been expected fell and drenched those in attendance. A half-hour later, the game officially was postponed.
The rains did not, however, wash away the rumors swirling around the Cleveland organization.
May 30, 1948
It was recently announced that the United States is going to send a rhesus monkey named Albert into space on a V2 rocket sometime this June. If you heard of this while attending Sunday’s second game at Comiskey Park, it was only the second craziest news of your day.
The Cleveland Indians used a nine-run eighth inning to come back and defeat the Chicago White Sox in the second game of a doubleheader, 13-8.
To make matters even more outlandish, the Indians used 21 players in the ballgame, lost a player to injury, had their player/manager/shortstop Lou Boudreau put on his catcher’s gear for the final two innings of the contest and pitched a man two innings out of the bullpen who had thrown nine innings the day prior. The Tribe pulled out all the stops Sunday evening and ended up pulling out a victory in the process.
May 30, 1948
The Indians fell further out of first place in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader, as they dropped a game to the White Sox 4-2.
Indians starting pitcher Bob Feller (5-4, 3.09) was pitching like an ace for most of the afternoon, but the wheels fell off for Feller in the bottom of the sixth inning and the sad-sack White Sox were able to take advantage. Opposing starter Glen Moulder (1-2, 5.81) was slightly better than his counterpart and recorded his first victory of the season.
May 29, 1948
In what very well may prove to be a bittersweet victory, the Cleveland Indians blanked the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, 4-0.
The sweet part of the victory came in the form of starting pitcher Bob Lemon (6-2, 2.12), who hurled his third complete game shutout of the season. Lemon, who now has a team-leading six victories, allowed only four hits and three walks while striking out five. The bitter portion of the contest came in the eighth inning, when center fielder and leadoff hitter Thurman Tucker injured his finger during his final at-bat.
Early indications are that Tucker might have broken the digit and might miss a significant amount of time. That’s not a good sign, considering the Indians are already missing second baseman Joe Gordon and third baseman Ken Keltner is also not 100 percent.
May 20, 1948
Despite the great record to start the season by the Cleveland Indians, team president Bill Veeck is not comfortable with the makeup and effort of his ball club.
The Indians have been a team of streaks. After winning their first six games of the year, they dropped four straight. They rebounded with a five-game winning streak, only to trade off a pair of losses sandwiching a win before their current four-game victorious run.
It looks as though there are holes throughout the roster and the overall composition of the team seems to be unusual and unconventional at best.