June 27, 1948
Sometimes a little left is all right. That was Indians manager Lou Boudreau’s approach this afternoon.
Boudreau used seven right-handed hitters in his lineup to jump-start his offense against Washington southpaw Mickey Haefner. It paid off with four runs in the first inning, which was enough for the Tribe’s lefty, Sam Zoldak, to go the distance for a 4-1 victory in the second game of the double-dip. Zoldak earned his second victory in as many starts as a member of the Tribe.
Zoldak was the story of the afternoon as he was the master on the mound. With the exception of a double, single and error by Dale Mitchell in the third inning, he was brilliant.
After the third inning, no Senator reached second base.
June 22, 1948
Stock in the Indians and their pennant hopes rose a little this afternoon when newcomer Sam Zoldak pitched into the ninth inning and defeated the New York Yankees, 5-2.
The surprising crowd of 14,341 was impressed with the chubby southpaw’s first start for the Tribe.
Zoldak held the Yankees scoreless for six innings and appeared to tire a bit in the latter third of the game. He has not thrown a complete game yet this season.
The Rule 5 draft has been around in some form since 1903. The annual selection helped to spread the wealth around the league, preventing teams from stockpiling talent while allowing deserving players to get an opportunity to reach the Majors and avoid potential roadblocks in front of them on their home roster.
While historically, the most successful Rule 5 selections have been average players at best, a handful have turned into All-Stars and even a couple have become Hall of Famers.
The Cleveland Indians have not had many brag-worthy selections in their history, but one such pick became a big contributor to their pennant chase and, ultimately, their second World Series title in 1948, but not quite in the way the club might have envisioned.
June 16, 1948
Just hours before Tuesday night’s midnight trade deadline struck, the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Browns worked out a trade of left-handed starting pitchers.
The Indians acquired veteran Sam Zoldak in the deal in exchange for rookie Bill Kennedy and a “large amount of cash.” The Browns also will acquire a player to be named later that will be sent to St. Louis prior to the start of the 1949 season.
“It was a case of begging for him on our knees,” Indians President Bill Veeck said. “I think it’ll be worth it though. He should help a lot.”
April 20, 1948
The Cleveland Indians started the much-anticipated 1948 season with a decisive 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Browns this afternoon in front of 73,163 fans at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
Bob Feller, making his sixth opening day start, dazzled the crowd and held the Browns at bay, allowing only two hits and walking two while shutting out St. Louis. He received all the offensive help he would need from his battery mate Jim Hegan, who was 3 for 3 with three RBI, including a two-run home run.
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.”
It’s crowded at the top.
A big name star or personality may feel crowded by the people around them, but in the case of the Cleveland Indians they’re crowded by the top of the standings.
This afternoon the Indians lost 4-3 at the hands of the Detroit Tigers in front of 10,464 fans at Briggs Stadium. Bob Lemon was not at his best and wild with control early, while the Tribe offense could not muster a big inning despite three home runs. Freddie Hutchinson stifled the Tribe early and only allowed solo home runs through a cold, cutting wind.
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 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.
September 15, 1948
The Cleveland Indians welcome the Washington Senators into town for a key three-game series starting Thursday on the lakefront.
The Indians (84-55) will enter play three and a half games behind the front running Boston Red Sox and two full games behind the second place New York Yankees. The Philadelphia Athletics have fallen out of the playoff picture, eight full games behind Boston.
September 13, 1948
The Indians blew a 2-0 lead, allowing two runs in the eighth inning to tie the game and another in the ninth to lose a heart-breaking game 3-2 to the St. Louis Browns in a pennant race where every game matters.
Yet, it all seemed secondary or trivial after the bottom of the second inning.
Indians starting pitcher Don Black collapsed during his first at bat and was helped from the field by his teammates after suffering an apparent brain hemorrhage. Black was Cleveland’s spot starter in the replay of Sunday afternoon’s 3-3 tie that was called due to darkness. During his at bat Black fouled a ball off from Browns’ starting pitcher Bill Kennedy, then staggered back a step or two before collapsing.