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.
September 14, 1948
For even the biggest believers in the Cleveland Indians, the pennant hopes for 1948 are starting to flicker a little less brightly.
This afternoon the Indians lost their final matchup of the season with the New York Yankees, losing 6-5 in front of 34,064 fans at Cleveland Stadium. Bob Lemon suffered his third loss of the season against the Bronx Bombers when he couldn’t survive a four-run rally by New York in the seventh inning. Eddie Lopat, the Tribe’s nemesis for years, logged his fifth win of the season against Cleveland.
The loss for Cleveland drops them four games back of league leading Boston and two back of the Yankees, who seem cozy in second place. With only 15 games remaining, overcoming a four-game deficit and chasing down two teams seems to be a more daunting task with each passing day.
September 12, 1948
The Cleveland Indians appear to be getting hot at the right time, now we’ll just have to see if enough time remains for the Tribe to chase down first place.
This afternoon the Indians did what a pennant contender should do, putting away the lowly St. Louis Browns early by plating five runs in the first four innings. They used the early lead to hold off a late rally from the Brownies to win 6-4 in front of 55,616 believers at Municipal Stadium. It was the Indians’ seventh straight triumph.
September 9, 1948
Sam Zoldak (9-9, 3.64) could probably get used to this, as the Indians left-hander vultured his second extra inning win in as many days when the Indians used 13 frames to beat the Detroit Tigers by a score of 3-2.
The game promised to be a good pitcher’s duel and turned out to be just that, as Bob Feller and Hal Newhouser locked horns in a battle of All-Stars. Indians reliever Satchel Paige was unable to hold a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning, but Zoldak shut the Tigers offense down out of the bullpen for the second straight game until Eddie Robinson got the game-winning single in the 13th. The Robinson knock scored third baseman Ken Keltner, who was honored this evening at the Stadium for spending ten years with the Indians organization.
September 4, 1948
In a season that appears will go down to the final games or innings, the Indians may have several unfortunate moments to point back to if the pennant does not go their way.
Another one of those moments may have taken place in the fifth inning on Saturday afternoon when the St. Louis Browns erupted for three runs against Tribe starter Satchel Paige. It was the only inning the lowly Browns scored in regulation, but that outburst and a well-pitched game by Ned Garver, was enough to push the game to extras where the Browns won 4-3 in ten innings in front of 17,092.
August 30, 1948
Lots of early run support gave Indians Satchel Paige plenty of room to pitch, as Cleveland walloped Washington, 10-1, on Monday evening to earn a series win.
Paige (6-1), making his fifth start of the season for the Indians, was solid. He went the distance, keeping the ball out of a battered Cleveland bullpen for at least a day. He issued one walk with seven hits and allowed just one Senators player to cross home plate successfully. Washington logged just three of those hits prior to the eighth inning. He struck out five batters and lowered his season ERA to 1.66.
August 29, 1948
While in the thick of the pennant race in the American League over the last few weeks, the Cleveland Indians have begun to make it a frustrating habit to be charitable to some of the league’s worst teams.
In six recent games against the lowly White Sox and Senators, the Indians went 2-4.
What may be even more discouraging are the wins lost against the top teams in the American League because the relief corps is failing to provide any relief. Instead of gaining ground in the standings and saving close wins, the team has been repeatedly dealt devastating losses in potentially winnable ball games.
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 to the Yankees 7-2 in the second game of the twin bill.
August 24, 1948
In a best-of-three battle for the right to first place entering the last month of the season, the two teams looked as evenly as matched as possible as the top two contenders in a heavyweight battle. However, the Boston Red Sox struck the final hit with a one-out, two-run homer by Vern Stephens in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Boston a 9-8 walkoff win over the Indians.
The final blast was the result of two floundering bullpens in the final two innings. More importantly, when part of the 34,172 fans in attendance stormed onto the field tonight to celebrate and carry Stephens off the field, they carried the rights to first place too. The blast was Stephens’ 27th home run of the season and league leading 115th RBI. Stephens’ biggest hit of the season came off the only pitch Russ Christopher threw.
August 24, 1948
Satchel Paige earned his nickname as a baggage handler at a train station growing up in Mobile, Alabama, and since then, he’s become one of baseball’s best-traveled men.
Paige, Bill Veeck’s newest pitcher, is a Negro League and barnstorming legend, and in his new book, “Pitchin’ Man,” he tells Cleveland News scribe Hal Lebovitz about it all.
August 23, 1948
After losing three straight to the cellar-dwellar Chicago White Sox at home this weekend, the Cleveland Indians embark on their final major road trip of the season tomorrow night at Fenway Park.
Cleveland will venture to Detroit for a three-game series in late September, but otherwise the Indians take to the train for the last trip of the season today. While it is the last road trip of the season, it is also the most brutal and critical for the Indians and their pennant hopes. The Tribe will play 17 games in six cities before returning home on September 8.