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.
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.
September 11, 1948
In just his first full season as a starting pitcher, Bob Lemon has asserted himself as the ace of the Indians staff several times, but this afternoon may have been the culmination of his work to transform from a utility player to a star pitcher.
Lemon won his 20th game of the season after a rocky start with his control in the game. The Indians plated three early runs and had a six-run outburst to give the Tribe a 9-1 victory and sweep of Saturday’s doubleheader with the St. Louis Browns. It is the Indians’ sixth straight victory. Cleveland battered southpaw Al Gerheauser of St. Louis in his first big league appearance since June. The lefty was just recalled from Toledo yesterday.
September 8, 1948
One streak was extended and another one snapped, but most importantly the Indians were able to keep pace in the American League pennant chase as they defeated the Detroit Tigers 8-7 in eleven innings. The game was not without dramatics at the end.
With one out, the bases loaded and the score tied 7-7 in the eleventh inning, first baseman Wally Judnich sent a grounder toward Tiger second baseman Neil Berry, who fired home to try and cut down runner Larry Doby. The throw was low and pulled catcher Hal Wagner off the dish, allowing Doby to score the winning run. Wagner and Detroit skipper Steve O’Neill argued that the catcher gathered himself and touched home before Doby, but the argument fell on deaf ears as home plate umpire Eddie Hurley stood by his decision.
August 31, 1948
If Lou Boudreau can play this way when he’s hurting, the Cleveland Indians should be quite excited for when he’s healthy again. Boudreau had three hits, two RBI and gave rookie southpaw Gene Bearden all of the offense that he needed in a 6-1 Indians victory over the Philadelphia Athletics.
Bearden (13-6, 2.74) has been an unexpected, pleasant surprise for the Indians this season and continued his outstanding year on Tuesday. Bearden worked eight innings giving up just one unearned run on five hits. The young lefty walked five and struck out three in the victory.
August 12, 1948
The Indians not only battled the St. Louis Browns in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader, they battled history as well. The Tribe came up one run and one hit short of tying history, but manhandled the Browns by an amazing score of 26-3.
The Tribe came up one run short of tying their own American League record of 27 set in 1923 against Boston. That same season, Babe Ruth and his World Champion New York Yankees set the AL mark for hits in a game with 30. The Major League record for both runs and hits belong to National League teams, as the St. Louis Cardinals scored 28 times against Philadelphia in 1929 and the New York Giants rapped 31 hits in 1901.
July 9, 1948
It likely will not be until after the All-Star break, but whenever Larry Doby is healthy enough to take the field, he’ll be the Tribe’s starting center fielder.
Doby played most of the last home stand in the center of the outfield, making several running catches and defensive gems. He’s hitting .286 for the season and upped his batting average more than 20 points while the Indians were home last time. He was having his best stretch of the season and as a big leaguer before twisting his ankle rounding second base on June 27.
July 7, 1948
After a tumultuous first inning that quickly had the boo-birds out among the crowd of 31,394, Bob Feller was able to settle down and defeat the Chicago White Sox 10-2 at Cleveland Stadium this evening.
With the crowd already a buzz about the signing of Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige, Feller’s struggles almost sprung him into action in the first inning. Indians manager Lou Boudreau already had signaled to the bullpen for Paige to begin warming, but Feller was able to limit damage at just two runs, and the Tribe had a big first inning of their own and pounded out 14 hits for the game as they cruised to an easy victory.
July 5, 1948
It had all the makings of a good day. The Tribe already had taken the first game of the doubleheader and led the second game 4-3 in the eighth inning. The fans had been positive, cheering most of the afternoon and it looked like the Indians were about to build upon their first place lead.
Things change quickly.
June 21, 1948
After an exciting afternoon yesterday where 82,871 saw the Indians sweep the Philadelphia Athletics, the city was riding high. Some of that air might have been taken out of the sail this evening for the meager 49,837 who showed up when the New York Yankees arrived to town and throttled the Tribe, 13-2.
Cleveland fell behind early and could not recover, as the Yankees pounded out 18 hits in their rout. The loss by the Tribe pulls the streaking Yankees back to within two and one-half games of the top of the standings. New York, winners of four in a row, was six games back just eight days ago.
June 18, 1948
After starting 27 of his first 29 games played this season, Cleveland outfielder Larry Doby has suddenly disappeared.
The 24-year-old Doby had started the season for manager Lou Boudreau’s Indians after winning the job out of spring training. After making five errors early in May while still adjusting to his new position, the former second baseman had just one more error in the next 20 games.
Coincidentally, Doby’s playing time has disappeared after the acquisition of outfielder Bob Kennedy from the Chicago White Sox in a trade two weeks ago. He had appeared in just one inning defensively since, concluding the Indians’ 5-0 win over the Washington Senators on June 4, until he started in center field against Boston on Thursday.
June 12, 1948
As the sun began to set in the Bronx on Saturday evening, Yankee Stadium sat silent. For the World Series champions, the Yankees might have seen their chances of repeating fall behind the horizon today as the upstart Indians silenced them.
Cleveland won a close, back-and-forth game in the first contest, but the Indians blew the Yankees out during the second game, winning 9-4. The Tribe plated all nine runs before the Yankees were able to score. It wasn’t until late that the Bombers were able to score against the Indians bullpen.
The Tribe now leads the third-place Yankees by six games and the Philadelphia Athletics by three and one-half games in the American League.