October 11, 1948

SPIDERS 1899 3

 

October 11, 1948. It last happened 68 years ago this coming autumn. The listed date was the last time the Cleveland Indians won a World Series. They did it on the road, taking a 4-3 squeeze-by victory over the Boston Braves in a six game ultimate baseball triumph that would prove their last joyful baseball closing until some other Cleveland MLB team comes along and changes history.

1948 World Series, Game 6

October 11, 1948 at Braves Field in Boston, Massachusetts

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 4 10 0
Boston 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 9 0
WP: Bob Lemon (2–0)   LP: Bill Voiselle (0–1)
Home runs:
CLE: Joe Gordon (1)
BOS: None

When Cleveland did not get back to the World Series until 1954, prospects didn’t look too bad for the Indians – and certainly not doomed or jinxed. They had the best pitching staff in the majors in Early Wynn, Mike Garcia, Bob Lemon, Bob Feller, and Hal Newhouser – with only Garcia failing to later make it into the Hall of Fame. –  and some heavy-hitting wallbangers for an offense in Luke Easter, Al Rosen, Vic Wertz, and Larry Doby – and also some great table-setter hitters in Bobby Avila, Dale Mitchell, Dave Philley, Al Smith and Wally Westlake. Doby also was a future Hall off Famers. Rosen, among other things, was a future GM of the Houston Astros. They all had teamed together in 1954 to win the AL pennant with a runaway record of 111 wins against only 43 losses.

All that Cleveland greatness aside, which is where the 1954 Giants pushed them, the Tribe went out and got skunked, 4 games to none, by the scrappy New York Giants.  The Tribe’s only memorable long ball turned out to be that long blast into the deep center field belly of the Polo Grounds by Vic Wertz that simply served history as the set-up for Willie Mays’ historical play we shall remember forever as “The Catch.”

After 1954, it would be another 41 years before the Indians made it back to the World Series, but this time, they lost a six-game World Series to the now Atlanta Braves. Then they lost a seven-game series to the Florida Marlins in 1997. And they have not been back to The Show since 1997 – and that is now 19 years into the always distancing past.

Just to clear the entire Cleveland modern World Series history, the first of their modern era appearances happened in 1920 – when they defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers for their first of two World Series victories in five total tries.

In 2016, Cleveland  now breaks from the post-All Star Game break with a 52-26 record and 6.5 game lead in the American League Central. Could this be their year to harvest some of that LeBron James karmic NBA energy for use in the city’s baseball pursuit of happiness? Or are they cursed by the Ghost of the horrendous 1899 Cleveland Spiders – the team that finished most of their second half season on the road – just to protect them from the home fans who weren’t too thrilled with a Cleveland club that finished the season with only 20 wins against 134 losses and a winning percentage of only .130 – the worst in baseball history?

As a long-time fan of Indians baseball, via the old Mutual Game of the Day, and even more personally, as one who was humbly honored a few years ago to serve as Chairman of the Board of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame with one of the great 1948 World Champion Cleveland Indians, the great first baseman, Eddie Robinson, as an active member of our group, it is my hope to see the Tribe win another crown this year. If the Astros can’t get there in 2016, I will be pulling for the Boys from Cleveland.

____________________

eagle-0range
Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

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3 Responses to “October 11, 1948”

  1. MIKE MULVIHILL Says:

    HI FELLOW STHS CLASSMATE,
    ALWAYS REMEMBER WHEN INDIANS CAME TO BUFF STADIUM FOR EXHIBITION GAMES EVERY SPRING. COINCIDENTLY THERE WERE A LOT OF STHS STUDENTS WHO WERE SICK SOME OF THOSE DAYS WITH THE FLU,ETC. MY MOM USED TO CALL THE SCHOOL AND FIB AN EXCUSE BUT ONLY IF MY GRADES WERE GOOD.
    ALWAYS WILL REMEMBER LEMON, DOBY, FELLER, EASTER, ROSEN,ETC.
    DON’T REALLY THINK WE FOOLED THE SCHOOL. THEY KNEW WHERE WE WERE.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      No, Mike, we didn’t fool the school, but St. Thomas High understood about our love of baseball more than most places. You just listed the big reason why the Indians were one of my favorite MLB teams back then. It seems like we got to see them play the Giants at Buff Stadium most every spring on their trek back east to start the new season during the 1950s.

  2. Wayne Chandler Says:

    The 1948 Indians were fun to root for… Bill Veeck’s team…… Boudreau, Ken Keltner and Satchel Paige.
    My regret with the 1954 Indians was that Bob Feller didn’t get a chance to start in that four-game series..

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