1948 Cleveland Indians season

The 1948 Cleveland Indians season was the 48th in franchise history. When the regular season resulted in a first place tie, the Indians won a one-game playoff against the Boston Red Sox to advance to the World Series. Cleveland won the championship by defeating the Boston Braves 4 games to 2 for their first World Series win in 28 years. The Sporting News ranked the 1948 Indians the 9th-best team ever.[1]

1948 Cleveland Indians
American League Champion
World Series Champion
Major League affiliations
Other information
Owner(s)Bill Veeck
General manager(s)Bill Veeck
Manager(s)Lou Boudreau
Local televisionWEWS-TV
(Van Patrick)
Local radioWJW
(Jack Graney, Jimmy Dudley)
< Previous season     Next season >

It was reported years later that teammates Bob Feller and Bob Lemon devised a plan in August to help relay signs to Indian batters that involved a telescope mounted on a tripod (which Feller brought from the war) that was hidden on the scoreboard of Municipal Stadium.[2]

As of 2023, this is the Cleveland Indians' (now Cleveland Guardians) most recent World Series championship. With the Chicago Cubs' 2016 World Series championship, which ironically was over Cleveland, being their first since 1908, the Indians now own the longest active world championship drought in Major League Baseball and the second-longest of any of the big four American sports leagues. Only the National Football League's Arizona Cardinals franchise owns a longer active world championship drought of the big four American sports leagues, having not won a world championship since 1947.

This memorable season was the first to be broadcast on television in the Cleveland area on WEWS-TV.


In the 1947–48 off-season, owner Bill Veeck signed recent St. Louis Browns manager Muddy Ruel as a coach to join player-manager Lou Boudreau and coach Bill McKechnie, the latter who was also a long-time manager.[3]

Player transactions:

  • November 17, 1947: Pete Milne was drafted from the Indians by the New York Giants in the 1947 minor league draft.[4]
  • December 9, 1947: Catfish Metkovich and $50,000 were traded by the Indians to the St. Louis Browns for Johnny Berardino.[5]
  • January 27, 1948: Ralph Weigel was traded by the Indians to the Chicago White Sox for Thurman Tucker.[6]
  • Prior to 1948 season (exact date unknown)
    • Lee Wheat was signed as an amateur free agent by the Indians.[7]
    • Bill Upton was signed as an amateur free agent by the Indians.[8]

Regular season

Boudreau became the first shortstop in the history of the American League to win the MVP Award.[9]

Season standings

American League W L Pct. GB Home Road
Cleveland Indians 9758 0.626 48–30 49–28
Boston Red Sox 9659 0.619 1 55–23 41–36
New York Yankees 9460 0.610 50–27 44–33
Philadelphia Athletics 8470 0.545 12½ 36–41 48–29
Detroit Tigers 7876 0.506 18½ 39–38 39–38
St. Louis Browns 5994 0.386 37 34–42 25–52
Washington Senators 5697 0.366 40 29–48 27–49
Chicago White Sox 51101 0.336 44½ 27–48 24–53

Record vs. opponents

Boston 14–811–1215–714–812–1015–715–7
Chicago 8–146–168–146–166–168–13–19–12–1
Cleveland 12–1116–613–910–1216–614–8–116–6
Detroit 7–1514–89–139–1312–1011–1116–6
New York 8–1416–612–1013–912–1016–617–5
Philadelphia 10–1216–66–1610–1210–1218–414–8
St. Louis 7–1513–8–18–14–111–116–164–1810–12
Washington 7–1512–9–16–166–165–178–1412–10

Notable transactions

  • April 20, 1948: Catfish Metkovich was returned to the Indians by the St. Louis Browns. The Indians sent $15,000 to the St. Louis Browns as compensation.(Date given is approximate. Exact date is uncertain.)[5]
  • May 6, 1948: Catfish Metkovich, Les Webber and cash were traded by the Indians to the Oakland Oaks for Will Hafey (minors).[5]
  • June 15, 1948: Bill Kennedy and $100,000 were traded by the Indians to the St. Louis Browns for Sam Zoldak.[10]
  • July 7, 1948: Satchel Paige was signed as a free agent by the Indians.[11]

Satchel Paige

The Indians made baseball history on July 9. In a game against the St. Louis Browns, with the Browns leading the Indians, 4–1, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Boudreau pulled his starting pitcher, Bob Lemon and brought Negro leagues legend Satchel Paige into the game.

The first batter Paige faced was Browns first baseman Chuck Stevens. Paige did not yet know the signs, and Stevens lined a single into left field. Jerry Priddy bunted Stevens over to second. Next was Whitey Platt, and Paige threw an overhand server for a strike and one sidearm for another strike. Paige then threw his "Hesitation Pitch", which puzzled Platt and led him to throw his bat forty feet up the third base line. Browns manager Zack Taylor bolted from the dugout to talk to umpire Bill McGowan about the pitch. Taylor argued that it was a balk, but McGowan let it stand as a strike. Paige got Al Zarilla to fly out and the inning was over. In the next inning, Paige gave up a leadoff single to Dick Kokos. His catcher simplified his signals, and Paige got Roy Partee to hit into a double play. Larry Doby, the player who broke the American League's color barrier, pinch hit for Paige the following inning.

Paige got his first big league victory on July 15. This was accomplished the night after he pitched in an exhibition game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in front of 65,000 people in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. The victory came against the Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park. The Indians were up 5–3 with the bases loaded in the sixth inning of the second game of a double header. Paige got Eddie Joost to fly out to end the inning. Unfortunately, he gave up two runs the next inning when Ferris Fain doubled and Hank Majeski hit a home run. Paige buckled down and gave up only one more hit the rest of the game, getting five of the next six outs on fly balls. Doby and Ken Keltner would hit home runs in the ninth to give the Indians an 8–5 victory.

On August 3, the Indians were one game behind the Athletics. Boudreau started Paige against the Washington Senators in Cleveland. The 72,562 people that saw the game set a new attendance record for a major league night game. Paige showed his nervousness as he walked two of the first three batters and then gave up a triple to Bud Stewart to fall behind 2–0. By the seventh, the Indians were up 4–2 and held on to give Paige his second victory.

Paige's next start was against the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park. 51,013 people paid to see the game, but many thousands more stormed the turnstiles and crashed into the park, overwhelming the few dozen ticket-takers. Paige pitched a complete game shutout, beating the White Sox 5–0.

By August 20, the Indians were in a heated pennant race. Coming into the game against the White Sox, Bob Lemon, Gene Bearden and Sam Zoldak had thrown consecutive shutouts to run up a thirty-inning scoreless streak, eleven shy of the big league record. For this game, played in Cleveland, 78,382 people came to see Paige. This was a full 6,000 more people than the last time that the night attendance record was set. Paige went the distance again, giving up two singles and one double for his second consecutive three-hit shutout. Paige now had a 5–1 record and a low 1.33 ERA.

American League Playoff

At the end of the season, Cleveland and the Boston Red Sox were tied for first place. This led to the first-ever one-game playoff in the American League. The Indians defeated the Red Sox 8–3 in the 1948 playoff game. Knuckleballer Gene Bearden was given the start for the Indians.[12] Red Sox manager Joe McCarthy picked pitcher Denny Galehouse, who had an 8–7 pitching record.[13]

Ken Keltner contributed to the victory with his single, double, and 3-run homer over the Green Monster in Fenway Park in the 4th inning.[12] The Indians moved on to the 1948 World Series against the Boston Braves. Later, McCarthy said he had no rested arms and that there was no else who could pitch.[13] Mel Parnell and Ellis Kinder claimed that they were both ready to pitch.[13]

Opening Day Lineup

Opening Day Starters
38Thurman TuckerCF
14Larry DobyRF
5Lou BoudreauSS
4Joe Gordon2B
3Eddie Robinson1B
31Allie ClarkLF
6Ken Keltner3B
10Jim HeganC
19Bob FellerP



1948 Cleveland Indians
Pitchers Catchers



Other batters

  • 15 Ray Murray


Player stats

= Indicates team leader

Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
CJim Hegan144472117.2481461
1BEddie Robinson134493125.2541683
2BJoe Gordon144550154.28032124
3BKen Keltner153558166.29731119
SSLou Boudreau152560199.35518106
OFDale Mitchell141608204.336456
OFLarry Doby121439132.3011466
OFThurman Tucker8324263.260119

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Allie Clark 81 271 84 .310 9 38
Wally Judnich 79 218 56 .257 2 29
Hank Edwards 55 160 43 .269 3 18
Johnny Berardino6614728.190210
Joe Tipton 47 90 26 .289 1 13
Bob Kennedy 66 73 22 .301 0 5
Hal Peck 45 63 18 .286 0 8
Pat Seerey 10 23 6 .261 1 6
Ray Boone 6 5 2 .400 0 1
Al Rosen 5 5 1 .200 0 0
Ray Murray 4 4 0 .000 0 0

Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Bob Lemon43293.220142.82147
Bob Feller44280.119153.56164
Gene Bearden37229.22072.4380
Sam Zoldak 23 105.2 9 6 2.81 17
Don Black 18 52.0 2 2 5.37 16

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Bob Muncrief2172.1543.9824
Bill Kennedy611.11011.1212
Lyman Linde310.0005.400
Al Gettel57.20117.614
Mike Garcia 1 2.0 0 0 0.00 1
Butch Wensloff 1 1.2 0 1 10.80 2
Ernest Groth 1 1.0 0 0 9.00 0
Les Webber 1 0.2 0 0 40.50 1

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Russ Christopher4532172.9014
Ed Klieman443242.6018
Steve Gromek 38 9 3 2 2.84 50
Satchel Paige 21 6 1 1 2.48 43

1948 World Series

On October 9, 1948, a new World Series single game attendance record was set during Game 4. 81,897 fans packed Cleveland Stadium but one day later, that record was broken during Game 5. 86,288 fans attended the game.

Satchel Paige appeared in Game 5 for the Indians, becoming the first black pitcher to pitch a game in World Series history. He pitched for two-thirds of an inning in Game Two while the Indians were trailing the Boston Braves, giving up a sacrifice fly to Warren Spahn, got called for a balk and struck out Tommy Holmes.

AL Cleveland Indians (4) vs. NL Boston Braves (2)

1Boston 1, Cleveland 0October 640,135
2Cleveland 4, Boston 1October 739,633
3Cleveland 2, Boston 0October 870,306
4Cleveland 2, Boston 1October 981,897
5Boston 11, Cleveland 5October 1086,288
6Cleveland 4, Boston 3October 1140,103

Game 1

October 6, 1948, at Braves Field in Boston, Massachusetts

WP: Johnny Sain (1–0)   LP: Bob Feller (0–1)

Game 2

October 7, 1948, at Braves Field in Boston, Massachusetts

WP: Bob Lemon (1–0)   LP: Warren Spahn (0–1)

Game 3

October 8 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio

WP: Gene Bearden (1–0)   LP: Vern Bickford (0–1)

Game 4

October 9, 1948, at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio

WP: Steve Gromek (1–0)   LP: Johnny Sain (1–1)
Home runs:
BOS: Marv Rickert (1)
CLE: Larry Doby (1)

Game 5

October 10, 1948, at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio

WP: Warren Spahn (1–1)   LP: Bob Feller (0–2)
Home runs:
BOS: Bob Elliott 2 (2), Bill Salkeld (1)
CLE: Dale Mitchell (1), Jim Hegan (1)

Game 6

October 11, 1948, at Braves Field in Boston, Massachusetts

WP: Bob Lemon (2–0)   LP: Bill Voiselle (0–1)
Home runs:
CLE: Joe Gordon (1)
BOS: None

Awards and honors

All-Star Game

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Baltimore Orioles International League Alphonse "Tommy" Thomas
AA Oklahoma City Indians Texas League Pat Ankenman
A Dayton Indians Central League Joe Vosmik
A Wilkes-Barre Barons Eastern League Bill Norman
B Harrisburg Senators Interstate League Les Bell
B Meridian Peps Southeastern League Ben Geraghty and Jack Maupin
B Spartanburg Peaches Tri-State League Kerby Farrell
C Tucson Cowboys Arizona–Texas League Lloyd Brown
C Bakersfield Indians California League Harry Griswold
C Pittsfield Electrics Canadian–American League Gene Hasson
C Burlington Indians Central Association Paul O'Dea, Ski Melillo and Bruno Haas
D Cordele Indians Georgia–Florida League Hal Lee
D Mattoon Indians Illinois State League Chuck Hawley
D Union City Greyhounds KITTY League Tony Rensa
D Bloomingdale Troopers North Atlantic League Jim Jefferies and Stephen Kuk
D Batavia Clippers PONY League George Susce
D Ardmore Indians Sooner State League Don Smith and James Cooke
D Green Bay Blue Jays Wisconsin State League Roxie Lawson, Walt Laskowski and Joe Dotlich

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Dayton, Union City[20]


  1. "Cleveland Indians' 1948 World Series champions ranked 9th-best team ever by Sporting News". The Plain Dealer. Cleveland.com. July 2, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
  2. "How MLB Handled Sign Stealing Before Punishing Astros | Sports Illustrated".
  3. Baseball Digest, 1948, "Indians Collect a Brain Trust" by Lyall Smith of the Detroit Free Press.
  4. Pete Milne at Baseball-Reference
  5. Catfish Metkovich at Baseball-Reference
  6. Thurman Tucker at Baseball-Reference
  7. Lee Wheat at Baseball-Reference
  8. Bill Upton at Baseball-Reference
  9. Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures, 2008 Edition, p.152, David Nemec and Scott Flatow, A Signet Book, Penguin Group, New York, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0
  10. Sam Zoldak at Baseball-Reference
  11. "Satchel Paige Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  12. "Bearden, Boudreau, Keltner Share Honors as Indians Win". The Milwaukee Journal. October 5, 1948. p. 8. Archived from the original on May 4, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  13. Cole, Milton; Kaplan, Jim (2009). The Boston Red Sox: An Illustrated History. North Dighton, Massachusetts: World Publications Group. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-57215-412-4.
  14. 1948 Opening Day Lineup at Baseball-Reference
  15. "1948 Awards Voting | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  16. Associated Press Athlete of the Year (male)
  17. "1948 Major League Baseball Standard Pitching | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  18. "1948 Major League Baseball Standard Fielding | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  19. "1948 Major League Baseball Standard Batting | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  20. Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3rd edition. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 2007


This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.