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On The Date in Sports October 11, 1948: The Indians win the World Series

The Cleveland Indians won their second World Series, beating the Boston Braves 4-3 at Braves Field to win the series in six games. The Tribe got two wins from Bob Lemon, while Bob Feller lost both starts. Satchel Paige made history, becoming the first African American to pitch in a World Series. The Indians have not won a World Series in the 75 years since.

The Cleveland Indians, led by Player-Manager Lou Boudreau, had to play an extra game to win the American League Pennant, beating the Boston Red Sox in a one-game playoff 8-3 to go to the World Series with a record of 97-58. For the Tribe, it was their first appearance in the World Series since 1920, when they defeated the Brooklyn Robins. The Boston Braves, managed by Billy Southworth, finished 91-62, winning their first pennant since 1914 when they shocked the world and upset the Philadelphia Athletics.

Two days after beating the Red Sox in Fenway for the American League Pennant, the Indians moved across town to face the Braves in the World Series and Braves Field. In Game 1, the Tribe had future Hall of Famer Bob Feller on the mound while Johnny Sain got the start for Boston. It was a pitchers’ duel for the ages, as Sain allowed just four hits, while Feller allowed just a single to Marv Rickert in the fifth before the start of the eighth. In that inning, Bill Salkeld led off with a walk. Mike McCormick sacrificed pinch runner Phil Masi into scoring position as Eddie Stanky intentionally walked. After Sain lined out, Tommy Holmes with an RBI single gave the Braves the only run of the game, handing a hard-luck 1-0 loss to Feller and the Indians. Before the game-winning hit, Feller appeared to have picked Masi off at second but was called safe by Umpire Bill Stewart. A day later, a press picture showed clearly that the call was wrong.

In Game 2, the Tribe had Bob Lemon going up against Warren Spahn as Boston looked to take a 2-0 advantage. The Braves got an unearned run in the first on an RBI single by Bob Elliott with two outs. Cleveland meanwhile scored their first runs of the series in the fourth as they got RBI singles by Joe Gordon and Larry Doby. In the fifth, Lou Boudreau made it 3-1, sending Spahn to the showers with an RBI single. Lemon, meanwhile, went the distance and earned the win as the Tribe won 4-1, with Bob Kennedy adding an RBI single in the ninth.

All season long, the saying for the Braves had been Spahn and Sain, then Pray for Rain. The rains did not come at Municipal Stadium, meaning Vern Bickford was forced to make the start, while playoff winner Gene Bearden got the start for the Indians. Bickford was not awful, but he allowed Cleveland to scratch out two runs while Bearden was on the money, allowing just five hits as the Indians took control with a 2-0 win in Game 3.

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The Braves went back to Johnny Sain in Game 4 on two days’ rest, while Steve Gromek got the start for Cleveland. In the first, the Tribe got on the board with an RBI double by Boudreau, while Larry Doby hit the first home run of the series in the third. Sain would shut the Braves down the rest of the way, while Marv Rickert’s seventh-inning home run was all the Braves could muster as the Indians won 2-1 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Bob Feller got the start as the Indians looked to close the series out at home in Game 5. However, the Braves got to him immediately, as Bob Elliott launched a three-run shot in the top of the first. Dale Mitchell, meanwhile, led off the bottom of the first with a home run to get the Cleveland partisans back in the game. In the third, Elliott struck again, making it 4-1 in favor of the Braves. In the fourth, Cleveland flipped the game in their favor, chasing out starter Nels Porter as a Wally Judnich single and a three-run home run by Jim Hegan gave them a 5-4. However, Feller did not have his best stuff and again yielded the tying run when Bill Salkeld went deep in the sixth. In the seventh, the Braves regained control of the game, scoring six runs on five hits against Feller and three relievers. This included Stachel Paige, who became the first African-American pitcher in World Series history. Paige pitched two-thirds of an inning to mop up as the Braves kept their hopes alive with an 11-7 win. Warren Spahn came on in relief to get the win.

Bob Lemon was on the mound for Cleveland as the series returned to Boston for Game 6, while Bill Voiselle started for the Braves. The Indians drew first blood with an RBI double in the third. Mike McCormick evened the score with a base hit in the fourth. Cleveland regained the lead on a home run by Joe Gordon in the sixth, while Jim Hegan pushed across a second run to make it 3-1. In the eighth, the Tribe added another run on an RBI single by Eddie Robinson. The Braves had one last gasp in the bottom for the inning, scoring a pair of runs as Phil Masi’s RBI double made it 4-3 with the tying and go-ahead runs on base. Gene Bearden, in relief, ended the rally when he got McCormick to bounce back to the box. Bearden walked Eddie Stankey to start the ninth but got a double play from Sibby Sisti. One batter later, the game and the series ended with Tommy Holmes flying out, preserving a 4-3 win to clinch the World Championship. It would be the final time a player-manager won the World Series.

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It was the Indians' second World Series title and, to date, the last as they have not won another in the last 40 years, losing the Fall Classic in a Sweep to the New York Giants in 1954. In 1995, after a four-decade drought, the Indians returned to the World Series, losing to the Atlanta Braves in six games. The Indians would then lose Game 7 heartbreakers in 1997 to the Florida Marlins and 2016 to the Chicago Cubs.