THE BEST SEASON IN BOSTON'S BASEBALL HISTORY

VERN STEPHENS & LOU BOUDREAU

BOSTON RED SOX ...
THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO, PART 3
A
SUBWAY SERIES DISAPPEARS ...
The
Indians win the playoff and
the American League pennant

October 4, 1948 ... Gene Bearden gave Cleveland its first American League Championship since 1920, as he whipped the Red Sox, 8 to 3, in the league's first pennant playoff game. Manager Lou Boudreau, who had enough confidence in Bearden, to use him over Bob Feller or Bob Lemon, did more than any other individual to win the game for him. Boudreau culminated a great season when he clouted two home runs and had two singles in four times at the plate. Ken Keltner continued his vicious Fenway Park slugging and connected for what proved to be the game-winning home run with two aboard in the fourth inning.

The Red Sox hitters were practically helpless before the knuckle ball wizardry of Bearden, who struck out five and granted only five hits. He threw only one fastball all day and Bobby Doerr took it into the left-field screen in the sixth inning for his 27th home run of the year. Ted Williams was aboard at the time, reaching when Joe Gordon dropped his pop fly.

Bearden granted only one hit over the remaining 3 1/3 innings, a single by Ted in the eighth-inning, his only hit. The Indians left-hander got stronger as the game progressed. It was his 20th win and one of the few times a rival southpaw as pitched a complete game at Fenway Park. The choice of using him was questionable before the game. He had pitched nine innings two days ago when he set down the Tigers 8 to 0. He threw 135 pitches today.

Manager Joe McCarthy had not decided who to pitch, and his decision became a defining moment in his managerial career in Boston. McCarthy decided to pitch Denny Galehouse. He decided against pitching Parnell, because he was a left-hander and the Cleveland lineup was loaded with right-handed power hitters. Galehouse, McCarthy rationalized, had more than 100 career wins and was more experienced.

The first pitch was thrown at 1:30 PM and within minutes the Red Sox were in trouble. In the midst of an MVP season, Lou Boudreau, on a two ball and one strike count, belted his 17th home run on a rising line into the left-field net. It was the 24th home run hit by the Indians against the Red Sox this year.

However the Red Sox bounced right back to knot up the score in the bottom of the first. Johnny Pesky started it with a double to right-center and after moving to third on a tricky grounder from Williams, scored on Vern Stephens' line single to left.

Galehouse wasn't sharp and was already tired. In the fourth he gave a leadoff single to Boudreau. Joe Gordon likewise took advantage of Galehouse and plunked a three and one pitch, for a base hit, between third and short. Boudreau held second and up came Ken Keltner, who loves to bat in Fenway Park. He walked into one of Galehouse's pitches and pasted the ball into the left-field netting for his 31st round tripper and his eighth against the Sox.

Galehouse was all done, but the Indians were not. Manager McCarthy brought in Ellis Kinder and Larry Doby banged his first pitch off the left centerfield wall for two bases. He was sacrificed to third by Bob Kennedy and scored the Indians fifth run on Jim Hegan's high hopper behind the mound. In the fifth inning, Boudreau came up again with two down and none aboard, and deposited the baseball over the left-field wall for his second home run of the game.

The Sox started a comeback in the sixth inning. With one out, Joe Gordon unwittingly dropped a fly ball, that he lost in the sun, off the bat of Ted in short right field . Doerr followed with a homer and the fans started to cheer and get excited. The Sox and cut the lead down to 6 to 3. It didn't bother Bearden however, when he struck out Vern Stephens to end the threat.

The Boudreau clan picked up a couple of the insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Doby hit another double to lead off the eighth and was sent along to third on a sacrifice. Jim Hegan was intentionally walked to set up the double-play. Then Larry Doby attempted a suicide squeeze with Bearden at the plate. The cagey Birdie Tebbetts, sensing what was coming on, called for a pitch out and trapped Doby between third and home, running him down for the out. On the play Hegan moved to second and he scored when Ted dropped Bearden's fly, after a run to left-center, for an error.

Singles by Eddie Robinson and Boudreau, a walk to Gordon and Keltner's double-play ball that scored Robinson, accounted for the last run of the game in the ninth-inning.

Larry Doby and Jim Hegan had been terrific against the Red Sox this year. Doby hit .413 at Fenway Park and .390 at Cleveland for an overall batting average of .405 against Red Sox pitchers. Boudreau hit an even .400, batting .447 at Fenway. Keltner hit .429 at Fenway Park and .351 against the Red Sox in Cleveland, with eight home runs, four here and four there.



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F   E   N   W   A   Y     P   A   R   K

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

CLEVELAND INDIANS

1

0

0

4

1

0

0

1

1

 

 

8

13

1

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

1

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

 

 

3

5

1

 

 

 W-Gene Bearden (20-7)
L-Denny Galehouse (8-8)
Attendance - 33,957

 2B-Doby (2)(Clev), Keltner (Clev), Pesky (Bost)

 HR-Boudreau (2)(Clev), Keltner (Clev), Doerr (Bost)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Dom DiMaggio cf 4 0 0 .285  

 

Johnny Pesky 3b 4 1 1 .281  

 

Ted Williams lf 4 1 1 .369  

 

Vern Stephens ss 4 0 1 .269  

 

Bobby Doerr 2b 4 1 1 .285  

 

Stan Spence rf 1 0 0 .235  

 

Billy Hitchcock ph 0 0 0 .298  

 

Tom Wright pr 0 0 0 .500  

 

Billy Goodman 1b 3 0 0 .310  

 

Birdie Tebbetts c 4 0 1 .280  

 

Denny Galehouse p 0 0 0 .167  

 

Ellis Kinder p 2 0 0 .097  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  

 

Denny Galehouse 3 5 4 1 1  

 

Ellis Kinder 6 8 3 3 2  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1948 AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

Cleveland Indians 97 58 -

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 96 59 1

 

 

New York Yankees 94 60 2 1/2

 

 

Philadelphia Athletics 84 70 12 1/2

 

 

Detroit Tigers 78 76 18 1/2

 

 

St. Louis Browns 59 94 37

 

 

Washington Senators 56 97 40

 

 

Chicago White Sox 51 101 44 1/2