|World Series (4-2): Cleveland Indians over Boston Braves|
The Boston Braves overcame a phenomenal performance by Stan Musial to capture their first National League pennant in 34 years in 1948, finishing the campaign 6 ½ games in front of the second-place Cardinals, with a record of 91-62. Musial had the greatest season of his Hall of Fame career, leading the league in virtually every major offensive category. Stan the Man topped the circuit with a .376 batting average, 131 runs batted in, 135 runs scored, 230 hits, 18 triples, 46 doubles, 429 total bases, a .450 on-base percentage, and a .702 slugging percentage, en route to earning N.L. MVP honors. With a career-high 39 home runs, Musial came within one homer of capturing the Triple Crown (Ralph Kiner and Johnny Mize tied for the league lead with 40 long balls).
Unfortunately for Musial, the lack of support he received from everyone else in the St. Louis lineup, with the exception of Enos Slaughter, kept him out of the World Series for the second straight year, after he appeared in the Fall Classic in four of his first five seasons. Instead, the Braves represented the senior circuit in the Fall Classic, even though they finished just fourth in the league in runs scored.
Bob Elliott, Tommy Holmes, and Rookie of the Year Alvin Dark led the Braves on offense. Elliott, the reigning N.L. MVP, hit 23 home runs, knocked in 100 runs, scored 99 others, batted .283, and topped the circuit with 131 bases on balls. Holmes scored 85 runs and placed among the league leaders with a .325 batting average. Dark also scored 85 runs, and he finished near the top of the league rankings with 39 doubles and a .322 batting average.
Meanwhile, Johnny Sain anchored Boston’s pitching staff, which surrendered a league-low 584 runs to the opposition over the course of the regular season. Sain led all N.L. hurlers with 24 wins, 28 complete games, and 314 innings pitched, while also placing third in the league with a 2.60 ERA. Warren Spahn gave the Braves another solid starter, going 15-12, with 16 complete games and 257 innings pitched.
However, with no other Boston pitcher winning more than 13 games, the Braves found themselves at a disadvantage when they met the pitching-rich Cleveland Indians in the World Series. After Sain out-dueled Bob Feller 1-0 in Game One, the Indians took four of the next five contests to claim their first world championship in 28 years. The Braves lost the Series even though their pitching staff held Cleveland’s lineup to a team batting average of just .199.
Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:
• November 26 - National League president Ford Frick stepped in and paid $350 for funeral services, including the cost of a coffin, for the unclaimed body of Hack Wilson. The former slugger, who likely died of alcohol abuse a few days earlier in a Baltimore hospital, was identified only as a white male.
• Stan Musial’s 429 total bases were the most compiled by any major league player since Jimmie Foxx posted 438 for the A's in 1932.
• Musial collected five hits in a game on four separate occasions during the season.
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- 1948 World Series, Alvin Dark, Bob Elliott, Boston Braves, Enos Slaughter, Ford Frick, Hack Wilson, Harry Brecheen, Johnny Mize, Johnny Sain, Ralph Kiner, Rex Barney, Richie Ashburn, St. Louis Cardinals, Stan Musial, Tommy Holmes, Warren Spahn