1948 Playoff Game Cleveland Indians vs Boston Red Sox
The 1948 Major League Baseball season was predicted to be a close race between the Yankees and Red Sox. In a United Press poll conducted just before the season started, the majority of sportswriters chose the Yankees, who had won last year's World Series, to face the Braves or St. Louis Cardinals that year, while others chose the Red Sox; only one sportswriter chose the Indians to reach the World Series. Most of the American League managers had the Yankees finishing first, followed by the Red Sox, Indians, and Detroit Tigers. Tension and confidence was evident between the teams, as two months into the season, after defeating the Red Sox 7–0, Yankees manager Bucky Harris declared that the Yankees would win the pennant, though they were currently at second place at the time.
The pennant race continued between the three teams throughout the entire season. On September 25, after playing 147 games, with 7 games left to play, all three teams had a record of 91–56. After each team played four more games, the Indians were up two games, meaning the Yankees and Red Sox had to win their games on September 30 to stay in the pennant race. They did, and the month of October opened up with both teams 1.5 games behind the Indians. The Indians' last series was a three game stand against the Tigers, while the Red Sox and Yankees had a two game series against each other.
The Indians lost their first game 5–3 against the Tigers on October 1, giving them a one game lead with two games left to play. As a result, speculation arose about the possibility of a three-way tie. On October 2, Cleveland beat Detroit to clinch at least a tie, and Boston beat New York 5–1, ending the Yankees' pennant run and bringing the race down to two teams. On the last day of the season, October 3, Boston won their game and Cleveland lost, giving them identical 96–58 records and forcing a tiebreaker the following day at Boston. The Indians chose rookie Gene Bearden to start against Boston in the tie-breaker, despite only having one day of rest, as he had beaten the Red Sox twice that season, and the Red Sox chose Denny Galehouse, passing on Mel Parnell who had beaten the Indians on three separate occasions that season.
Monday October 4, 1948—1.15 p.m. (ET) at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
|Boston Red Sox||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||3||5||1|
|WP: Gene Bearden (20–7) LP: Denny Galehouse (8–8)
CLE: Lou Boudreau 2 (18), Ken Keltner (31)
BOS: Bobby Doerr (27)
Galehouse started off the game by quickly getting outs from Dale Mitchell and Allie Clark. American League MVP Lou Boudreau then hit a solo home run off Galehouse to make the score 1–0. After another out, Bearden came on the mound in the bottom of the first. Johnny Pesky doubled, then scored on a hit by Vern Stephens to make the score 1–1 at the end of the first inning. Both pitchers allowed one baserunner the following inning; Ken Keltner reached base for Cleveland and Birdie Tebbetts reached base for the Red Sox. Both pitchers then got three quick outs in the third inning.
In the fourth inning, the Indians opened up the game. Boudreau and Joe Gordon hit back-to-back singles, which brought Keltner to the plate. The Red Sox expected a bunt, but instead the third baseman hit his 31st home run of the season to put the Indians ahead, 4–1. Galehouse was then replaced with Ellis Kinder, who was met with a double by Larry Doby. Kinder responded by getting the next three batters out, which brought the score to 5–1 as Doby also scored. After Bearden got three Red Sox out, the Indians started the fifth inning with the top of their lineup. Mitchell and Eddie Robinson, who came in for Clark, were out. Boudreau then stepped up to the plate and hit his second home run of the night to make the score 6–2.
The rest of the fifth inning saw no more hits, and after a Keltner double, three Indians were out in the top of the sixth inning. The Red Sox began to fight back in the bottom of the sixth inning. After getting Pesky out, Ted Williams reached first base on an error by Gordon. Stephens struck out, and with two outs in the inning, Bobby Doerr hit his 27th home run of the season to make the score 6–3. No runs were scored in the seventh inning, though Bearden and Mitchell both reached base. The Indians were able to score another run in the eighth inning after Jim Hegan was intentionally walked. Bearden then hit a fly ball to Williams, who dropped it, allowing Hegan to score and making it 7–3 in the Indians' favor. The Indians were able to score one more run in the ninth when Robinson scored after Keltner grounded into a bases-loaded double play. Bearden got the final three Red Sox out in the bottom of the ninth, finishing the game with an 8–3 Indians victory and giving Bearden a complete game.
|Dale Mitchell LF||5||0||1||0||0||0||.336||.814||1||0||GDP|
|Allie Clark 1B||2||0||0||0||0||0||.310||.807||5||0|
|Eddie Robinson 1B||2||1||1||0||0||0||.254||.715||9||0||SH|
|Lou Boudreau SS||4||3||4||2||1||0||.355||.987||3||5||2·HR|
|Joe Gordon 2B||4||1||1||0||1||0||.280||.879||2||3|
|Ken Keltner 3B||5||1||3||3||0||0||.297||.917||1||6||HR,2B,GDP|
|Larry Doby CF||5||1||2||0||0||1||.301||.873||0||0||2·2B|
|Bob Kennedy RF||2||0||0||0||0||0||.269||.659||0||0||2·SH|
|Jim Hegan C||3||1||0||1||1||2||.248||.724||6||1|
|Gene Bearden P||3||0||1||0||1||0||.256||.650||0||2|
Boston Red Sox
|Dom DiMaggio CF||4||0||0||0||0||0||.285||.785||3||0|
|Johnny Pesky 3B||4||1||1||0||0||1||.281||.759||3||4||2B|
|Ted Williams LF||4||1||1||0||0||0||.369||1.112||3||0|
|Vern Stephens SS||4||0||1||1||0||1||.269||.820||2||4|
|Bobby Doerr 2B||4||1||1||2||0||1||.285||.892||5||2||HR|
|Stan Spence RF||1||0||0||0||2||1||.235||.758||1||0||CS|
|Billy Goodman 1B||3||0||0||0||1||2||.310||.801||7||1||GDP|
|Birdie Tebbetts C||4||0||1||0||0||0||.280||.752||3||1||GDP|
|Denny Galehouse P||0||0||0||0||1||0||.167||.467||0||1|
|Ellis Kinder P||2||0||0||0||0||0||.097||.319||0||1|
Cleveland Indians - Pitching
|Gene Bearden, W (20-7)||9||5||3||1||5||6||1||2.43||35||70|
Boston Red Sox - Pitching
|Denny Galehouse, L (8-8)||3||5||4||4||1||1||2||4.00||16||33|
- AL MVP 1948, Bobby Doerr, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Denny Galehouse, Fenway Park, Gene Bearden, Johnny Pesky, Ken Keltner, Lou Boudreau, Ted Williams, Vern Stephens