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Random Game Callback, April 26, 1948
2006-04-26 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

In a game that would be more evocative of a game from 50 years in the future, the Cleveland Indians won their fifth straight game to start the 1948 season with a 14-inning, 12-11 win over the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park. Eddie Robinson hit two home runs for Cleveland, one of them in the 14th inning off of losing pitcher Earl Caldwell. Russ Christopher picked up the win, although Bob Feller had to relieve in the bottom of the 14th and work out of a 2-on, no out situation. Feller then started two days later for Cleveland.

Cleveland had scored in each of the first five innings and piled up 9 runs, but trailed anyway 11-9. Cleveland starter Don Black lasted just 2 2/3 innings and Chicago starter Howard Judson went just 3 1/3 innings. Cleveland used seven pitchers in the game.

The Indians got four home runs in the game, two by Robinson as well as one each from Ken Keltner and Larry Doby. Chicago had home runs from Tony Lupien, Cass Michaels, and Dave Philley. The White Sox would hit just 48 home runs in the entire 1948 season, in which they finished in last place with a 51-101 record.

Cleveland trailed 11-9 going to the ninth, but got their first two hitters on base. Doby couldn't bring them around, but player-manager Lou Boudreau doubled home both runners to tie the game. Boudreau would go 5 for 6 in the game with a pair of doubles and a pair of triples. Overall, Cleveland had 22 hits and received 11 walks. The game lasted 4 hours and 32 minutes, an eternity in that era.

Two of Cleveland's pitchers were in their final seasons, although they didn't know it. Black, one of the first major leaguers to openly admit that he was an alcoholic and a member of AA, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on September 13, 1948 and had to quit baseball. He passed away in 1959. Russ Christopher suffered from a heart ailment that kept him from playing after the season (or pitching much during the season) and would pass away at age 37 in 1954.

1948 was the last season that Cleveland would win the World Series. The Indians would finish the 1948 regular season tied with Boston for first place, but won the playoff at Fenway and then went on to beat the Boston Braves in six games in the World Series. Sources: Chicago Tribune, Baseball-reference, NY Times, Retrosheet.

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