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1949 Cleveland Indians
From BR Bullpen
 1949 Cleveland Indians / Franchise: Cleveland Indians / BR Team Page
Managed by Lou Boudreau
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 History, Comments, Contributions
The 1949 Cleveland Indians, featuring seven Hall of Famers, won 89 games and were second in the league in attendance. In spite of the top players, 1949 was the only time in the period 1948-55 when the Indians did not win at least 90 games.
The team had its ups-and-downs, playing well under .500 in May and barely clearing .500 in September. The team was never in first place, although a .700 July put it in second place for quite a while. The team set an American League record by winning 17 consecutive extra inning games; the 2012-2013 Baltimore Orioles matched the mark but it has not been topped.
The pitching staff featured Bob Lemon, who went 22-10, Bob Feller at 15-14, and Early Wynn, who was 11-7, as three of the starters. In the bullpen was, among others, Satchel Paige, somewhere in his 40's, who posted a 3.04 ERA. Spot-starter Mike Garcia went 14-5 and Al Benton, at age 38, was the top reliever with 10 saves and a 2.12 ERA.
Cleveland's team ERA of 3.36 was the best in the 1949 American League.
Among hitters, Larry Doby, in his third major league season, led the team in home runs, slugging percentage, walks, OBP, runs scored and RBI. Mickey Vernon led the team in doubles while Dale Mitchell astounded with 23 triples (but only 16 doubles) - the only time in the period 1931-2006 that a player hit as many triples in one season. Doby and Mitchell each stole ten bases to the lead the team.
Player-manager Lou Boudreau had a solid year at shortstop, while catcher Jim Hegan and third baseman Ken Keltner had weak-hitting seasons. Joe Gordon hit only .251 but added 20 home runs, good for ninth in the league. Bob Kennedy (father of Terry Kennedy) filled out the list of regulars with a decent .276 batting average.
Among other players on the team was Luke Easter, in his first major league season after years in the Negro Leagues, Johnny Berardino, who would go on to greater fame as a soap-opera star, Minnie Minoso, in his first major league season, the young Ray Boone, scion of the baseball-playing Boone family, the young Al Rosen, who was not yet a regular, rookie Bobby Avila and veteran catcher Mike Tresh in his last major league season.
Boudreau was already in his eighth year as a manager, having won the 1948 World Series the previous year. He would go on to manage eight more years, although only one more with Cleveland.