Tribe’s World Series history

A look at the Cleveland Indians’ previous five appearances in the World Series:

1920

Indians defeated Brooklyn Robins, 5-2

(World Series was best-of-nine games at the time)

• Managers: Indians – Tris Speaker; Brooklyn – Wilbert Robinson.

• Players: Indians – 3B Larry Gardner .310, 118 RBIs; OF Tris Speaker .388, 8 HR, 108 RBIs, 50 doubles, 1.045 OPS; 2B Bill Wambsganns .244; 1B Doc Johnston .292; C Steve O’Neill .321; SS Ray Chapman .303; OF Elmer Smith .316, 12 HR, 103 RBIs, .910 OPS; SS Joe Sewell .329, 22 games; Brooklyn – 3B Jimmy Johnston, .291, 19 SB; SS Ivy Olson .254; OF Hi Myers .304, 22 triples, 80 RBIs; OF Zack Wheat .328, 9 HR, 73 RBIs; 2B Pete Kilduff .272; 1B Ed Konetchy .308.

• Pitchers: Indians – Jim Bagby, 48 games, 38 starts, 31-12, 2.89 ERA; Stan Coveleski, 38 starts, 24-14, 2.49 ERA; Ray Caldwell, 33 starts, 20-10, 3.86 ERA; Guy Morton, 29 games, 17 starts, 8-6, 4.47 ERA; Brooklyn – Burleigh Grimes, 40 games, 33 starts, 23-11, 2.22 ERA; Leon Cadore 30 starts, 15-14, 2.62 ERA; Jeff Pfeffer, 28 starts, 16-9, 3.01 ERA; Rube Marquard, 26 starts, 10-7, 3.23 ERA; Al Mamaux, 16 starts, 12-8, 2.69 ERA; Sherry Smith, 33 games, 13 starts, 11-9, 1.85 ERA.

• Regular season: The Indians finished 98-56, two games ahead of the Chicago White Sox, of the famed Black Sox Scandal, eight of whom were accused of intentionally losing the 1919 World Series.

• Note: The Indians had to deal with the death of shortstop Ray Chapman on Aug. 17. He was struck in the head by a pitch the day before, ending what was a solid nine-year career. Joe Sewell, just 21 at the time, took over at short for the Tribe and went on to a Hall of Fame career in which he struck out just 114 times in 8,333 plate appearances.

The games:

In Game 1, right-hander Stan Coveleski tossed a complete-game five-hitter to lead the Indians past the Robins, 3-1. Catcher Steve O’Neill was the hitting star, with a pair of RBI doubles. (Cleveland leads 1-0)

Brooklyn evened the series in Game 2 when spitballer Burleigh Grimes pitched a seven-hit shutout in a 3-0 win. (Series tied 1-1)

The Dodgers then took a 2-1 lead in the Series with a 2-1 victory in Game 3, as unheralded left-hander Sherry Smith — a reliever most of the season — allowed just three hits and one unearned run. (Brooklyn leads 2-1)

The Series finally shifted to Brooklyn for Game 4, a near carbon-copy of Game 1 as Coveleski again pitched a complete-game five-hitter, this time winning 5-1. (Series tied 2-2)

Cleveland took Game 5 easily, 8-1, and the contest featured three outstanding highlights. In the first inning, Tribe right fielder Elmer Smith blasted the first-ever World Series grand slam over the right-field fence. In the fourth, Cleveland starter Jim Bagby connected for a three-run homer, the first round-tripper by a pitcher in Series history. And in the top of the fifth, with runners on first and second, Indians second baseman Bill Wambsganss snared Clarence Mitchell’s line drive, touched second base to retire Pete Kilduff and tagged Otto Miller coming over from first, thereby recording the first (and so far, only) unassisted triple play in Series history. (Cleveland leads 3-2)

Cleveland hurlers continued their brilliant run in Game 6, as Duster Mails limited the Dodgers to three hits. The only run of the game scored when Indians first baseman George Burns, who was born in Niles, doubled home Tris Speaker in the sixth. (Cleveland leads 4-2)

In Game 7, Coveleski won his third game with his third five-hitter, this one a Series-clinching, 3-0 shutout. Thanks largely to Coveleski, in seven games Cleveland pitchers allowed only eight runs. (Cleveland wins 5-2)

1948

Indians defeated Boston Braves, 4-2

• Managers: Indians – Lou Boudreau; Boston – Billy Southworth.

• Players: Indians – SS Lou Boudreau .355, 18 HR, 106 RBI, .987 OPS; 3B Ken Keltner .297, 31 HR, 119 RBI, .917 OPS; OF Dale Mitchell .336, 13 SB; 2B Joe Gordon .280, 32 HR, 124 RBI; 1B Eddie Robinson .254, 16 HR, 83 RBI; C Jim Hegan .248, 14 HR, 61 RBI; OF Larry Doby .301, 14 HR, 66 RBI; Boston – 3B Bob Elliott .283, 23 HR, 100 RBI; OF Tommy Holmes .325; SS Al Dark .322; 1B Earl Torgeson .253, 10 HR, 67 RBI.

• Pitchers: Indians – Bob Lemon, 37 starts, 20-14, 2.82 ERA; Bob Feller, 38 starts, 19-15, 3.56 ERA; Gene Bearden, 37 games, 29 starts, 20-7, 2.43; Steve Gromek, 38 games, 9 starts, 9-3, 2.84 ERA; Sam Zoldak, 23 games, 12 starts, 9-6, 2.81 ERA; Boston – Johnny Sain, 39 starts, 24-15, 2.60 ERA; Warren Spahn 35 starts, 15-12, 3.71 ERA; Bill Voiselle, 37 games, 30 starts, 13-13, 3.63 ERA; Vern Bickford, 33 games, 22 starts, 11-5, 3.27 ERA; Red Barrett, 34 games, 13 starts, 7-8, 3.65 ERA.

• Regular season: The Indians finished at 96-58, tied with the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees finished two games back. Cleveland and Boston played a one-game playoff at Fenway Park to determine the pennant winner. Ken Keltner put the Tribe ahead for good with a three-run homer in the fourth and Gene Bearden made it stand up with a complete game in an 8-3 victory. The Boston Braves finished 91-62 and 6¢ games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League.

• Future Hall of Famers: Player-manager Lou Boudreau, Larry Doby, Joe Gordon, Bob Feller and Bob Lemon for Cleveland, and manager Billy Southworth and Warren Spahn for the Braves.

The games

Indians ace Bob Feller, finally getting a chance to pitch in October after 13 seasons, performed brilliantly in the opener — but not brilliantly enough. Feller permitted just two hits, but one of them was Tommy Holmes’ RBI single in the bottom of the eighth. Meanwhile, Feller’s mound opponent Johnny Sain didn’t allow any runs, and just four hits on the way to a 1-0 gem. (Boston leads 1-0)

Cleveland’s Bob Lemon evened the score in Game 2, however, pitching his way to a complete-game, 4-1 decision. (Series tied 1-1)

Rookie knuckleballer Gene Bearden, whose playoff victory over the Red Sox was his 20th regular-season victory, tossed a five-hit shutout in Game 3. The Indians managed only five hits themselves, but scored two runs to capture the victory. (Cleveland leads 2-1)

Game 4 witnessed more solid pitching, with Cleveland’s Steve Gromek out-duelling Boston’s Sain for a narrow 2-1 decision. (Cleveland leads 3-1)

Feller once again aimed for his first Series victory in Game 5, and once again Rapid Robert fell short. The Braves totaled 11 runs, and Warren Spahn picked up the 11-5 victory with 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. (Cleveland leads 3-2)

Back in Boston for Game 6, the Indians boasted a 4-1 lead after seven-and-a-half innings. In the bottom of the eighth, the Braves loaded the bases against starter Bob Lemon, and there was just one out. Indians player-manager Lou Boudreau summoned Bearden from the bullpen. Bearden allowed a sacrifice fly and an RBI double, but escaped the inning with a 4-3 lead. In the ninth, Bearden held the Braves again, thus clinching Cleveland’s first World Series since 1920. (Cleveland wins 4-2)

1954

Indians lost to New York Giants, 4-0

• Managers: Indians – Al Lopez; New York – Leo Durocher.

• Players: Indians – CF Larry Doby .272, 32 HR, 126 RBI; 2B Bobby Avila .341, 15 HR, 67 RBI; LF Al Smith .281, 11 HR, 50 RBI; B Al Rosen .300, 24 HR, 102 RBI, .910 OPS; RF Dave Philley .226, 12 HR, 60 RBI; C Jim Hegan .234, 11 HR; SS George Strickland .213; 1B Vic Wertz .275, 14 HR; New York – SS Al Dark .293, 20 HR, 70 RBI; RF Don Mueller .342, 71 RBI; CF Willie Mays .345, 41 HR, 110 RBI, 1.078 OPS; 1B Whitey Lockman .251, 16 HR, 60 RBI; 2B Davey Williams .222; 3B Hank Thompson .263, 26 HR, 86 RBI; LF Monte Irvin .262, 19 HR, 64 RBI; OF Dusty Rhodes .341,15 HR, 50 RBI in 186 plate appearances.

• Pitchers: Indians – Early Wynn, 36 starts, 23-11, 2.73 ERA; Bob Lemon, 33 starts, 23-7, 2.72 ERA; Mike Garcia, 45 games, 34 starts, 19-8, .64 ERA; Art Houtteman, 32 games, 25 starts, 15-7, 3.35 ERA; Bob Feller, 19 starts, 13-3 3.09 ERA; Don Mossi 40 games, 6-1, 1.94 ERA; Ray Narleski, 42 games, 3-3, 13 saves 2.22 ERA; Hal Newhouser, 26 games, 7-2, 2.51 ERA; New York – Johnny Antonelli, 37 starts, 21-7, 2.30 ERA; Ruben Gomez, 32 starts, 17-9, 2.88 ERA; Sal Maglie, 32 starts, 14-6, 3.26 ERA; Jim Hearn, 29 games, 18 starts, 8-8 4.15 ERA; Don Liddle, 28 games, 19 starts, 9-4, 3.06 ERA; Marv Grissom, 56 games, 10-7, 17 saves, 2.35 ERA; Hoyt Wilhelm, 57 games, 12-4, 2.10 ERA.

• Regular season: The Indians put together a then-American League record season of 111-43, eight games ahead of the Yankees, who had won the previous five AL pennants. The Giants were 97-57, five games ahead of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

• Future Hall of Famers: Manager Al Lopez, Larry Doby, Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, Bob Feller and Hal Newhouser for the Indians, and manager Leo Durocher, Willie Mays, Monte Irvin and Hoyt Wilhelm for the Giants.

The games

In the top of the first in Game 1, Vic Wertz gave the Indians a 2-0 lead with a two-run triple off the right-field wall. The Giants tied the game with two in the third, and the score was still 2-2 when Wertz — already 3-for-3 on the day — batted in the top of the eighth, with runners on first and second and nobody out. Wertz drove the first offering from reliever Don Liddle — summoned from the bullpen specifically to face Wertz — on a high parabola to deep, deep center field. But center field went on forever in the Polo Grounds, and Willie Mays made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch which remains the most famous in World Series history. Larry Doby did advance from second to third base on the play, but reliever Marv Grissom came in to retire the next two hitters, thus preserving the tie. And in the bottom of the 10th, pinch-hitter Dusty Rhodes ended the game with a three-run homer, which just cleared the fence down the right-field line. (New York leads 1-0)

Indians leftfielder Al Smith led off Game 2 with a homer … but that was the last Cleveland run, as Johnny Antonelli scattered seven hits and six walks the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Dusty Rhodes put the Giants on top with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, and he added a solo homer in the seventh to account for two of New York’s three runs. (New York leads 2-0)

The World Series moved to Cleveland for Game 3, but the Tribe couldn’t turn the tide. The Giants led 6-0 after six frames, and held on for the 6-2 decision behind 7 1/3 strong innings from starter Preston Gomez and 1 2/3 innings of perfect relief from knuckleballing reliever Hoyt Wilhelm. (New York leads 3-0)

The Giants took control of Game 4 with four runs in the fifth inning, on Hank Thompson’s bases-loaded walk, Monte Irvin’s two-run single and Wes Westrum’s sacrifice fly. Pinch-hitter Hank Majeski nearly halved New York’s 7-0 lead with a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth, but the Tribe could score only once more, making the final Giants 7, Indians 4. (New York wins 4-0)

1995

Indians lost to Atlanta Braves, 4-2

• Managers: Indians – Mike Hargrove; Atlanta – Bobby Cox.

• Players: Indians – LF Albert Belle .317, 50 HR, 126 RBI, 50 doubles, 1.091 OPS; SS Omar Vizquel .266, 29 SB; 2B Carlos Baerga .314, 90 RBI; RF Manny Ramirez .308, 31 HR, 107 RBI, .960 OPS; 3B Jim Thome .314, 25 HR, 73 RBI, .996 OPS; CF Kenny Lofton .310, 54 SB, 13 triples; DH Eddie Murray .323, 21 HR, 82 RBI; 1B Paul Sorrento .235, 25 HR, 79 RBI; C Tony Pena .262; C Sandy Alomar .300; Atlanta – CF Marquis Grissom .258, 29 SB; 1B Fred McGriff .280, 27 HR, 93 RBI; 3B Chipper Jones .265,23 HR, 86 RBI; SS Jeff Blauser .211; RF David Justice .253, 24 HR, 78 RBI; 2B Mark Lemke .253; LF Ryan Klesko .310, 23 HR, 70 RBI, 1.004 OPS; C Javy Lopez .315.

• Pitchers: Indians – Dennis Martinez, 28 starts, 12-5, 3.08 ERA; Charles Nagy, 29 starts, 16-6, 4.55 ERA; Orel Hershiser, 26 starts, 16-6, 3.87 ERA; Mark Clark, 21 starts, 9-7, 5.27; Chad Ogea, 20 games, 14 starts, 8-3, 3.05 ERA; Julian Tavarez, 57 games, 10-2, 2.44; Ken Hill, 11 starts, 4-1, 3.98 ERA; Eric Plunk, 56 games, 6-2, 2.67 ERA; Jose Mesa, 62 games, 3-0, 46 saves, 1.13 ERA; Atlanta – Tom Glavine, 29 starts, 16-7, 3.08 ERA; John Smoltz 29 starts, 12-7, 3.18 ERA, 193 SO; Greg Maddux, 28 starts, 19-2, 1.63 ERA, 181 SO; Steve Avery, 29 starts, 7-13, 4.67 ERA; Kent Mercker, 26 starts, 7-8, 4.15 ERA; Mark Wohlers, 65 games, 7-3, 25 saves, 2.09.

• Regular season: The Indians rolled to 100 wins during the season, which was shortened to 144 games because of the players’ strike which ran from Aug. 12, 1994, to April 2, 1995. Cleveland won the Central Division title (the three-division format had debuted in 1994, but no postsesaon was held) by a mind-boggling 30 games over the Kansas City Royals. Atlanta was 90-54 and won the NL East by 21 games.

• Playoffs: Cleveland swept the Boston Red Sox, 3-0, in the AL Division Series, then topped the Seattle Mariners, 4-2, in the AL Championship Series. The Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 3-1 in the first round and swept the Cincinnati Reds, 4-0, in the NLCS.

• Future Hall of Famers: Eddie Murray of the Indians and Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine have made it for the Braves. Probable future inductees include Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez and Chipper Jones, while the possible inductee list includes the Indians’ Omar Vizquel, Orel Hershiser and Dennis Martinez, and the Braves’ Fred McGriff.

The games

Facing Greg Maddux, the National League’s best pitcher, in Game 1, the Indians could only muster two hits and a pair of unearned runs and that was almost enough. But the Braves manufactured two runs in the seventh, and Maddux annexed a 3-2 victory. (Atlanta leads 1-0)

Atlanta also captured Game 2, 4-3, thanks largely to six innings of three-hit pitching from Tom Glavine and Javy Lopez’s two-run home run in the sixth. (Atlanta leads 2-0)

Back home and with their backs against the wall, the Tribe responded with a thrilling victory in Game 3, as Eddie Murray’s 11th-inning single plated Alvaro Espinoza to give Cleveland a 7-6 decision. (Atlanta leads 2-1)

But Game 4 was a repeat of Game 2, as this time Braves left-hander Steve Avery contributed six frames of three-hit ball, David Justice tossed in a two-run single, and Atlanta took a commanding Series lead with their 5-3 victory. (Atlanta leads 3-1)

Facing elimination in Game 5, the Indians fared better against Maddux than they had in the opener. Albert Belle got things started with a two-run homer in the first, and after the Braves tied things with single runs in the fourth and fifth, Cleveland scored twice more in the sixth. Jim Thome made it 5-2 with a solo homer in the eighth, which proved important when the Braves scored twice in the ninth to make the final 5-4. (Atlanta leads 3-2)

In Game 6, Braves right fielder Justice broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth. That was all the Braves would score, and it was all they would need, as Tom Glavine allowed just one hit in eight innings, and Mark Wohlers pitched a perfect ninth to seal Atlanta’s championship. (Atlanta wins 4-2)

1997

Indians lost to Florida Marlins, 4-3

• Managers: Indians – Mike Hargrove; Florida – Jim Leyland.

• Players: Indians – RF Manny Ramirez .328, 26 HR, 88 RBI, .953 OPS; SS Omar Vizquel .280, 43 SB; 3B Matt Williams .263, 32 HR, 105 RBI; 1B Jim Thome .286, 40 HR, 102 RBI, 1.001 OPS; CF Marquis Grissom .262, 22 SB DH David Justice .329 33 HR, 101 RBI; C Sandy Alomar .324, 21 HR, 83 RBI; LF Brian Giles .268, 17 HR; 2B Tony Fernandez .286; UT Julio Franco .284; Florida – SS Edgar Renteria .277, 32 SB; 3B Bobby Bonilla .297, 17 HR, 96 RBI; LF Moises Alou .292, 23 HR, 115 RBI; RF Gary Sheffield .250, 21 HR, 11 SB; C Charles Johnson .250, 19 HR; 1B Jeff Conine .242, 17 HR.

• Pitchers: Indians – Charles Nagy, 34 starts, 15-11, 4.28 ERA; Orel Hershiser, 32 starts, 14-6, 4.47 ERA; Chad Ogea, 21 starts, 8-9, 4.99 ERA; Bartolo Colon, 17 starts, 4-7, 5.65 ERA; Jaret Wright, 16 starts, 8-3, 4.38 ERA; Albie Lopez, 37 games, 3-7, 6.93 ERA; Jose Mesa, 66 games, 4-4, 16 saves, 2.40 ERA; Michael Jackson, 71 games, 2-5, 15 saves, 3.24 ERA; Eric Plunk, 55 games, 4-5, 4.66 ERA; Paul Shuey, 40 games, 4-2 6.20; Paul Assenmacher, 75 games, 5-0, 2.94 ERA; Florida – Kevin Brown, 33 starts, 16-8, 2.69 ERA, 205 SO; Alex Fernandez, 32 starts, 17-12, 3.59 ERA; 183 SO; Al Leiter, 27 starts, 11-9, 4.34 ERA; Pat Rapp, 19 starts, 4-6, 4.47 ERA; Tony Saunders, 21 starts, 4-6, 4.61 ERA; Livan Hernandez, 17 starts, 9-3, 3.18 ERA; Jay Powell, 74 games, 7-2, 3.28 ERA; Robb Nen, 73 games, 9-3, 35 saves, 3.89 ERA.

• Regular season: The Indians beat the Chicago White Sox by six games in the AL Central with a record of 86-75. Florida was the wild-card team in the National League. With a record of 92-70, they finished nine games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

• Playoffs: The Indians bested the defending World Series champion New York Yankees, 3-2, in the first round, then beat the Baltimore Orioles, who had the best record in the AL, by a 4-2 count in the ALCS. The Marlins swept the San Francisco Giants, 3-0, in the playoffs, then topped the Braves, 4-2, in the NLCS.

• Future Hall of Famers: Probable future inductees include Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez, while the possible inductee list includes the Indians’ Omar Vizquel and Orel Hershiser and the Braves’ Gary Sheffield.

The games

In Game 1, the Marlins grabbed a 5-1 lead in the fourth when Moises Alou and Charles Johnson hit back-to-back homers, Alou’s coming with two runners aboard. Florida scored two more in the fifth, and hung on for a 7-4 triumph. (Florida leads 1-0)

Both clubs opened Game 2 with single runs in the first inning, but that was all the Marlins could manage against Tribe starter Chad Ogea and a trio of relievers. Meanwhile, the Indians scored four in the fifth on four singles, two more in the sixth on Sandy Alomar’s two-run homer, and evened the Series, 6-1. (Series tied 1-1)

Game 3 was slated for Cleveland, where wind-chill readings in the 20s figured to make things tough for the hitters. Instead, it was the pitchers who had problems, and the score was 7-7 after eight frames. In the top of the ninth, the Marlins scored seven runs, thanks in part to three Cleveland errors, three walks and a wild pitch. The Indians made things interesting with four runs off closer Robb Nen in the bottom of the ninth, resulting in a 14-11 final. Right fielder Gary Sheffield led the Marlin attack with three hits and five RBIs. (Florida leads 2-1)

Game 4 witnessed the first World Series snowfall since 1979. Cleveland rookie Jaret Wright pitched six strong innings, Manny Ramirez and Matt Williams both chipped in with two-run home runs, and the Tribe cruised, 10-3. (Series tied 2-2)

In Game 5, Orel Hershiser was roughed up again, allowing six runs in five-plus innings. Marlins starter Livan Hernandez, who beat Hershiser in Game 1, picked up his second Series victory, 8-7, despite allowing seven hits and eight walks in eight-plus innings. Once again the Indians mounted a furious ninth-inning rally, scoring three runs only to fall short. (Florida leads 3-2)

Just as Game 5 mirrored Game 1, Game 6 matched Game 2. Chad Ogea and three relievers permitted but one run, and the Indians captured a 4-1 decision. (Series tied 3-3)

In Game 7, Tribe second baseman Tony Fernandez opened the scoring with a two-run single in the third inning. The Marlins scored a run in the seventh, then one more in the ninth on Craig Counsell’s sacrifice fly to force extra innings. And in the bottom of the eleventh, Florida won the World Series when Edgar Renteria’s two-out single plated Counsell, who had reached base on a Fernandez error. (Florida wins 4-3)

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