No. 264 Bob Lemon (Number 60 Pitcher)

Since Bob Elliot started two games and pitched 16.1 innings against the Boston Braves in the 1948 World Series I would see how they did against each other. Both had great World Series, but Lemon was happier after the World Series as Cleveland won. Lemon pitched 16.1 innings with an ERA of 1.65 to win a pair of games in the World Series. Meanwhile Elliot had the best hitting World Series for the Braves. He hit .333 with two home runs donating to a slugging average of .619 in the series.

One thing I know before studying this issue is Elliot hit both of his homeruns off Bob Feller in game 5 so he didn’t hit one off Lemon. One thing I just noticed, Boston scored 17 runs in the 6 games, but 11 was in one game. In the other 5 games they scored 6 runs. Cleveland shut them out once, game up 1 run 3 times and scored 3 runs in game six, which from the score seems like a close exciting game. We will check that game later as it is Lemon’s second start. First to game 2.

This was an important game for Cleveland as they lost game 1 by a score of 1-0. Of course, it was important to the Braves so they could win both home games in the series. In the bottom of the first with one out, Boston had men on first and third for Elliot. Elliot singled to left field to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. It would be the last run and the last hit for Elliot that day. As Lemon won the game 4-1. In the third with Boston still ahead Boston had a man on first with one out when Elliot batted. Lemon struck him out. Cleveland had scored 2 in the fourth and one in the fifth by the time Elliot made the last out in a one, two three inning. In the eighth Elliot batted for the last time and grounded into a double play.

Now on to game six with Cleveland ahead 3-2 in the series, so looking to clinch the series. Ironically Elliot had a perfect day at the plate 3 for 3 with a walk. Still wasn’t enough. He led off the bottom of the second with a single and despite Lemon throwing a balk the Braves couldn’t get him in and so the game remained scoreless. Cleveland took a one run lead in the top of the third. With one out in the fourth, Elliot singled again. Mike McCormick drove him in three batters later. The Braves loaded the bases with two outs, but Lemon got out of the inning without further damage. That was a big moment in the game. In the top of the sixth Cleveland scored two more runs to lead 3-1. In the bottom of the sixth Elliot singled to lead off the inning but was wiped out by a double play.

Now for the eighth which was a pretty exciting inning. Unfortunately for the Braves Cleveland added another insurance run in the top of the eighth. It would be big. Elliot came to the plate with one out and runners on second and third. So, he was the tying run at the plate. This was his walk, but it loaded the bases. Gene Beardon the scheduled game 6 pitcher came to the mound. Clint Conatser hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-2, but now there were two outs. Phil Masi then doubled to left making the score 4-3, but according to the book “Our Team” about the 1948 Cleveland Indians, Dale Mitchell made a nice play keeping Elliot the tying run on third. Mike McCormick then grounded out to end the inning. Beardon got the Braves in order in the ninth to give Cleveland the World Series title.

Looking at his stats, Lemon’s greatest strength as a pitcher appears to be he could pitch a lot of innings. Lemon spent 9 full seasons as a regular starter, after having his first start at the end of July the previous year. In those years he won 20 or more seven times, 17 one time and 18 another time. His 18 wins led the league. His ERA plus wasn’t too great. He led the league in strikeouts once with a total of 170.

However, Lemon led the league in innings pitched 4 times. That was pretty amazing for the great pitching staffs he was on. He also led the league in complete games 5 times, all the even years from 1948 to 1956. Or you can put it this year, every even number year Lemon was a regular starter he led the league in complete games. I bit that is a rare statistic.

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