Cleveland Wins! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sam Kossoff   
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 11:38

Cleveland, OH -- The crisp fall air whipped through Cleveland Stadium Wednesday night. The smell of popcorn and warm crackerjacks filled the air. Indians fans from all over Northeast Ohio piled into their seats and the excitement nearly powered the overhead lights on its own. The Indians players moved around the dugout in their bright white uniforms with the large C on the left pocket. The Phillies, knowing their backs were to the wall practiced their swings in the traveling greys with Phillies across the chest and their dark blue caps upon their heads.

Cleveland, who had been so close for so many years, was on the cusp of a potential World Series Championship. The long bus rides, train rides, hot summer days were all winding down as the beginnings of winter we around the corner.

Game Five had Cleveland sophomore Ken Heintzelman, the Indians sole lefty starter, facing righty “Big Joe” Mulligan who had been recently forced up into a starter role due to September injury of Joe Krakauskas. The Phillies had hung their playoff run hopes on the skills of Phil Weintraub, LF Milt Blocek, CF Frenchy Uhalt and Charlie English. The hitting had carried the Phillies a long way this season, coupled with terrific pitching of Si Johnson and Joe Krakauskas. The Phillies hitting managed to guide them through a tough won NL Pennant. As the Phillies prepared for the World Series they knew that hitting would have to lead them to victory.

In game one, the Phillies hitters came through and Cleveland fans felt the noose tighten once again. Owner Mark Kossoff, although ailing, refused to sit and watch the wheels come off again. He called a team meeting before the second game and brought in food for the entire team. The two hour closed door session was called by players and management alike. . .inspiring.

Game two, three and four recharged the Indians who had 14 hits in game two and 16 in the game three dismantling of Philadelphia. Cleveland's Mace Brown had played inspired baseball in 12 innings of pitching he had a 0.73 ERA. Gene Colbertt, who had spent consider time on the DL this season, refused to give on even one pitch during the series to date and was batting .476.

As the umpires took the field for Game 5, Cleveland was confident that the winds of victory were blowing their way. Ken Heintzelman walked confidently to the mound and the fans groaned as the first batter walked, and the second one doubled. With no-one out, the Phillies had men on 2nd and 3rd. And then another walk. . .bases loaded. And another walk. . .walking in a runner. . .the wheels were coming off. The pitching coached headed to the mound to settle things down as nearly 40,000 fans sat in silence and dread. But the Indians settled down and got out of the inning giving up just 1 run on a fly out and double play.

The teams traded hits and runs through the third with things tied up at 3 each. In the fifth a big hit by Cleveland's Salazar scored 3 runs and you could see the Phillies dugout lose their inspiration. Their heads hung as if they had accepted their defeat. The Indians added runs in the 7th and 8th and by the 9th inning the Phillies had conceded the World Series.

From the 8th inning on, the noise was deafening in Cleveland Stadium. Fans were dancing and singing in the aisles. Women and men opening cried as they had waited their entire lives to see a World Series Championship in Cleveland. At the top of the ninth, the entire crowd was on their feet, owner Mark Kossoff gripping the owner's field-level box railing over the Indians dugout and the crowd cheered. Jack Russell, the aging veteran who moved to the bullpen this season, took to the mound for the final inning of the 1939 season. He tipped his cap to the owners box, and then to the fans. . .eliciting whistles and cheers. The Phillies had the top of the order ready to go, but the Phillies had been beat and Frenchy, Bocek and Weintraub, the heart of the Philadelphia bats. . .went down straight.

Pandemonium reigned in the streets of Cleveland, Youngstown, and Akron. From Elyria to Cleveland Heights and everywhere in between. . .fever for the World Series Champion Cleveland Indians was sung out. What must be recognized is the production of players like Gene Colbertt who batted .611 for the series and was named co-MVP with Mace Brown. Rick Ferrell did his part from behind the plate and batting .455 at it. Indians management looked brilliant as they brought back aging veteran Tony Lazzeri for one more year. “Poosh ‘em Up” Lazzeri batted .300 but lead the club as the clubhouse inspiration all season. But if nothing else, the Indians had balance, and the pitching of Brown, Dickinson and Heintzelman can not go un-noticed. In the corner however, was Mace Brown gathering reporters around the quiet Prince Oana. Perhaps Brown said it best, “We all did our part, each of us in our own way, and Prince got us here. I know how badly he wanted to play in this series, but this is his victory as well. . .his wins got us here. We won the division by only two games, so every pitch during the regular season mattered. . .every one that Prince threw mattered. . .his 11 wins are the reason we are here.” As so say it now, and say it proud. .. the Cleveland Indians are the 1939 World Series Champions. On a separate but important note. I want to thank Steve Rackow for a fantastic series and we appreciate how well he managed his team. I also want to give a big Thanks to Mike G. for all his work in doing the sims this season and all his hard work. It was certainly a great season.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 May 2016 16:29