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Feller and Spahn 1948

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  • Feller and Spahn 1948

    The first World Series that I really watched was 1948, with the "politically incorrect" match-up of Cleveland INDIANS against the Boston BRAVES. Each team had a future Hall-of-Fame pitcher: Bob Feller for the Indians; Warren Spahn for the Braves.

    Both pitchers had served in combat in WWII, earning decorations for their service. Both pitchers had been 20-game winners the previous year -- Feller was 20-11 in 1947(the only 20-game winner in the AL that year) -- with 2.68 ERA (second-best in the AL) -- while Spahn had his first 20-win season in 1947 (his 21 wins were tied for second-best in the NL and Spahn's 2.33 ERA was the NL's best that year).

    In other ways, however, the pitchers were truly different. Feller was a true "phenom" who had accumulated 107 career wins by age 22 (before he joined the Navy early in 1942). Only 6 pitchers in MLB history had more wins by age 22, and all six of those pitchers played before 1901. Feller actually won 20 or more games in five successive seasons (24 in 1939, 27 in 1940, 25 in 1941, then -- after 4 years in the US Navy -- Bob won 26 in 1947 and 20 games in 1947.

    Spahn was only two years younger than Feller, but he didn't win his FIRST MLB game until 1946, when he was 25 years old.

    In 1948, both teams would win a pennant and meet in the World Series -- but neither of these great pitchers won 20 games in 1948. Feller was 19-15 for the year, while two teammates (Bob Lemon and rookie Gene Bearden) each won 20. Spahn was 15-12 in 1948, while teammate Johnny Sain led the NL with 24 wins.

    Neither pitcher was particulary effective in the World Series. Feller started and lost two games, with an ERA of 5.02. Spahn was slightly better (won 1 and lost 1, with 3.0 ERA) but Cleveland won the Series 4 games to 2.

    For Feller, this would be his only World Series appearance. His team won but he himself had a sub-par season. For the rest of his career, Feller would have only one more 20-win season (22-8 in 1951) but Warren Spahn was just getting started. Spahn would have another twelve 20-win seasons after 1948, and was the National League leader in wins for 8 of those seasons!

    Finally to the point of this thread: Like Feller, what other Hall-of-Fame pitcher(s} had a "disappointing" regular season in his only world series year? (Disappointing in the sense that he was not the "main man" in the team's drive to a league championship.)

    BTW: Later with the MILWAUKEE Braves, Spahn would have two more World Series appearances -- beating the Yankees in 1957 (4 games to 3) and then losing to the Yankees (4 games to 3) in 1958. Warren was a 20-game winner in both of those regular seasons: 21-11 in 1957 and 22-11 in 1958.
    Last edited by Appling; 02-26-2006, 03:26 PM.
    Luke

  • #2
    Why didn't Feller pitch in the 1954 World Series?
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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    • #3
      Hall of Famer Eppa Rixey only made only one World Series in his career with the Phillies in 1915. He was only a spot starter in the regular season, pitching in 22 games and making 10 starts. He pitched 176.2 innings with a 115 ERA+ and an 11-12 record.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
        Why didn't Feller pitch in the 1954 World Series?
        Al Lopez didn't trust his pitching.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Appling

          Neither pitcher was particulary effective in the World Series. Feller started and lost two games, with an ERA of 5.02. Spahn was slightly better (won 1 and lost 1, with 3.0 ERA) but Cleveland won the Series 4 games to 2.

          .
          I don't agree with this. Feller pitched a two hitter and gave up one run in game one. Feller did have a lousy appearance in game five though. Spahn wasn't very effective in his starts but had an excellent relief appearance in game five, which was a must win game for the Braves.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
            Why didn't Feller pitch in the 1954 World Series?
            Lemon, Wynn, and Garcia and the Giants.
            Baseball articles you might not like but should read.

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            • #7
              Pedro Martinez with the Red Sox in 2004. It wasn't a good season in his standards but respectable. He wasn't the top dog anymore as the honor went to Curt Schilling.
              "I was pitching one day when my glasses clouded up on me. I took them off to polish them. When I looked up to the plate, I saw Jimmie Foxx. The sight of him terrified me so much that I haven't been able to wear glasses since." - Left Gomez

              "(Lou) Gehrig never learned that a ballplayer couldn't be good every day." - Hank Gowdy

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              • #8
                Nolan Ryan 1969?

                I don't know if you can consider it dissapointing though. His career was just getting started and he only started 10 games that year.
                My top 10 players:

                1. Babe Ruth
                2. Barry Bonds
                3. Ty Cobb
                4. Ted Williams
                5. Willie Mays
                6. Alex Rodriguez
                7. Hank Aaron
                8. Honus Wagner
                9. Lou Gehrig
                10. Mickey Mantle

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
                  Why didn't Feller pitch in the 1954 World Series?
                  "Better to have pitched and lost, than never to have pitched at all." (slight parphrase of well-known saying)

                  1954 is a far better example of what I was looking for. 1948 was a "disappointing year" for Feller only in the sense that he fell short of his usual 20+ wins -- but in 1954 Feller was far from the Ace of the Indian's staff.

                  Feller finished 1954 with a tolerable 13 wins, but four other pitchers on the Cleveland had more wins than Feller that year:
                  Bob Lemon (age 33) 23-7
                  Early Wynn (age 34) 23-11
                  Mike Garcia (age 30) 19-8
                  Art Houtteman (age 26) 15-7
                  Bob Feller (age 35) 13-3

                  Oh yes, and future HOF pitcher Hal Newhouser also joined the Indians staff that year. At age 33, Newhouser's regular-season record was just 7-2. Four Hall of Fame pitchers (Lemon, Wynn, Feller and Newhouser) on that pennant-winning team, all between ages 33 and 35, but the two most respected of the four were already "over the hill": In the world series that year, Feller didn't play. Newhouser faced only two hitters -- one hit and one walk -- gave up one run and got no one out.
                  What a disappointment for both of them!

                  Thru the end of 1948, Feller had a career record 177 wins and 98 losses - all with Cleveland. Early Wynn, just one year younger than Feller, had a record of 72-87 (all with the Senators). At that point, who could have predicted that Feller would finish his career with only 266 lifetime wins (only 4 wins after age 35) while Early Wynn would finish his career with 300 wins -- (99 wins after age 35)?

                  Hal Newhouser, who had three consecutive seasons of 25 or more wins by age 25, would end his career with only 207 wins (none after that 1954 World Series, when he was age 33).
                  Last edited by Appling; 02-28-2006, 07:12 PM.
                  Luke

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Appling
                    "Better to have pitched and lost, than never to have pitched at all." (slight parphrase of well-known saying)

                    1954 is a far better example of what I was looking for. 1948 was a "disappointing year" for Feller only in the sense that he fell short of his usual 20+ wins -- but in 1954 Feller was far from the Ace of the Indian's staff.

                    Feller finished 1954 with a tolerable 13 wins, but four other pitchers on the Cleveland had more wins than Feller that year:
                    Bob Lemon (age 33) 23-7
                    Early Wynn (age 34) 23-11
                    Mike Garcia (age 30) 19-8
                    Art Houtteman (age 26) 15-7
                    Bob Feller (age 35) 13-3

                    Oh yes, and future HOF pitcher Hal Newhouser also joined the Indians staff that year. At age 33, Newhouser's regular-season record was just 7-2. Four Hall of Fame pitchers (Lemon, Wynn, Feller and Newhouser) on that pennant-winning team, all between ages 33 and 35, but the two most respected of the four were already "over the hill": In the world series that year, Feller didn't play. Newhouser faced only two hitters -- one hit and one walk -- gave up one run and got no one out.
                    What a disappointment for both of them!

                    Thru the end of 1948, Feller had a career record 177 wins and 98 losses - all with Cleveland. Early Wynn, just one year younger than Feller, had a record of 72-87 (all with the Senators). At that point, who could have predicted that Feller would finish his career with only 266 lifetime wins (only 4 wins after age 35) while Early Wynn would finish his career with 300 wins -- (99 wins after age 35)?

                    Hal Newhouser, who had three consecutive seasons of 25 or more wins by age 25, would end his career with only 207 wins (none after that 1954 World Series, when he was age 33).
                    Feller's 1948 season was very controversial in Cleveland especially but also league-wide. A lot of people saw his sub-par season as a result from his extensive barnstorm tour in 1947. Fans thought he was jeapordizing his career with the Indians to chase every last dollar he could get. It was front page news in Cleveland in June of 1948 when he stated he was not making any more promotional stops for Popsicle, with whom he had a farly lucritive endorsement deal.
                    Add to this the outcry when Feller was named to the All-Star team and declined to appear. Feller is on record saying he didn't think he deserved to be chosen, which he probably didn't. This helped stir up a bit of a hornets nest because Bob Lemon was also named and this really pissed off Bill Veeck, because he didn't want Yankee manager Bucky Harris anywhere near two of his top starters. Veeck told Feller that he (Veeck) would take whatever heat there was about Feller pulling out, but the blame fell squarely on Feller.Feller was seen as an ingrate because this the second All-Star Game in a row that he pulled out off, he had an injury in 1947.
                    I would guess that if you told a Cleveland fan that Feller would have won 83 more games and pitched into the middle '50s, they would have said no way.

                    Feller had a good year as a spot starter in 1954. It was reported in September of '54 that Feller would likely start game thre of the World Series. Because of the Series situation it appears that Al Lopez didn't trust Feller to pitch. It seems like Lopez was not a big booster of Feller while he managed the Indians.

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                    • #11
                      Feller's World Series appearences in 1948 were a microcosm of his entire 1948 season, especially his 15 losses. Feller had several good appearances, especially early in the season in which he pitched well, but didn't receive much offensive support. He also had several starts in which he didn't have anything and was shelled. Feller was probably the biggest story in Cleveland in the summer of 1948, and the overwhelming consensus was that he was washed-up.

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