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Game 116

August 17, 1933 – Earl Averill Hits for the Cycle

On this Thursday afternoon Monte Pearson was throwing for the Tribe against George Earnshaw and the rest of Connie Mack’s Athletics. The game was in the newly-opened Municipal Stadium where the outfield was immense. 

Earl Averill got the first hit of the game–a two-out double into left field in the bottom of the first. Joe Vosmik sent him some with a single into center field. Averill came around to score before Vosmik was put out at second trying to stretch the single into a two-bagger. 

Bill Cissel had a two-run homer for the Indians in the bottom of the third. Again with two outs, Averill knocked one into right field. By the time the Athletics Lou Finney ran it down, Averill was safe at third. Once again, Vosmik pushed Averill across the plate with a single. The third ended with the score Indians 4, A’s 0. 

The A’s sent nine men to the plate in the top of the fifth, scoring three runs on four hits to cut the Tribe lead to one run. 

The Indians countered by sending thirteen batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth. Earl followed Milt Galatzer’s walk and a sac bunt by Bill Cissel. He singled into right and advanced to second on a throwing error. As the eleventh man up, Averill walked in his fourth appearance. The Tribe scored seven runs on eight hits in the inning, bringing the score to 11-3. 

In the bottom of the seventh with Cissel on second, Averill clubbed a home run over the Muni Stadium wall, completing the Indians first cycle since Bill Bradley in Game 136 of 1903.

Dib Williams had an RBI single for the A’s in the top of the eighth, but the A’s would not threaten as Monte Pearson went the distance for the complete game win with a final score of 15-4. 

Averill’s cycle was the 62nd in major league baseball since 1901. It was the second of nine cycles to date in Indians history. 

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Honorable Mention: August 12, 2004 – Ben Broussard Hits Second Pinch-Hit Grand Slam

Kerry Lightenberg walked in the tying run by issuing a bases-loaded free pass to Casey Blake. The Blue Jays made a pitching change and Ben Broussard stepped in against Vinnie Chulk. Broussard took Chulk’s 1-1 pitch deep for his second pinch-hit grand slam of the season.

He is one of five players to hit two pinch-hit grand slams in a season along with Darryl Strawberry in 1998, Brooks Conrad in 2010, Mike Ivie in 1978, and Davey Johnson in 1978. 

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Game 109

August 24, 1919 – Ray Caldwell Struck by Lightning, Completes Game for Win

Tris Speaker took a chance of Ray Caldwell mid-season. Caldwell had recently been cut by the Boston Red Sox due to his declining performance and issues with alcoholism. His former manager Miller Huggins later wrote of Caldwell, “[He] was one of the best pitchers that ever lived, but he was one of those characters that keep a manager in a constant worry. If he had possessed a sense of responsibility and balance, Ray Caldwell would have gone down in history as one of the greatest of all pitchers.”

Caldwell showed his ability to pitch brilliantly on this August afternoon against Connie Mack’s Athletics. He also showed incredible fortitude after a crazy turn of events.

In the bottom of the fourth, Rollie Naylor walked Indians shortstop Ray Chapman. Player-manager Tris Speaker drew a second walk. Joe Harris hit a sacrifice fly that moved both runners over. Third baseman Larry Gardner grounded out, but plated Caldwell. With two outs, Bill Wambsganss hit a sharp grounder to the shortstop. The As Joe Dugan fielded it, but blew the throw to first. As the ball skipped away, Speaker was able to score from third on the error. 

Ray Caldwell

In the top of the fifth, the As George Burns reached on a hit by pitch, and then was driven home by a Cy Perkins grounder. This cut the Indians’ lead to 2-1, but Caldwell was pitching confidently and efficiently. 

A slight but steady rain had been falling for most of the game, as dark clouds scudded off Lake Erie in the way that they often do in late summer, but the game continued. Caldwell had the As down to their final out. With Joe Dugan at the plate, there was a sudden crack of thunder and a blinding flash. Players and fans alike dove for cover. 

After a moment, others had recovered but Caldwell lay sprawled on the mound. 

The shock knocked off Indians catcher Cy Perkin’s helmet and mask. Several players later said that they felt the shock in their legs, conducted upward by their metal cleats. “We all could feel the tingle of the electric shock running through our systems, particularly in our legs,” umpire Billy Evans later reported. 

Caldwell slowly got up from the mound and assessed the damage. He had slight burns on his chest and tingling all over. Witnesses speculated that the lighting had struck the metal button on top of his cap, run through his body, and exited out his metal spikes. Caldwell described the experience to the Cleveland Press, “felt just like somebody came up with a board and hit me on top of the head and knocked me down.”

After a few minutes to shake off the mighty shock, the players re-took their positions–including Caldwell–to get the final out. Dugan hit a grounder to Larry Gardner at third base, who completed the throw to first and sealed the complete game win for Caldwell. 

Caldwell’s overall pitching line: nine innings, three strikeouts, two walks, and one near-death experience. 

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Honorable Mention: 2011 – Masterson 4 Ks in Inning

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Honorable Mention: 2018 – Kluber Throws a Maddux

Kluber used 98 pitches–64 of them strikes–to blank the Angels. A home run by Leonys Martin provided the winning run. 

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Game 91

July 19, 1974 – Dick Bosman’s No Hitter – Only Pitcher to Miss a Perfect Game Due to His Own Error

The Oakland As were two-time World Series champions coming into the 1974 season. The largest Municipal Stadium crowd of the season so far–over 48,000 filed in to watch the opening matchup of the series–a pitching duel between perennial Cy Young candidates Catfish Hunter and Gaylord Perry. The Tribe dropped that game 3-2. 

On the next evening, Dick Bosman started for the Indians against Oakland’s Dave Hamilton. These two carried over the pitching duel from the previous evening. Hamilton retired the first six batters he faced,  while Bosman was perfect through three innings. 

In the bottom of the third, Indians first baseman Tommy McCraw led things off with a single to right field. Joe Lis homered to give the Indians a 2-0 lead. 

In the top of the fourth, Bosman struck out Bill North and Bert Campenaris grounded out to third. As third baseman Sal Bando hit a slow roller between the mound and third base on a checked swing. Bosman hustled over to field the ball, turned and threw quickly to first. The ball skipped off the end of McCraw’s glove and Bando ended up at second. Bosman was charged with an error. He later said, “I had enough time, but because I had to go a long way to get the ball, I thought I had to hurry. My throw just sailed away from McGraw.” Reggie Jackson struck out to end the inning. 

Buddy Bell drove in John Ellis on a double to left which chased Hamilton from the game in the bottom of the fourth. McCraw then grounded to short off Blue Moon Odom, allowing Bell to score from third. After four innings, the Tribe was up 4-0. 

Shortstop Frank Duffy kept the no hitter alive in the top of the fifth with an incredible throw from deep in the hole to put the speedy Joe Rudi out at first. Bosman continued to mow through the Athletics order, and the Indians could barely touch Odom as well. 

Bosman had pitched four one-hitters in his career, including a no-hit bid against the Yankees that lasted into the eighth inning. “After the fifth, after the sixth, my feeling was that I wasn’t going to screw this one up,” Bosman said. “I was confident in myself that day that I wasn’t going to make a physical mistake.”

In the ninth, Dick Green grounded out to third. Jesus Alou (uncle to Moises) grounded out to second. Bosman stuck Bill North out swinging for the 27th out. He used only 72 pitches. 

There have been 301 recognized No-Hitters in MLB history. Bosman’s remains the only one that would have been a Perfect Game, if not for his own error.  The A’s went on to win their third consecutive World Series that fall, making Bosman’s no-no an interesting blip in the history of one of baseball’s great dynasties. 

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Honorable Mention: July 19, 1964 – Luis Tiant Shuts Out Yankees in First MLB Start

In his first Major League start, Tiant faced 13-year veteran, and Cy Young winner Whitey Ford. Tiant struck out 11, and gave up only four hits.

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Game 88

July 19, 1982 – Toby Harrah Walkoff Gets Tribe Back to .500

After three seasons with the Tribe, Toby Harrah was not pleased with the direction the Indians were taking. He did not mince words. “I am tired of playing .500 ball or being the spoiler. It has been the same every year and I’m sick of it. We need a more balanced bullpen… We need a team that doesn’t have 12 designated hitters and 6 first basemen. All of this is management’s fault.”

In mid-July of 1982, the Indians were once again in 6th place in the AL East, ahead of only the Blue Jays. The day before, the Indians celebrated a rare walkoff win on a pinch hit RBI triple by Bill Nahrodny. 

On this Monday evening in July a sparse crowd of under 12,000 was scattered around Municipal Stadium to see the Indians take on the Oakland A’s. Steve McCatty started for the A’s while the Tribe sent Lary Sorenson to the mound. 

Indians’ second baseman Larry Milbourne bookended the previous night’s performance with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the first. He was driven home by a Toby Harrah groundout to get the Tribe on the Board 1-0. 

The A’s tied things up in the top of the third when Ricky Henderson walked with two outs, stole second, and was driven home by a Dwayne Murphy single to center field. A two run homer by Jeff Newman put Oakland ahead 3-1. 

Von Hayes doubled to right to lead off the bottom of the fourth. After fly-outs by Rick Manning and Ron Hassey, Carmello Castillo drove Hayes in with a single past the shortstop, cutting the A’s lead to one run. 

The teams continued to battle through the middle innings, with Oakland notching another run on a Jeff Burroughs homer to lead off the top of the 6th. Von Hayes had another leadoff hit in the Indians half of the sixth, and scored again on a Ron Hassey single to right. 

In the bottom of the ninth, the Indians would find themselves down one run with one out and the bases loaded. Larry Milbourne lofted a sacrifice fly to right. Rick Manning tagged up to score the tying run. 

Down to their final out, Toby Harrah stepped to the plate and smacked a sharp one to third base. A’s third baseman Wayne Gross lofted the throw to first, which would likely have put Harrah out and sent the game to extra innings. Instead, Jack Perconte hustled home to give the Tribe their second walkoff win in as many nights and put the team back at .500 with a 44 and 44 record for the season.

Harrah would go on to play all 162 games of the 1982 season for the Indians, and have the best hitting season of his career. He finished the year batting .304 with.183 hits, 25 home runs, and 100 runs scored. However, the Indians would finish 78-84 and once again 6th in the AL East. 

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Game 87

July 13, 1963 – Early Wynn Returns to Indians, Earns Elusive 300th Win

Hall of Fame pitcher Early Wynn came to the Indians in 1948 after 8 seasons with the Senators and two years serving in World War II. Early in his career he was known as an aggressive power pitcher who was quick to brush batters back off the plate. He once said, “A pitcher will never be a big winner until he hates hitters.” He was also known to knock runners down at first base, with bean balls disguised as pickoff attempts. 

Ten years into his baseball career, Wynn could no longer rely entirely on velocity and swagger. He credited Mel Harder with re-making his career. Harder taught Wynn how to throw a curveball, and he became part of one of the most talented pitching rotations in history along with Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, and Mike Garcia. 

He pitched for nine years with the Indians, leading the World-Series bound 1954 squad with 23 wins. Wynn was traded to the White Sox after the 1957 season where he pitched until the end of 1962. The White Sox released Wynn at the end of the season with 299 total wins. 

The Indians reached out to Wynn on June 1, 1963. He was at home in Venice, Florida unhappily retired. The 43-year old felt that he had more innings left in his arm. Wynn pitched a complete game in his first game back in the rotation, but either pitched no-decisions or was the hard-luck loser in four consecutive outings. 

On July 13, 1963 the Indians were visiting the Kansas City Athletics in Missouri’s Municipal Stadium and Wynn was on the mound again seeking his elusive 300th win. Second baseman Larry Brown put the Tribe ahead early with an RBI single that drove in Joe Romano. 

The A’s tied it up in the bottom of the fourth when George Alusik sent Wynn’s pitch over the Muni Stadium wall for a lead-off home run. 

Wynn led off the top of the fifth with a single, and advanced to second on a Dick Howser single. KC’s Moe Drabowsky walked Max Alvis to load the bases. Joe Adcock then knocked a single scoring Wynn and Howser. Another walk chased Drabowsky from the game, and Al Luplow knocked in another two runs before Romano was gunned out at home trying to score from first base. 

The Royals loaded the bases to lead off the bottom of the fifth, then Jerry Lumpe tried to stretch a double into a triple. Three runs scored–including a young Tony LaRussa who was on base as a pinch runner. 

Woodie held pinch hit for Wynn in the top of the 6th. With five innings in the books and a 5-4 lead, Wynn could not lose the game but his teammates would have to hold on for the win. 

Photo: Baseball HOF Collection

Reliever Jerry Walker gave up only three hits and two walks in his four innings of work. His talented pitching along with two further Indians insurance runs sealed Wynn’s place in the history books as the 14th MLB pitcher to achieve 300 wins.  

Wynn made one start after this game, and spent the rest of the year in the bullpen. He retired at the end of the 1963 season with exactly 300 wins, and a lifetime ERA of 3.54. He struck out 2,334 batters in 4,564 innings across parts of four decades. 

The 300 win club currently stands at 24 pitchers, and is not anticipated to grow anytime soon. Randy Johnson is the most recent addition, having earned his 300th win in 2009. Lefty Grove is the only other pitcher to have retired with exactly 300 wins. 

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Game 65

July 10, 1947 – Don Black Overcomes Personal Demons to Pitch No Hitter

Don Black was on his last chance. In 1945 he had been suspended by the As for being so drunk that he passed out in a bowl of split pea soup. Disappointing results and continued personal struggles let Connie Mack to trade Black from the As to the Indians following the 1945 season.

Black had flashes of brilliance in 1946, but had been optioned to minor league Milwaukee for the later part of the season.

Don Black

In 1946, Bill Veeck purchased the Indians and began making many of the innovations that he is known for. He immediately reached an agreement to broadcast all games on the radio. In 1947 he hired hired Larry Doby, breaking the color barrier in the American League. He moved the team to Municipal Stadium full-time, and he began mentoring Don Black.

Veeck himself was a recovering alcoholic and a proponent of Alcoholics Anonymous. Veeck agreed to pay off Don Black’s outstanding debts if he would enter A.A. “Listen, give this thing a good try,” he told Black. “You won’t have to worry about your debts. I’m paying them all off. The only man you’re going to owe is me, and I’m not going to be tough on you.”

Not even five months after he joined A.A., Black was pitching behind Bob Feller as the Indians’ No. 2 starter.

On July 10th, Black was facing his old team in the first half of a double-header. The twin bill had attracted a rather large crowd for a weekday, despite the threat of rain in the forecast.

Black walked the first two Philadelphia batters on eight wide–nearly wild–pitches. After striking out Elmer Valo, Ferris Fain grounded out, but advanced the runners. Eddie Joost was left on third when Sam Chapman grounded out to end the inning. That is the farthest any A’s baserunner would make it this afternoon.

He pitched a 1-2-3 second inning, and then the heavens opened up. During the rain delay, Black remarked to some reporters, “Gee, I’m wild tonight. I don’t seem to have it. I hope I can stick it out.”

After a 45 minute delay, he did more than stick it out. After Jim Hegan broke the ice in the bottom of the second with an RBI single, Black helped out his own cause by scoring Joe Gordon with a sacrifice bunt. Tribe center fielder George Metkovich then drove in Hegan with an RBI single of his own.

In the top of the third, with Barney McKoskey on base after a walk, Elmer Valo launched a ball to deep right field. Joe Gordon sprinted toward the wall and made a dramatic over-the-shoulder catch.

His slider was moving brilliantly and fooling A’s hitters, but Black’s tendency to be a little wild was almost his undoing. After walking Ferris Fain in the top of the 6th, Lou Boudreau made a mound visit. “I went over … when he walked Fain to tell him to slow down a little. We all knew he was going for the no-hitter.

Wiping sweat from his brow after every third pitch, Black faced the A’s 4 -5- and 6 hitters in the top of the ninth. The final out was a grounder back to the mound. Black fielded the ball, took a few steps toward first, and tossed the ball to Eddie Robinson to complete the no hitter.

A game used ball, currently for sale

47,871 fans erupted in jubilation at the feat. It was the largest crowd to date to witness a no hitter in the majors.  

Later, Don Black reflected on the game “Never a drink made,” he said, “could give me the belt I got out of that game.”

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Honorable Mention: June 20, 1971 – Walkoff Wins in Both Games of a Doubleheader

Box Score – Game 54

Box Score Game 55

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Game 31

May 29, 1934 – Earl Averill Walkoff Double in Extras

Connie Mack’s Athletics were wrapping up a weekend series at League Park on this Monday afternoon. The A’s had some outstanding athletes on the roster in 1934 and some even more outstanding names such as Doc Cramer, Pinky Higgins, and Rabbit Warstler.

Warstler led off the game with a single off Indians starter Oral Hildebrand. Warstler stole second and was driven home when Jimmie Foxx sent Hildebrand’s first pitch over the League Park wall.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, the “Earl of Snohomish” answered with a home run of his own. In the bottom of the second, Hal Trosky tied the game with an RBI double.

The A’s would pull ahead again in the top of the 4th with Rabbit Warstler once again leading off with a double. Jimmie Foxx would once again drive him home with an inside-the-park home run.

Indians right fielder Bob Seeds walked to lead off the bottom of the third. Bill Kickerbocker moved seeds over with a single to right field. Averill grounded to short, scoring Seeds. Knickerbocker was forced out at second. Joe Vosmik and Odell Hale got aboard to load the bases, and then A’s pitcher Johnny Marcum hit Frankie Pytlak, forcing Averill home and tying the game.

Hildebrand would not give up another hit until the top of the 8th–a double by Johnny Marcum that was ultimately harmless.

Monte Pearson replaced Hildebrand on the mound for the Tribe in the 9th. With two outs, Pearson walked Foxx and then gave up the tying run via a triple by A’s shortstop Eric McNair. Pearson got Lou Finney to groundout to end the inning.

The Tribe were unable to score in the bottom of the 9th, stranding Frankie Pytlak on third and forcing extra innings. Pinky Higgins led off the A’s half of the 10th with a double, but Pearson was able to retire the next three A’s without incident.

In the bottom of the 10th, Bill Knickerbocker poked a single to center field. Earl Averill stepped in and knocked a double into left field. Kickerbocker hustled around to score from first and end the game. Averill’s three hits, three RBI, and one intentional walk were key in securing the extra-inning win and the series sweep of the As.

Averill’s career total of 226 homers was a franchise record for 55 years and has only been surpassed by Jim Thome (337), Albert Belle (242), and Manny Ramirez (236).

Jason Pierre-Paul could take a page out of Averill’s book. Just before Fourth of July 1935, Averill was lighting fireworks with his children and one exploded while he was holding it. He suffered burns to his face, chest, and hands. He still hit .288 for the season and made the All-Star team.  

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