Game 150

September 24, 1950 – Bob Lemon Helps Out His Own Cause, Scoring Winning Run in 10-Inning Complete Game

Bob Lemon led a very solid Indians rotation along with Bob Feller, Early Wynn, and Mike Garcia. Despite outstanding pitching, the Indians were in the middle of the pack. They were sitting in 4th in the American League standings when Detroit came to town in the waning days of the 1950 season. Lemon was matched up with Ted Grey on this Sunday afternoon on the Lakefront. 

Lemon got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first when he got Jerry Priddy to ground out and end the threat. 

Likewise, Grey escaped a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the third when Tribe shortstop Ray Boone popped out to left field. 

In the bottom of the fourth, Lemon helped out his own cause by smacking a two-out home run to put the Indians up 1-0. 

Tigers shortstop Johnny Lipton tied things up in the top of the seventh when he led off the inning with a solo home run off Lemon. Lemon then retired the next eight Tigers he faced. After issuing a walk to Lipton in the bottom of the ninth, George Kell grounded out back to the mound. 

Gray struck out Joe Gordon and Jim Hegan in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extras. 

The Tigers got runners to first and third in the top of the tenth, but Lemon cut down Don Kolloway for his fifth strikeout in 10 innings. 

Lemon led off the bottom of the tenth by slapping one into the massive outfield at Municipal Stadium. Lemon stretched the hit into a triple. Gray intentionally walked both Dale Mitchell and Bobby Kennedy to load the bases. Larry Doby was put out on a pop foul. Next up, Luke Easter grounded one sharply to first. Kolloway got to the bag for the out, but had no play on Lemon coming home to score the winning run. 

Lemon threw a 10-inning complete game giving up only one run on five hits. He scored the Indians only two runs in the game on two of the Tribe’s six hits on the day. Lemon notched his 22nd win (of an eventual 23). This was his league-leading 22nd complete game. He also appeared seven times out of the bullpen in 1950 and went 6 for 26 as a pinch hitter. 

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 62

June 11, 2009 – Seagull Assists on Game Winning Hit

Both the Royals and Indians were struggling in 2009. Jeremy Sowers faced off against the Royals’ Zack Grienke. In a battle to stay out of the basement in the AL Central.

In the bottom of the third, Louis Valbuena led off with a double to left-center. Trevor Crowe advanced Valbuena to third on a well executed sacrifice bunt. Victor Martinez drove him home with an RBI single.

The Royals took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth with RBI hits by David DeJesus and Billy Butler.

Throughout late spring in 2009, a flock of seagulls roving around the outfield and roosting in the rafters. A week earlier with the Yankees in town, Nick Swisher remarked, “There’s what, 8,000 seagulls out there?” Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher said. “This ain’t even the beach. It’s Cleveland.”

Indians spokesman Bob DiBiasio spoke to the arrival of the birds and difficulty in getting them to move on,  “Gulls are riding the wind currents up the valley to the ballpark in search for food scraps to feed their young. The Indians are continuing to research ways to control this issue under the guidance of gulls being federally protected.”

The birds were in full force, filling the outfield gaps and taking flight to avoid outfield fly balls. In the top of the eighth, KC extended their lead to 3-1 with a solo home run by Miguel Olivo.

In the bottom of the eight the Indians mounted a comeback. A single by Mark DeRosa and a five-pitch walk to Victor Martinez chased Grienke from the game. DeRosa scored on a grounder by Shin-Soo Choo that was mishandled twice by the Royals. Martinez was forced out at second, but two throwing errors left Choo on second when the dust cleared. Jhonny Perralta then doubled to score Choo and tie the game at 3-3.

Indians closer Kerry Wood pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to send the game to extra frames. The Royals were unable to get anything going against Matt Hedges in the top of the tenth.

In the bottom of the 10th, Mark DeRosa singled to center to lead off the inning. Kyle Farnsworth issued a walk to Victor Martinez to move DeRosa into scoring position. Shin-Soo Choo came to the plate and poked a single into the flock of birds in shallow center. Royals centerfielder Coco Crisp charged in and appeared to have a play on the ball.

On one hop, the ball struck one of the gulls in the wing. The bird flopped around momentarily and then took flight. Crisp could only throw up his hands as the ball deflected away from him, allowing DeRosa to score the winning run.

After the game, Tribe coach Joel Skinner who has been with the organization both at Municipal Stadium and Progressive Field remarked about the birds, “It’s never been this bad here or at the old ballpark. I just hope I don’t get pooped on.”

Baseball Reference Box Score

Honorable Mention: June 30, 1948 – Bob Lemon No Hitter

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 17

May 7, 1957 – Herb Score Injured by Line Drive

By the beginning of 1957, many baseball writers considered Herb Score to be the left-handed second coming of Bob Feller. Identified and signed by Cy Slapnicka, the same scout who signed Feller, Score was a flamethrowing young pitcher with endless potential. Prior to the 1957 season the Red Sox offered the Indians a million dollars for Score–an astronomical amount at the time–but were rebuffed by Indians GM Hank Greenburg.

Associated Press Photo

Building off his Rookie of the Year campaign in 1955 and All Star 20 win season in 1956, Score had started 1957 strong.

In his fifth appearance of the year, Score took the mound against the Yankees for a Tuesday night game in Cleveland. After Yankees right fielder Hank Bauer grounded out to lead off the game, Gil McDougald stepped to the plate.

McDougald drove a low pitch straight up the middle and struck Score directly in the eye. Blood streamed from his eye, mouth and nose. Third baseman Al Smith played the ball off Score and threw to Vic Wertz at first for the out while catcher Jim Hegan rushed to the mound.

Score never lost consciousness, but suffered severe hemorrhaging of his eye. He spent several weeks in the hospital, and his vision did not recover enough to let him pitch for the rest of the season.

Bob Lemon came in to pitch in Score’s stead. Over the remaining 8 ⅓ he allowed only one run on six hits.

In the bottom of the 8th, Gene Woodling singled to center field and advanced to third when Hank Bauer misplayed an Al Smith fly ball to right. Yankees pitcher Tom Sturdivant intentionally walked Vic Wertz to load the bases. After striking out rookie Roger Maris, Score’s best friend and road-trip roommate Rocky Colavito stepped to the plate.

Rocky drew a walk which forced in Wertz. This 2 – 1 score would hold up as Lemon retired the Yankee side in order in the 9th.

After the game, McDougald was distraught. “If Herb loses the sight in his eye, I’m going to quit this game,” he said in the locker room.

McDougald knew the pain of a line-drive injury first hand. Two years prior, he was hit in the head during batting practice. After a few days out with a concussion, he returned to baseball, but would eventually lose his hearing as a result.

Score attempted a return to baseball in 1958, but was only ever marginally successful. He recorded only 17 more wins from 1958 to 1962. Bob Lemon later said, “He became mechanical. He wasn’t bringing it like he used to, not holding anything back.”

Most Indians fans of my generation remember Herb Score only as the humorous sometimes contradictory radio announcer. Herb called Tribe games from 1968 to 1997.

Legendary Cavs announcer Joe Tait once quipped “Herb Score has probably watched more bad baseball than anyone in the history of the game.

Some announcers are known for the vivid picture that they paint with their words or for famous catch phrases. Listening to Herb was more like watching baseball with an older uncle. It was pleasant and comfortable, if not always accurate.

He could go innings–sometimes it seemed like days–without giving an update on the score. In his defense, for most of his tenure the Indians were usually losing. Repeated phrases turned into a kind of shorthand. A pitch in the dirt was mumbled “downtoolow” in a certain cadence that confused my mother. Once she asked me how long Don Cheelow played for the Indians, since she heard his name so much.

Herb Score and Tom Hamilton – 1990

The most famous Score-ism captures the almost meditative quality of listening to a Herb Score broadcast:

“It’s a long drive. Is it fair? Is it foul? It is!”