With tonight’s 7-2 thrashing of the Chicago Cubs, the Cleveland Indians are now up 3-1 and are one win away from their first World Series victory since 1948. They can close out the Series tomorrow in Wrigley Field and teams up 3-1 have a 40-41 record in Game 5.
Fortunately for the Tribe, if they lose they have Games 6 and 7 at home in Cleveland.
This begs the question: how has Cleveland fared in past clinching moments? They are 2-2.
Cleveland Indians v. Brooklyn Dodgers
Cleveland faced the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1920 World Series in the next to last year of the best 5 of 9 games format. The Series is most notable for its wild Game 5 which featured the only World Series triple play, the first World Series grand slam and the first World Series home run by a pitcher. The Indians won the game 8-1 to take a 3-2 series lead.
This would be the last World Series until 1980 (Philadelphia Phillies v Kansas City Royals) to feature two franchises that had not previously won a championship.
After a 1-0 win in Game 6, the Indians had their first opportunity to clinch a World Series before 27,525 in Cleveland’s Dunn Field. The Indians did not disappoint, winning 3-0 as Indians pitcher Stan Coveleski shut the Dodgers out for his third win of the Series.
The Indians won the series in memory of their former shortstop Ray Chapman, who had been killed earlier in the season when struck in the head by a pitched ball.
Cleveland Indians v Boston Braves
The Indians reached the 1948 World Series by winning a one-game playoff against the Boston Red Sox thus depriving Boston of a subway series. It was the first World Series to be televised on a national network.
Cleveland took a 3-1 series lead over the Braves and sought to clinch their second title in Game 5 before 86,288 fans. The Braves pounced Indians ace Bob Feller for 7 runs en route to an 11-5 win. Satchel Paige pitched 2/3rds of an inning in relief for Tribe, making him the first black pitcher to take the mound in the World Series.
In Game 6 in Boston, Eddie Robinson’s single in the 8th inning put Cleveland up 4-1 and the Tribe held on to win 4-3 for their second and last World Series to date.
The Braves would get revenge in the 1995 World Series, beating the Indians 4-2.
Cleveland Indians v Florida Marlins
Nearly 50 years after their last chance to clinch the World Series, Cleveland faced the Florida Marlins in Game 7 before 67,204 fans in Miami. The Indians took a 2-1 lead into the 9th inning and were four strikes away from winning when Charles Johnson singled to put runners at first and second. A Craig Counsel sacrifice fly sent the game into extra innings.
The Marlins were threatening in the 11th, with bases loaded and two outs when Édgar Rentería’s single won the game and the Series for the Marlins. With the win, the Marlins became the first Wild Card team to win the World Series.