Today we celebrate the the 1954 Cleveland Indians and their American League record 111 wins which got them to the World Series to face the New York Giants:
Based on a balanced attack of both hitting and pitching, the Indians
went on to break the 1927 New York Yankees then-record of 110 wins, and
not until 1998 when the Yankees took home their 112th victory on September 25th (a game in which I was an attendee!) would any team match the ‘Tribe’s accomplishment.
First off, when you have a pitching staff led by three future Hall of
Famers in Bob Feller, Early Wynn and Bob Lemon, you can’t go wrong!
Throw in another Hall of Fame pitcher who was at the tail-end of his
career in Hal Newhouser, who put in a nice season, as well as others
like Don Mossi, Mike Garcia and Art Houtteman, and you can see why the
team always had a chance to win a game.
From the offensive side, the Indians were also stacked, with batting
champ Bobby Avila (who batted .341 that year), Al Rosen and future Hall
of Famer Larry Doby among others, helping the team finally break the
grip of the Bronx, snapping the Yankees five-year reign as not only
American League champs but World champs as well.
Sadly for them they could not carry their winning ways in the World
Series, bowing the the eventual World Champion New York Giants and a kid
named Willie Mays in four straight.