Last member of 1948 Cleveland Indians World Series team passes away
It’s odd the way some things work out. Just two days after the Cleveland Indians played their last game under the “Indians” moniker, the last surviving member of the 1948 World Series team, Eddie Robinson, passed away.
The 1948 World Series was of course the last title won by the franchise that now unfortunately holds the mantle for the longest active title drought in Major League Baseball. As the Cleveland Indians moniker takes it’s place in history, it seems like the final piece of that championship team did as well.
Robinson wasn’t only the last member of the ’48 team, but he was also the oldest living former major league player at the time of his passing, living to the age of 100. Born on December 15, 1920, Robinson was born just months after Cleveland’s first title and was an instrumental piece of the second.
At the age of 27 during the 1948 season, Robinson was in his third season back in the game, like many who served in the military during World War II. During that season, Robinson played 134 games for the Tribe, being the team’s primary first baseman. At the plate, he slashed a respectable .254/.307/.408 with 18 doubles, five triples, 16 home runs and 83 RBI. What might be the most surprising stat in today’s landscape is that he struck out just 42 times.
The 1948 season would prove to be Robinson’s final with Cleveland, at least for the time being. Robinson embarked on another nine seasons in baseball, playing for the Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Athletics, New York Yankees, Kansas City Athletics and Detroit Tigers before returning to Cleveland. Robinson played another 19 games with the Tribe in 1957 before playing his final four professional games with the Baltimore Orioles.
Over his career, Robinson put up a slash line of .268/.353/.440 with 172 doubles, 24 triples, 172 home runs and 723 RBI. He also never struck out more than 56 times in a single season. Robinson was selected to four All-Star games, including three straight selections from 1951-1953. He even finished 11th in the MVP voting during the 1952 season.
As for the 1948 World Series specifically, Robinson played all six games of the series for Cleveland. He logged six hits over 20 at-bats to post a .300 average. He also walked once during the series and drove in an RBI. The RBI came in game six and tallied the fourth run of the game, which would end up being the difference in the final game of the series, giving Cleveland the series win.
Bob Feller might be the most well known player from that era of Cleveland Indians baseball. Bob Lemon seemed like the hero of the series. Lou Boudreau is widely known as one of the best managers in Cleveland Indians history. Larry Doby and Satchel Paige became the first African-American players to win a World Series.
There’s no questioning the 1948 team was special. Not only was it the last Cleveland baseball team to capture the World Series title, but the added history of the team makes it even more special. The loss of Eddie Robinson makes it feel like the last piece of that historical team is gone, but all aspects of the team, and Robinson, will live on in the baseball history books.