Player-manager Lou Boudreau is selected the American League Most Valuable Player. Boudreau had almost been traded to the St. Louis Browns earlier in the year, but protests by fans kept Lou in Cleveland. He would manage the Tribe for two more seasons.
1945 Cleveland ace Bob Feller returns from the Navy and attracts a crowd of 46,477, who watch him strike out 12 and yield only four hits in a 4-2 win over Detroit’s Hal Newhouser. He will get nine starts during the remainder of the year, including a one-hitter and a pair of four-hitters.
1975 Cleveland’s Dennis Eckersley, in his first MLB start, hurls a three-hit shutout in leading the Indians over the Oakland Athletics 6-0. Later in his career, he will become a Hall of Fame relief pitcher.
1981 Len Barker pitches the ninth perfect game in the 20th century. The Indians righty hurls the 3-0 perfecto over the Blue Jays before just 7,290 fans on a rainy night in Cleveland. Barker, the 1980 strikeout leader in the A.L., fans 11 Jays.
1995 David Bell makes his MLB debut for the Indians in a 14-7 victory over the Tigers. His appearance makes the Bells, with his father Buddy and grandfather Gus, the second three-generation family in MLB history (the Boones were the first).
The Red Sox sell Smokey Joe Wood, his arm spent at 26, to the Cleveland Indians for $15,000. He will become an outfielder after one last, losing start on the mound, and play five more years. His batting “line” for the Tribe over 470 games would be .297/.374/.431
The St. Louis Browns sign Satchel Paige. The 45-year-old pitcher had been out of MLB since last pitching for the Indians in 1949. In 1971, twenty years to the day, Paige is nominated for the Hall of Fame. On June 10 the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues will formally select the fireballer for induction.
After 9 years, the Cleveland Indians fire manager Lou Boudreau in spite of fan protest. Boudreau’s overall winning percentage is .529, but he won 92 games in a fourth-place finish. Al Lopez, who managed Double-A Minneapolis since 1948, takes over with a 2-year contract.