7. ONE-GAME AL PLAYOFF, 1948, CLEVELAND AT BOSTON

There have been just two one-game playoffs in the history of the American League. Both were played at Fenway Park. Both were lost by the Red Sox.

That's right. Both.

This was the first one-gamer. Cleveland and Boston were tied at 96-58 after the '48 season, so they needed to play a tiebreaker to determine who would advance to the Series. With hitters like Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, and Vern Stephens, Boston was a prohibitive favorite, and Sox manager Joe McCarthy only needed to decide on a starter — well-rested veteran Ellis Kinder (18-5), or rookie sensation Mel Parnell (15-8), a hard-throwing southpaw.

Of course, we're talking about the Red Sox. So it's perfectly logical that McCarthy played a hunch and pitched journeyman reliever Denny Galehouse (8-8).

To this day nobody knows why. The old Yankee manager later claimed that Galehouse was well rested, which makes sense because Denny hadn't pitched that much during the season — because he wasn't very good. A better explanation is that McCarthy, 61, was going somewhat senile at this point, as he proved when he butchered the 1949 pennant race and handed first place to the Yankees. In any case, the Indians pounded McCarthy's hunch en route to an 8-3 victory.

POSTSCRIPT:Now you know why all Red Sox fans over the age of 55 scream out in agony whenever they drive by a Denny's.


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