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The 1948 Project – 5 August 1948 Whisper’s from Washington
Gene Bearden wins but is outpitched by Ray Scarborough in a mound duel. Cleveland turns an amazing six double plays, crippling Washington’s offense. Ray Scarborough took his sixth loss, scattering two runs in his seven innings of work. Both runs earned by the long ball. Jim Hegan and Bearden back to back in the third. Mickey Vernon is now batting seventh; he was 0 for 2 and now batting .268.
Player Profile – Mickey Vernon
It is hard to explain the large drop off in Vernon’s batting last summer. Morris Siegel, veteran Washington sports correspondent interviews Mickey and asks him about a subject all Washington is debating. Vernon states, “I’ve done everything, changed my stance, shortened and then lengthened my grip, everything you’re supposed to do in a slump, but still no base hits.” Vernon makes it clear that he’s not trying to alibi his way out of his slump, but he thinks the efforts to make a pull hitter out of him contributed to his batting delinquency. “When I led the league, I hit the ball where it was pitched,” he said. “I was pushing outside pitches into left field and pulling inside stuff to right field. However, I’m trying to pull everything to right. I’m no power hitter. I never was. I’ve never hit over nine home runs in my life, but at the same time I always drove in my share of runs. To my way of thinking, a base hit to left field is just as good as a base hit to right field.
Vernon on present day pitchers, “Some of the pitchers seem easier to hit than then. But I just don’t seem to be able to hit them. It may be that I’m losing confidence in myself. You’re bound to when you go up there time after time and come back without a hit. It’s a psychological letdown.”
Mickey feels his inadequacies worse than anyone, “If I were just having a mediocre year, around .280, maybe we’d be much higher in the standings than we are today. I’ve left an awful lot of runners on base, but what can I do about it?” Vernon days he doesn’t resent Manager Joe Kuhel’s shifting him around the line-up. “Kuhel can bet me ninth, if he wants to. That doesn’t bother me. I’ll try and hustle as best I know however I play.” Morris Siegel, then asked another question that is on everyone’s lips. Do you think a change of scenery would help” Mickey responded, “I won’t answer that.” Siegel then writes, “It could be that is the answer.”
Despite the drop off in his batting, Vernon is a prized possession of the Senators. How prized was made known to all in early 1947 when the Yankees came knocking. The Yankees had given up on trying to acquire Hank Greenberg from the Tigers. So the Yankees offered to pay $150,000 for a major league first baseman. Although Bucky did not mention it at the time, the Yankees had previously offered Joe DiMaggio for Vernon.
Vernon hails from Marcus Hook, PA. He attended Villanova before signing with Washington in 1937. He came up in 1939 and batted .257 in 76 games. He is the most popular player on the roster for Washington and highly respected around the league. Even in the minors he exhibited the grace and style in the field that few can match and is considered one of the best, if not the best fielder, at first base.
Did you know? Vernon’s first major league hit was off crusty Lefty Grove. Standing on first Grove looked over at the young rookie and snarled, “That will be your last hit off me today.” Grove proceeded to strike him out every time Mickey came to bat.
The Mickey Vernon Sports Museum is well worth a visit. Location and other information is listed below.
Mickey Vernon Sports Museum
Granite Run Mall
1067 W. Baltimore Pike
Media, PA 19063
The 1948 Project
The 1948 Project will be a winter long project Karen and Kevin Flynn will be running in conjunction with a bigger project the folks over at DidTheTribeWinLastNight.com are running this winter.
Did The Tribe Win Last Night is a wonderful website that covers everything about the Cleveland Indians baseball club. Starting September 22, 2013 they are going to start winter project where they are retelling of the Cleveland Indians 1948 World Series Season.