The 1954 version of the Indians may be the best team ever not to win a World Series. They won 111 games, which was an American League record for wins in a season until the 1998 Yankees won 114 games and eventually the 2001 Seattle Mariners won 116 games to currently hold the record. Even though the '54 Indians don't currently hold the record for wins in a season, they still hold the record for best winning percentage, as they did this in the old 154 game season format. Unfortunately as good as this team was, they were swept by the Giants in the World Series and the Indians would not appear in another world series until the 1995 season.
What made this team so good? Well they had a great 1-2-3 punch with starting pitching in Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, and Mike Garcia to go with hall-of-famers Bob Feller and Hal Newhouser on the pitching staff. The offense was led by a career season by 2nd baseman Bobby Avila.
Starter and Hall-of-Fame/All-Star scores
Exclusive players to that set are in italics
Topps Regulars (6): Jim Hegan, Al Rosen, Al Smith, Larry Doby, Dave Philley, Wally Westlake
Bowman Regulars (9): Vic Wertz (shown with the Orioles), Bobby Avila, George Strickland, Larry Doby, Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, Mike Garcia, Art Houtteman, Bob Feller
Topps All-Stars & Hall-of-Famers (2): Larry Doby, Al Rosen
Bowman All-Stars & Hall-of-Famers (5): Bobby Avila, Larry Doby, Bob Feller, Mike Garcia, Bob Lemon
Moreso than the Giants, it really took both sets to get a complete set of Indians for 1954. Larry Doby was the only key player to appear in both sets. Overall Larry Doby and Luke Easter were the only two to appear in both sets. Hal Newhouser was the only hall-of-famer or all-star not represented in either set. With that said, Bowman held a big lead over Topps when trying to complete the Indians set. Even with the bench players, Bowman held a strong lead over Topps in the number of Indians in the set.
Note that Vic Wertz and Jim Dyck are placed in this checklist even though they are both shown with the Orioles in the Bowman set. Both players spent more time with the Indians in 1954.
The checklist for the Indians isn't complete without including cards from the Dan Dee set. These cards came in bags of potato chips from the Dan Dee company, which was based out of Cleveland. The Indians and nearby Pirates are represented well in this set, with a handful of players from the 3 New York based teams and Red Schoendienst from the Cardinals as well.
A card of Indians manager Al Lopez could only be found in this Dan Dee set. It is noted with DD in the checklist below. This card and a card of catcher Walker Cooper, which I will discuss when we get to the Cubs checklist are the only cards in this set that don't show up in any other set.