Sunday, March 6, 2011

1954 Cleveland Indians

Best Team Ever?
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.

__ TO 29 C Jim Hegan CLE
__ BO 21 1B Vic Wertz BAL
__ BO 68 2B Bobby Avila CLE
__ TO 15 3B Al Rosen CLE
__ BO 36 SS George Strickland CLE
__ TO 248 LF Al Smith CLE
__ TO 70 CF Larry Doby CLE
__ TO 159 RF Dave Philley CLE
__ TO 92 LF Wally Westlake CLE

Starting Pitchers
__ BO 164 SP Early Wynn CLE
__ BO 100 SP Mike Garcia CLE
__ BO 196 SP Bob Lemon CLE
__ BO 20 SP Art Houtteman CLE
__ BO 132 SP Bob Feller CLE

Relief Pitchers

CL Ray Narleski

RP Don Mossi

RP Hal Newhouser

Other Players

3B Rudy Regalado

SS Sam Dente
__ TO 178 1B Bill Glynn CLE

IF Hank Majeski

LF Dave Pope

C Hal Naragon
__ BO 148 UT Dale Mitchell CLE
__ BO 184 C Mickey Grasso CLE
__ TO 23 PH Luke Easter CLE
__ TO 199 1B Rocky Nelson CLE
__ BO 52 C Joe Ginsberg CLE
__ BO 85 PH Jim Dyck BAL

LF Bob Kennedy
__ BO 4 RP Bob Hooper CLE
__ TO 81 RP Dave Hoskins CLE

RP Bob Chakales

RP Jose Santiago

RP Dick Tomanek

Minor Leagues
__ BO 212 MN Owen Friend CLE

__ DD 16 MG Al Lopez CLE
__ TO 160 CO Red Kress CLE


  1. I really enjoy these posts!

  2. Thanks...Let me you like this because I am not as stuck to a writing format, which I think I backed myself into a corner with reviewing the 1983 sets. It helps me write something when I can't think of anything for some middle of the road Astros team, for example, but does make reading it rather boring.

    Or maybe is it just the subject matter itself in 1954, as it is covering a long forgotten season and sets that most modern collectors may not know a lot about.

    Just asking as I am trying to improve my writing skills with this to make it more interesting.