"Tribal Warfare": Listen To The 1948 Radio Broadcasts Of The Cleveland Indians-Boston Braves World Series

A quote from the radio broadcast of the 1948 Indians-Braves World Series
  • A quote from the radio broadcast of the 1948 Indians-Braves World Series

The Cleveland Indians beat the Boston Braves to win their last World Series in 1948 and, man, the radio broadcaster had a field day with the matchup of two teams with Native American-themed names. The series was "tribal warfare," their stadiums were "wigwams," and Cleveland would be "smoking the peace pipe" if they keep Boston "penned up in the reservation" unless their "chief medicine man" comes up with the "proper potion" prior to game five, according to announcer Mel Allen. Broadcasting standards really were different 65 years ago.

Audio from two games of the 1948 World Series - games one and five, the two games the Indians lost in the six-game series - popped up on Youtube today and they're well-worth a listen for nostalgic Cleveland sports fans, and those interested in some good ole' fashion racial stereotyping. And while you're listening, open this recent story about the Indians phasing out Chief Wahoo, and Scene's takedown of the racist logo.

GAME 1: Braves 1 - Indians 0 (played in Boston). Bob Feller pitched a shutout into the eight inning, but got the loss.

Transcript of the game preview (1 minute, 22 seconds in):

Yes ladies and gentlemen, it's been said many times in jest that the country could or should be given back to the Indians, well today that quip has taken on an aura of reality, for America truly has been taken by the redskins. The Cleveland Indians and the Boston Braves, many times have these warriors been to the well through the years, but it's been quite a long time between thirst-quenching pennant drafts... The warriors from the Lake Erie reservation, the Cleveland Indians, have gone hunting, but wanting for an American League flag since 1920 when they knocked over the Brooklyn Dodgers in the fall classic... And today our wigwam is pitched on the bank of the Charles River...

GAME 5: Braves 11 - Indians 5 (played in Cleveland). The Indians lost in front of a record 86,288 fans, and Satchel Paige became the first African American player to pitch in the World Series (Bob Feller got his second WS loss).

Transcript of the game preview (44 seconds in):

In this 1948 World Series, ladies and gentlemen, tribal warfare, it appears in this tribal warfare that the Clevelands have the Indians sign on their embattled brethren, the Braves, and with it, most experts figure a bright chance of smoking the peace pipe long about two hours or so from now, because that's all that will be left to do if the Clevelands continue to keep the Bostons penned up on the reservation, so to speak. However, the Bostons chief medicine man hopes that he's come up with the proper potion today that will send the Clevelands fleeing back to the banks of the Charles River, where the Braves figure to be more powerful in their own wigwam...


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Doug Brown

Doug Brown is a staff writer at Scene with a passion for public records laws and investigative reporting. A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., he has an M.A. in journalism from the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a B.A. in political science from Hiram College. Prior to joining Scene,...
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