Monday, August 26, 2013

Record Indians crowd spent big on souvenirs

Well on their way to the World Championship, on June 20, 1948, the Cleveland Indians set a new record for major league attendance at Municipal Stadium.

On Father's Day, 82,781 paying customers turned out for a double header with the Philadelphia A's.

The home crowd got its money's worth as the Tribe won both ends. Bob Feller notched a 4-3 victory in the opener and Bob Lemon won the second game 10-0.

Even the A's fans in the crowed had a highlight to cheer. Leading off the first inning of the first game, A's shortstop Eddie Joost hit a home run . . . a long home run. His blow just cleared the foul pole in left field and landed in the upper deck. 

Joost became only the seventh major leaguer to homer into the upper deck, joining Pat Seerey, Rudy York, Ted Williams, George McQuinn, Dale Mitchell and Jeff Heath.

Besides the on-field action, fans that day enjoyed hearing from Bob Hope, who did a stint as guest announcer. Hope was in a jovial mood and why not? As a stockholder in the team, every click of the turnstile was money in his pocket.

Also profiting from the record crowd was Cleveland Concession Company, which enjoyed the largest day in its history with record sales of $41,533.22. 

According to a newspaper account, the fans purchased 70,000 hot dogs and 120,000 bottles of beer and soft drinks.

Baseball memorabilia collectors might be interested to know that the CCC also reported sales of 38,000 programs, 1,293 sketch books and 8,085 "clip pencils bearing player pictures."

Today, in nice condition, that 10-cent program is a $20-40 collectible. The 50-cent sketch book can bring $35-50, and the player pencil clips are about $20-30, depending on player, with Hall of Famers bringing a premium. 

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