Henry Eugene Bearden
Born: Sept. 5, 1920 in Lexa, Ark.
Died: March 18, 2004 in Alexander City, Ala.
Debut: 1947 | Pos: P
H: 6'3" | W: 204 | B: L | T: L
>> Visit the Gene Bearden biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
Gene Bearden, a pitcher whose best season came as a rookie in 1948, died on March 18, 2004 in Alexander City, Ala. He was 83.
Bearden debuted with the Indians on May 10, 1947. He pitched a third of a inning that season in a single game. However, great things would come for Bearden in 1948.
That season, he was 20-7 and led the league with a 2.43 ERA in 229.2 innings pitched. He was a star in a pitching staff that included future Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Bob Lemon and Satchel Paige.
Bearden won his 20th game in the one-game playoff with the Red Sox for the American League Pennant. He had been picked by manager Lou Boudreau to start the game on one day's rest and Bearden pitched a five-hitter.
In the 1948 World Series, he started Game 3 and allowed just five hits to the Braves in a 2-0 victory. He also pitched in Game 6, relieving Lemon in the eighth inning. Bearden got the final five outs and picked up a save.
Bearden, however, lost out on Rookie of the Year honors in 1948 to Alvin Dark of the Braves.
"Indians fans will always remember his contributions to the team's last World Series title in 1948," said team owner Larry Dolan in a statement. "His victory in the 1948 American League playoff game against Boston still ranks as one of the greatest wins in franchise history."
His pitching career, however, fell off sharply after the 1948 season. He won eight games in 1949, the most he would win in a season over the rest of his career.
In 1950, the Indians put him on waivers and he was claimed by Washington. A year later, he pitched for Detroit. In 1952, he was a member of the Browns and he finished out his career with the White Sox in 1953.
He finished 45-38 in his career with a 3.96 ERA in 788.1 innings pitched.