Indians in search of Cleveland's second major championship of 2016

Cleveland sports fans have suffered without a major championship for years. But that's all changing.

In June, the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers won their first basketball title and now the Indians, after beating the Blue Jays for the American League pennant, are four wins away from winning their first World Series since 1948.

The Indians beat the Boston Braves in the '48 World Series with future Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Lemon winning two games. Another future Hall of Famer, Bob Feller, lost two games.

Cleveland's appearance in the 1948 World Series was significant because it marked the first time two African American players - Larry Doby and Satchel Paige - had been part of a major league championship.

After Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in 1947, Doby became the second African American in baseball.

Doby was a mainstay on the Indians team. He hit .318 with a home run in the World Series.

Paige, believed to be in his 40s, was signed in July after a tryout in front of Indians manager and shortstop Lou Boudreau.

Paige won six games in the second half of the season and recorded two outs in the World Series.

The Indians also lost the World Series in 1995 to Atlanta and 1997 to Florida, with the Marlins' Edgar Renteria getting the game-ending RBI single in Game 7.

Cleveland won 111 games in 1954, but was swept by the New York Giants in the World Series.

Here are things to know about the Indians:

* The Indians' manager is Terry Francona, who managed Boston to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. Terry's father, Tito, played six years for the Indians and was an All-Star in 1961. Terry played for the Indians in 1988. Tito also played his first big league season with the Orioles.

* The Indians are the only team in the majors without a losing streak longer than three games this season.

* The Indians won the AL ERA title, but their rotation was riddled with injuries. Corey Kluber had a quadriceps injury. Carlos Carrasco is out with a hand injury and Danny Salazar missed the first two rounds with a forearm strain. And Trevor Bauer cut his right pinkie finger on a drone propeller and had to leave Game 3 of the ALCS in the first inning.

* The Indians are known for having Plan A, B, C and D. When the postseason began, they assigned 25 players to their spring training site in Goodyear, Ariz., to play games, just in case any are needed. Turns out they needed soft-tossing Ryan Merritt, who started the clinching game in the ALCS in Toronto. Merritt had only four big league games and 11 innings on his resume.

* Francona says Kluber, Bauer and Josh Tomlin will start the first three games for the Indians, and Francona is thinking of using Salazar for Game 4, even though Salazar has been injured and hasn't pitched since Sept. 9.

* The Indians' ALCS MVP was lefty reliever Andrew Miller, a pitcher they got from the Yankees for a list of blue chip prospects in a July trade. Miller was the ALCS MVP after pitching 11 2/3 shutout innings with 21 strikeouts in the postseason. The Indians have Miller for two more seasons. In the World Series, he'll be pitching against his former Yankees teammate, Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman.

* The Indians in July also acquired catcher Jonathan Lucroy from Milwaukee, but he vetoed the trade and eventually wound up in Texas. Now he's at home while Roberto Perez, who took over full-time when Yan Gomes went on the disabled list, has handled the catching duties well in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Indians were 33-20 in games he caught and threw out 46 percent of potential basestealers, and Indians pitchers said he could have been their ALCS MVP.

* Two other midseason acquisitions worked out in the postseason. Brandon Guyer was 3-for-8 in the postseason, while Coco Crisp chipped in two home runs and solid defense.

* Indians weird stat: The team was 20-7 in one-run games at home, 7-14 on the road.

* The Indians' best young player is shortstop Francisco Lindor, 22, who is known for his overall skill and enthusiasm. He hit .301 with 15 home runs and 19 stolen bases.

* Cleveland was without their best hitter - outfielder Michael Brantley was limited to 11 games - but their offense still had five players with at least 75 RBI. The list includes Jason Kipnis, Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana. It's the first time they've had that kind of balance since 2005. ... The Indians have four players with at least 15 home runs and another, rookie Tyler Naquin, with 14.

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