Ex-Pitcher Steve Gromek Dies at 82
CLEVELAND (AP) - Steve Gromek, a right-handed pitcher who won 123 games in a 17-year major league career and helped the Cleveland Indians win the 1948 World Series, has died. He was 82.
Gromek, who suffered from complications from diabetes, a stroke and pneumonia, died March 12, according to his wife, Jeanette.
Gromek won the fourth game of the '48 World Series, beating the Boston Braves and ace Johnny Sain. The victory gave Cleveland a 3-1 lead in the Series, which the Indians won in six games.
A game highlight was captured in a photograph when Larry Doby, who became the first black to play in the American League in 1947, and Gromek hugged after Doby hit a home run.
The widely used photograph ``was considered a landmark in what was then only the second year of the integration of baseball,'' according to ``The Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia'' by Russell Schneider.
Doby said he would ``always cherish that photograph and the memory of Gromek hugging me and me hugging him, because it proved that emotions can be put into a form not based on skin color.''
Gromek was 123-108 in his career with Cleveland and Detroit. He had 904 strikeouts and a career ERA of 3.41.
Gromek started his career as a shortstop but switched to pitcher in 1940 after sustaining a left shoulder injury that hampered his hitting throughout his career.
Gromek's best season was 1945, when he went 19-9. He didn't win 10 games again until 1950, when he went 10-7.
Gromek was 1-1 in five games for Cleveland in 1953 when he was traded to Detroit in June of that season.
He went 45-41 with the Tigers, including 18-16 in 1954. He retired in 1957.
Jeanette Gromek said Tuesday that her husband was buried at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Southfield, Mich., after a private church service.