Gromek had pitched mostly in relief for the 1948 Indians, going 9-3 (2.84), but started the pivotal fourth game of the ’48 World Series against the Braves, and threw a complete-game, 2-1 victory. The picture of Gromek hugging teammate Larry Doby, who had homered, is a landmark in the annals of baseball’s battle to integrate successfully.
Gromek relied on a fastball, change, and knuckle-curve. He played his first two pro seasons as an infielder, but made it to Cleveland in his first year pitching, 1941, by going 14-2 in the Michigan State League. He led the Indians with a 19-9 record in 1945. Traded to Detroit in 1943, the native of Hamtramck (just a few miles from Tiger Stadium) led the 1954 Tigers with 18 wins.