Edwards Forgotten as a Player and a Manager
Doc Edwards had a short stint as a player for the Cleveland Indians in the 1960s. However, he may be best remembered for his short stint with the Tribe in the late 1980s. Edwards has the dubious distinction of being an Indians flash in the pan as both a player and manager.
Edwards was signed by the Indians as an amateur free agent in 1958. He made his Cleveland debut on April 21, 1962 as a backup catcher. By the middle of 1963, the Tribe had traded Edwards to the Kansas City Royals.
In all, the reserve backstop played in 63 games for the club that made him a professional baseball player. Hit three home runs, with nine RBI and batted .270. It was not a very memorable career in an Indians uniform. From 1963 to 1970, the future manager bounced around Kansas City, the Yankees and Philadelphia. He also spent several years as a minor leaguer. Edwards never was a regular starter. He retired at the age of 33 with a career 317 games played, 15 taters, 87 RBI and .238 average. He was best on the defensive side of things with a .986 field percentage. He also threw out 30 percent of would-be base stealers, proving to be the early version of today’s Lou Marson.
It was almost two decades later Edwards returned to Cleveland as the bench boss. Today’s Cleveland fan likely remembers the name for that reason, if it all. Edwards took over the Tribe in the middle of a disappointing 1987 campaign. Before that season Sports Illustrated tabbed the Tribe as a World Series team. Instead, the squad that went 84-78 the prior season and held a good deal of promise, got off to a dismal 31-56 start. The poor first half cost manager Pat Corrales his job and Edwards was brought in. Cleveland went 30-45 the rest of the way, finishing 61-101.
Edwards guided the Indians to a bit of turnaround in 1988, finishing 17 games better, at 78-84. Further improvement did not come in 1989. Cleveland sat at 65-78 through 143 games. Tribe brass decided that was not good enough and made the move to unseat Edwards. John Hart, gained fame as Cleveland’s successful general manager in the 1990s, replaced him for the final 18 contests.
The said thing for Edwards may be the 1988 season was actually his shining moment with the Indians. A record, even at six games below .500, was decent for a club that was awful for the better part of the 70s and 80s. Edwards will go down as the direct opposite of Mike Hargrove, who was solid player and exceptional manager for the Indians. At least Edwards can be remembered for being sparse remembered as a player AND manager for one team. That, in itself, is quite a feat.
Photo: Yahoo Sports