Remembering Indians #11 on 11/11/11
Mike B. | On 11, Nov 2011
Several wannabe numerologists have made a big deal about today being 11/11/11, including weddings and other memorable events being scheduled for today. While November 11 does not provide too many memories for the Cleveland Indians, it is the off season, they have had three notable #11’s in the last 25 seasons.
Doug Jones wore #11 for four seasons from 1988-1991. Jones, one of the Indians most notable closers of all time, used a change up to close games. Jones threw different variations of slow, slower and even more slow to baffle hitters. His change up was good enough to record 119 saves and three All-Star appearances while wearing the jersey. After the 1992 season, one that saw Jones struggle, he moved on to Houston, but he did return in 1998 to help the Indians make their fourth straight postseason run.
Before Jones could use jersey #11 to help the Tribe reach the playoffs in 1998, Paul Sorrento was using the number to help build the foundation of the Indians of the 1990s. Sorrento was acquired from the Minnesota Twins on March 28, 1992, for Curtis Leskanic and Oscar Munoz. He used #11 to hit 75 home runs in four seasons with the Tribe, including his best season 1995, when he hit 25 home runs and 79 runs batted in. Sorrento played first base and helped the Tribe make the postseason for the first time 41 years. After the 1995 season he signed as a free agent with the Seattle Mariners.
After Sorrento vacated the jersey at the end of 1995 no one consistently wore the number again until 2002, when Matt Lawton found the digits on his back. Lawton was acquired with Alex Escobar and Jerrod Riggan from the New York Mets for Roberto Alomar and Mike Bacsik. Lawton immediately signed a lucrative four year, $27 million contract with the Tribe and began his downward spiral as a hitter. Lawton hit .236 in 2002 and instead of being a product of a retooling process for the Tribe, became a reason for rebuilding. Lawton was finally traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 2004 season.
While none of the three players may be as memorable as the day 11/11/11, each have their distinctions in Indians lore from the last 25 seasons. One an All-Star, another a member of the best Indians team of the last half century and finally a bust resulting in the end of an era.
Photo: Associated Press