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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | August 20, 2017

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Countdown To Pitchers And Catchers: #31 Steve Olin

Today continues our countdown to the start of Indians pitchers and catchers reporting to Goodyear, Arizona on February 20. We’ll count down the days, profiling a former Indian who wore the corresponding number. Some players will be memorable, others just our favorites and some, the only one we could find who wore that number. Today, we remember the short career of Steve Olin.

By Christine Bailey

Many young tribe fans may not recognize the name Steve Olin. However, for those who remember the name, may say he was a rising relief pitcher well on the way of making a name for himself in the majors. Even though I was very young when Steve Olin played for Cleveland, I do remember him.

The main reason I remember Olin is because he was a submarine styled pitcher. Obviously I did not know the correct term at the time. I was only 5 to 8 years of age when he played, but his style of pitching fascinated me. I remember watching games with my dad, and I would instantly sit myself in front of the TV when he came out. At games I would attend with my family, at that age I had a short attention span and really would not pay that much attention to the game. However, the moment I saw him come out of the pen, my focus was on the mound. It was not until I was around eight years old, when I started hearing people say that Olin was an underdog. By hearing that and being able to comprehend what it meant, only made my fascination turn to appreciation for Steve Olin.

Olin was drafted in 1987 in the 16th round draft pick, and played with the Burlington Indians. With Burlington he had a 4-4 record, 2.35 ERA and 7 saves. He made is major league debut for the Cleveland Indians on July 29, 1989. During his time with the Cleveland Indians, he played total of 195 games, pitched 273 innings, with 48 saves, and an ERA of 3.10. On September 9, 1992 he posted his final career win against the Milwaukee Brewers. Olin had won the game for Cleveland after the Indians scored two runs in the bottom of the 9th. Sadly, this would be the last time fans would ever see Steve Olin pitch in a Cleveland Indians uniform.

On March 22, 1993 on an off day during spring training, Olin was killed in boat accident on Little Lake Nellie in Clermont, Florida. On that fateful day, he and two other pitchers, Tim Crews and Bob Ojeda boarded an 18-foot open-air bass boat. The boat ran head-high into a new dock extending some 220-250 feet into the lake killing Olin and Crews. Steve Olin died instantly, Tim Crews died at an area hospital the next morning. The lone survivor of the spring training tragedy Bob Ojeda suffered from head lacerations, he retired from baseball in 1994. The accident was the first death of active major league players since Thurman Munson in 1979.

In 1995 when the Cleveland Indians clinched the Central Division, a song called, “The Dance,” by Garth Brooks was played. The song was a favorite of Steve Olin, and it was meant to be a tribute to the players and their families. It was part of a promise to never forget them. Mike Hargrove, who was the manager of the Indians at the time, had asked the song be played when the Indians clinched the division title.