Taubensee’s Flash Started and Ended with the Tribe
This week’s Flash in a Pan completed the cycle. No, I don’t mean he hit a single, double, triple and home run in one game. This athlete started his career in Cleveland and played nine seasons elsewhere before finishing his career back in an Indians jersey. He may also be more well-known for being involved in a trade that brought Cleveland one of its most beloved players.
This week, the player is Ed Taubensee.
Taubensee was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the sixth round of the 1986 draft. However, Taubensee’s career in the Reds system never really took off, as he hit below .200 in two of his five seasons there. The Oakland A’s chose him in the Rule 5 draft after the 1990 season, but he was placed on waivers before the 1991 season started. That’s where the Indians came in.
The Indians claimed Taubensee off waivers on April 4, 1991. Despite spending most of the season in Triple-A, Taubensee made his debut early in the season on May 18. He was sent down in June, but was back again with the September call-ups. He finally got his first career hit on September 23 against the Detroit Tigers. It was after he had started his career with 12 hitless games. He finished the 1991 campaign with a .242 average and eight RBI. That offseason, the Indians dealt him and Willie Blair to the Houston Astros for Dave Rohde and a little-known prospect named Kenny Lofton. I think it’s pretty safe to say the Indians got the better end of that deal.
Taubensee would spend the next two and a half seasons withHouston. He struggled in his first season with the Astros, hitting only .222 with five homers and 28 RBI in 104 games. In 1993 he saw a bit of an improvement for Taubensee, as he raised the average to .250 in 94 games. In 1994, his season with the Astros lasted five games. He was traded on April 19 to the team that originally drafted him for Marty Lister and Ross Powell.
Taubensee’s best years would come with the Reds from 1994-2000. In 694 games with Cincinnati, he hit .286 with 77 homers and 330 RBI. His best year came in 1999 when he hit .311 with 21 home runs and 87 RBI. It didn’t get him selected to the All-Star Game or in the MVP voting, but it did help the Reds make it to a one-game playoff against the New York Mets before his team fell. His last season in theQueenCitywas 2000, and his numbers declined greatly. His average dropped to .267 while only hitting six home runs and 24 RBI. That type of drop off made Taubensee expendable, and the Reds promptly shipped him to their intrastate rivals.
In 2001, back with the Indians, Taubensee hit .250 with three home runs and 11 RBI in 52 games, playing primarily as a backup to Einar Diaz. Taubensee’s lasting legacy in Cleveland was the iconic image of him lifting Lofton – the very man he was traded for almost 10 years before – over his shoulder after the miraculous 12-run comeback against the Seattle Mariners. That would be Taubensee’s last season in the Majors, as injuries would take their toll on him. He retired with a career line of .273 with 94 home runs and 419 RBI.
Taubensee was a convenient piece for the Indians in his brief time with the Tribe. For a little-known catcher to be dealt for one of the most popular Indians in recent memory, and then help provide a memorable image years later, Taubensee certainly left his mark on the Indians.