1995 Game Recap: Nifty Fifty! Belle Hits Record Milestone in Tribe Victory—Indians 3, Royals 2
Steve Eby | On 30, Sep 2015
Throughout the 2015 season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will take a look back at the 1995 Cleveland Indians for the 20th anniversary of their fourth pennant winning season. Included will be historic game recaps, headlining stories and a ranking of the team’s most influential players that truly made 1995 The Greatest Summer Ever. Today looks back September 30, 1995.
MVP. MVP. MVP.
Tribe slugger Albert Belle put a stamp on his incredible season on Saturday afternoon by slugging his 50th homerun of the season in the Indians 3-2 victory over the Royals. The win was the 99th of the season for the Tribe, but Belle stole the headlines by becoming the first player in baseball history with 50 homeruns and 50 doubles in the same season.
To add to the accolades, Belle was the first player since Detroit’s Cecil Fielder hit 51 in 1990. He is 12th player ever and the first Indian to ever accomplish the feat and will end up as the first Indian to lead the league in homers since Rocky Colavito in 1959. His 103 extra base hits make him the first hitter since Stan Musial in 1948 to eclipse the century mark. With just one game to play, Belle will end up pacing the American League in homeruns, doubles, runs, total bases, slugging percentage and extra base hits.
“Albert, oh my gosh. He’s one of the best players to ever play,” second baseman Carlos Baerga said of his teammate. “‘You’d better get on base, bitch,’ that’s what he tells me. He is special. He comes to the ballpark ready to play every day. He wants to be the best player he can be. I feel like he has three base hits every day and one homerun. He is a special guy.”
Number 50 was a game-tying, solo shot that came in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Tribe trailing 2-1. Baerga had brought home Kenny Lofton the batter before on a groundout to bring the Tribe within one, and then Albert took Melvin Bunch 405 feet onto the homerun porch.
The ball bounced against the security building that supports the walkway from the parking garage over “Albert’s Alley” as hundreds of fans chased the historic baseball. Belle rounded the bases to a standing ovation and received not one, but two curtain calls when he returned to the dugout. Belle responded by pumping both fists strongly over his head.
Only 14 of Belle’s 50 jacks came before the All-Star break and 36 have come since. On August 1, Belle entered the day with just 19 homeruns and the 31 that he has hit since set a two-month Major League record. The 17 blasts in September tie him with Babe Ruth for the most ever for that month.
If the 1995 season was the regular 162 games instead of the strike-shortened 144 that it has become, Belle would be on pace to hit 57.
Belle’s homerun may have stolen the headlines, but it was a single by Baerga that ended up winning the game for the Tribe. Baerga walked off with a single in the bottom of the tenth with Jeromy Burnitz on third, who had pinch run for catcher Jesse Levis after a leadoff double. The 10th inning win pushed the Indians record to a perfect 12-0 in extra frames.
The Royals got both of their runs on one swing of the bat from centerfielder Tom Goodwin. Goodwin launched a two-run homerun over the right-centerfield wall in the top of the sixth against Tribe starter Mark Clark, who otherwise pitched brilliantly for Cleveland. Clark, who has struggled all season, worked six innings and surrendered just four hits and walked none. Clark did not factor in the decision, however, as rookie Alan Embree took the victory after working a scoreless 10th.
The Indians (99-44) will conclude their magical regular season on Sunday and will look for the sweep of the Royals. The Tribe will try to win 100 games for just the second time in franchise history (1954) as Charles Nagy (15-6, 4.47) takes the mound against Tom Gordon (12-11, 3.97). The final contest before the 41-year playoff drought ends can be seen on WUAB-43 or heard on WKNR-AM/1220 on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.