Posts By Bob Toth
Former Cleveland Indians outfielder and seven-year Major Leaguer Al Luplow passed away on Thursday, December 28.
Luplow joined the Indians organization in 1959, when he signed his first professional contract after becoming a multi-sport star and an All-American at St. Andrew High School in Saginaw, Michigan, and suiting up for Michigan State University as both a baseball and football player. He was believed to be gifted enough to have played football professionally, but baseball became his path through much of the 1960s.
While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 88 days
If you have a hard time remembering who Rene Gonzales was or when and where he played, don’t fret. His stay in Cleveland was short, but in his time on the shores of Lake Erie, he earned a special claim to fame by becoming the first Cleveland player to don the number 88 on his back in a Major League game.
While plenty of focus has been given to the big name free agents departing the Cleveland Indians organization this offseason, there has been plenty of movement down on the farm for the club’s minor league free agent class.
The names are nowhere near as big as Carlos Santana, Bryan Shaw, and Joe Smith, who have all signed lucrative contracts in Philadelphia, Colorado, and Houston, respectively, nor are they as big as Jay Bruce, who is still testing the free agent waters while waiting for the right deal, but the moves cut into some of the existing depth in the team’s minor league system.
Longtime Major Leaguer and accomplished collegiate baseball coach Jerry Kindall passed away on Sunday at the age of 82 after suffering a major stroke on Thursday.
Kindall started his MLB career with big shoes to fill and lofty expectations, as the “bonus baby” had the daunting task of replacing Ernie Banks at shortstop for the Chicago Cubs (Kindall cracked the lineup for his first start at shortstop in 1956 when Banks’ consecutive start streak ended at 424 games and later took over for Banks when persistent knee issues forced the future Hall of Famer to relocate to left field). A light hitter in even his best big league seasons, he spent parts of five different seasons in the Majors for the Cubs between 1956 and 1961 and was even credited with referring to the team’s home as the “friendly confines of Wrigley Field” before Chicago dealt him to the Cleveland Indians in late November of 1961.