Posts By Vince Guerrieri
In honor of Veterans Day, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look back at one of many heroes who represented the Indians on the field and the United States on the battlefield. This story by Vince Guerrieri was originally published December 24, 2013. – BT
At first glance, Lou Brissie’s major league career doesn’t look very impressive.
Brissie, whose seven-year career included three with the Indians, went 44-48 with a 4.07 career ERA, one All-Star Game appearance and no postseason experience.
But Brissie had an amazing career just by making it to the major leagues.
Because I’m middle-aged, and have friends of similar vintage or older, the Browns laying an egg this season after being on the Sports Illustrated cover as the trendy pick to win the division – and possibly more – has brought a lot of comparisons to the “Indian Uprising” cover of 1987.
The year before, the Indians fielded a lineup with four .300 hitters and finished with a winning record for the first time in seven years. Sports Illustrated said the 1987 Indians were the best team in the American League. They went on to lose 101 games, the second 100-loss season for the Tribe in three years.
It was a bad combination of a staggering fall after elevated expectations – exactly what this season appears to be for the Browns.
A bat believed to have been used in Cleveland for one of the milestone home runs in major league history is coming to the auction block.
In Babe Ruth’s time with the Yankees, slugging records fell at a, well, record pace, and on Aug. 11, 1929, Ruth became the first major league player to hit 500 career home runs. The Yankees were playing the Indians at League Park, with its inviting short right field fence, at just 290 feet. Not even the 40-foot-tall wall could keep Ruth from popping baseballs over it. (All told, he hit 46 home runs at League Park, more than any other opposing player.)
A generation later, Indians fans held the same hopes about another manager who brought with him certain headaches but could be counted on to win: Billy Martin.
It is entirely possible we’ve seen Jason Kipnis in an Indians uniform for the last time.
Sadly, it’s more than possible.
Kipnis was lifted from Sunday’s game with wrist soreness. An MRI revealed a broken hamate, one of the carpal bones in his right wrist. The break will require surgery, shelving him for 4-6 weeks, which means even if the Indians make a deep postseason run – which seems less probable by the day – he probably won’t be able to return for the Indians this year.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on 9/23/15 by Vince Guerrieri – BT
The 1908 season – like so many since – ended in disappointment for Cleveland baseball fans.
But it was a wild ride for the last two weeks of the season.
Going into the series with the Boston Red Sox on September 17, the Naps were in second place in the American League, tied with the Detroit Tigers in the win column with 78, but with four more losses, putting them two back with 16 to play.
And then there was one.
This year’s been a rough one for members of the 1954 Indians. Pitcher Don Mossi died in July at the age of 90. Hal Naragon, who backed up Jim Hegan as catcher and returned to his native Barberton after his playing and coaching days (where the high school field is named in his honor), died at the end of August at the age of 91.
And now, Wally Westlake, who was the second-oldest living former major leaguer, has died. Westlake died Friday, according to team sources, at the age of 98. (Ironically, the second-oldest former major leaguer is now Eddie Robinson, the last living player from the last Indians team to win a World Series, in 1948.)
We knew this was coming.
The Indians were able to gain some serious ground on the Twins coming out of the All-Star Break, by fattening up their record against the league’s tomato cans. They caught up to the Twins and even took the lead briefly last month in the American League Central Division after taking three of four in Minnesota. Since then, they’ve fallen back – which wasn’t entirely unexpected. They faced a tougher schedule and the Twins faced an easier one.
Suddenly, the Indians’ offseason moves all make sense.
The Indians shed payroll, letting Michael Brantley walk and dealing away Edwin Encarnacion. (They also traded away Trevor Bauer in midseason; the return on him seems good, but the prospect of arbitration this off-season followed by free agency after next season had to be a factor.) Owner Paul Dolan is managing expectations about the Indians re-signing all-world shortstop Francisco Lindor – or at least, trying to. “Enjoy him” seems destined for Cleveland sports infamy, right up there with Ray Farmer talking about slow-brewed coffee and erstwhile top Browns pick Mike Junkin being described as a “mad dog in a meat market.”
For nearly 30 years, the property formerly home to League Park sat, mostly unused and largely unwanted, in a neighborhood that had suddenly become frightening.
But 40 years ago this week, an event was held to show what the former Indians’ home could be.
This story was originally published on December 23, 2014, as part of a series of stories by Did The Tribe Win Last Night’s Vince Guerrieri on the Indians’ 1920 season. You can find this original story and more categorized on the site under 1920: Tragedy and Triumph. – BT
After a four-game sweep by the Yankees at League Park, the Indians had watched their lead in the American League dwindle from four and a half games down to just half a game. A loss to the St. Louis Browns put the Indians half a game back of the Yankees, who were demonstrating that they didn’t need speed when they had power. The Indians were able to put an end to the five-game skid with a shutout by Bob Clark, the pitcher from Newport, Pennsylvania*, who had thrown batting practice and came on in relief in the exhibition in July against the Reds. It was Clark’s first – and only – major league win.