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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | April 23, 2018

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Posts By Vince Guerrieri

1963 Hall of Fame Inductions had a Cleveland Feel

January 31, 2018 |

This year, the Baseball Hall of Fame came calling for Jim Thome – who’ll go into Cooperstown wearing an Indians cap – and Jack Morris, whose career ended with a brief stint in Cleveland.

It’s not an uncommon occurrence to see two inductees in the same year who have played all or part of their careers with the Indians (prior to this year, it last happened in 2011, with Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven). Rarer still is three inductees from the Indians. That only happened once, in 1937, when Cy Young, Napoleon Lajoie and Tris Speaker were inducted in the second class.

But in 1963, three former players were inducted with ties to Cleveland baseball – all of whom played at League Park.
That year, only the veterans committee voted, and the inductees included Elmer Flick, Sam Rice and John Clarkson. Flick and Rice both played for the Indians, but Clarkson, a posthumous inductee, ended his career more than 70 years earlier with the Cleveland Spiders. Read More

Louis Sockalexis: Separating Fact from Myth

January 30, 2018 |

Given the high number of searches today, quite likely in light of the news of Chief Wahoo’s removal from Indians’ uniforms beginning with the 2019 season, here is a story originally penned April 15, 2015, by DTTWLN’s own Vince Guerrieri. – BT

Most Indians fans know the story of Louis Sockalexis.

The Penobscot Indian spent a short time in Cleveland playing for the city’s National League entry, the Spiders, but in a major league career that spanned 94 games, he impressed the fans and his teammates so much that fans cried out to name the team in his honor.

It’s a nice story – of dubious veracity. Read More

Hometown Boy Vosmik was Part of Indians’ ‘Million-Dollar Outfield’

January 24, 2018 |

He was plucked from the Cleveland sandlots, a son of Bohemian immigrants, and became part of the Indians’ million-dollar outfield (when that represented an outrageous sum – and not just in sports).

And although Joe Vosmik played for five major league teams, Cleveland remained his home for all his life.

Vosmik grew up in the city’s South Broadway neighborhood, just a few miles from the Indians’ home at League Park. And indeed, as a youth it seemed like he spent more time at the ballpark than he did in school, much to his parents’ chagrin. Read More

Indians ‘Coming Back with a Vengeance’

January 18, 2018 |

It wasn’t until the offseason that Terry Francona realized how important the Indians’ 22-game winning streak was.

“I honestly didn’t realize it at the time,” Francona said backstage Wednesday at the 18th annual Cleveland Sports Award. “I tell them, ‘We play today and then turn the page and move on.’ I don’t know that I took the time to enjoy it the way I should have.”

The winning streak was recognized at the awards show, as was Corey Kluber, who was named professional athlete of the year. Read More

Vizquel’s Hall Candidacy Brings Strong Feelings on Both Sides

January 10, 2018 | | One Comment

When Hall of Fame voting started, I thought Jim Thome was a slam-dunk first-ballot hall of famer – largely on the strength of his 612 (relatively untainted) home runs.

I figured Omar Vizquel, also in his first year of eligibility, would get into the Hall of Fame, but this wasn’t his year due to a crowded ballot. Chipper Jones is probably a first-ballot hall of famer too, and it sounds like Vladimir Guerrero – probably the best bad-ball hitter of his era – is finally getting the traction he needs for a plaque in Cooperstown. And of course, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens loom large over the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s voting process.

I had no idea a Vizquel hall of fame candidacy would be as controversial as it seems to have become. Read More

Fonseca Won Batting Title for Tribe Before Becoming MLB’s Movie Mogul

January 3, 2018 | | One Comment

In 1929, the season belonged to the Philadelphia Athletics. After two years of second-place finishes, the “Mackmen” – so called because of their manager, Connie Mack – won 104 games, breezing to the pennant and a five-game World Series win over the Chicago Cubs.

But the batting title – and the MVP award – belonged to a player the Indians had claimed off the discard pile just a couple years earlier.

Lew Fonseca batted .369 for an Indians team that finished a distant third, 24 games behind the Athletics and six games behind the second-place Yankees. It was a triumph for a player who had been sent to the minor leagues just three years earlier. Read More

The Governor, the Mayor, & El Presidente: Indians Show Intersection of Sports & Politics

December 27, 2017 |

This Thursday, the Alabama Secretary of State is expected to certify the results of the Dec. 12 special election, paving the way next week for Doug Jones to be sworn into the U.S. Senate.

No, not that Doug Jones. But I certainly can’t blame you for thinking that. I did – and I was hardly alone. Read More

Santana’s Departure to Philadelphia Mirrors Thome’s 15 Years Earlier

December 20, 2017 |

OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one: An Indians slugger settles in at first base after changing positions, becomes a mainstay of some quality Tribe teams, and ends up signing a fat contract in Philadelphia.

That appears to be what happened with Carlos Santana, who according to reports has signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Phillies. But it happened 15 years ago with Jim Thome, too.

Thome was drafted in the 13th round by the Indians in 1989, breaking in with the team as a third baseman as a September callup two years later. That team lost 105 games – the most losses in Indians history – but good times were just around the corner. Read More

Feller had Role in Early Players Association

December 13, 2017 |

Bob Feller pitched his way into baseball history in a 20-year career with the Indians.

But after his career was over, he made history of another kind. Read More

Kuenn a Bad Deal Coming and Going for Indians

December 6, 2017 |

When Indians general manager Frank Lane dealt Rocky Colavito to the Tigers for Harvey Kuenn two days before the 1960 season started, he likened it to trading hamburger for steak.

But eight months later, apparently Lane had grown tired of steak. Read More

Youth Was Served When Indians Hired Boudreau as Player-Manager

November 29, 2017 |

The Indians suddenly found themselves in the market for a manager after the 1941 season.

Although Cy Slapnicka was celebrated as a scout, unearthing pitching talent like Mel Harder, Herb Score, Bob Lemon, and, most famously, Bob Feller, he had a rough go as the team’s general manager. After missing out on the pennant in 1940, the Indians ended up four games below .500 in a tie for fourth place – 26 games behind the pennant-winning Yankees. Slapnicka, who had had a heart attack in 1938, wanted to return to scouting, which he said was his first love. After one year as manager, Roger Peckinpaugh was promoted to the front office, but that opened a vacancy in the Indians’ dugout.

And as it turned out, the new manager was found in the Tribe dugout as well. Read More

1990s Indians Teams Could Get Short End Again When it Comes to Cooperstown

November 22, 2017 | | One Comment

Next year’s Baseball Hall of Fame inductions could have a Cleveland flavor to them.

What’s even more likely is that they’ll have more than a touch of controversy.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot was announced Monday, and among the candidates on the ballot for the first time are former Indians Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel. Read More