Posts By Vince Guerrieri
Robert Barr grew up in the shadow of Mulcahy Stadium in Alaska. He watched the Alaska Baseball League grow from a series of town teams to one of the best collegiate baseball leagues in the country.
And he’s trying to bring that story to a wider audience.
Without a doubt, Ty Cobb is the greatest player to ever don a Tigers’ uniform.
The Georgia Peach, nearly 90 years after his retirement, still holds the record for highest career batting average with .366. At one point, he also held the career record for stolen bases (862) and hits (4,191).
And he could have done it in an Indians uniform.
Ahhh, Mother’s Day. What better way to show your love to Mom than treating her to a baseball game?
Well, my mother would appreciate the thought, but not necessarily the game. In fact, she was the first to admit it, which is why I can count on one hand the number of baseball games to which she accompanied us.
This year’s Indians squad continues to make history for all the wrong reasons.
In 1991, the Indians tied the club record for losses with 105, and manager John McNamara was given the boot in favor of Mike Hargrove, who was with the Rangers at Cleveland Stadium for the infamous ten-cent beer night, and then played six years for the Tribe, endearing himself to fans as the “Human Rain Delay.”
A news conference has been announced for 4:15 p.m. today.
Alomar, who had a 10-year playing career with the Indians and was named to the team’s hall of fame in 2009, has served as a coach for the team since 2010. The team said the coaching staff will remain intact for the last six games of the season, and Alomar will be considered for manager.
“The Cleveland Indians would like to thank Manny Acta for everything he has done for the organization in his three seasons as our Manager,” said Cleveland Indians Executive Vice President and General Manager Chris Antonetti in a statement. “Manny’s passion for the game, positive attitude and tremendous knowledge of baseball helped guide us to a number of high points during his tenure. Managerial changes are never easy or taken lightly, but as we approached the end of the season and turned our attention to assessing the year, we determined a change was necessary.”
A year after a late-season fade keeps them out of the postseason, the Indians had high hopes and started out strong. But once again, they faded down the stretch, and October baseball was a rumor in Cleveland.
Sounds like this year, right? Well, it is. But it’s also 1941, a year with some strange parallels – including the sale of the NFL franchise in town.
The Indians were leading the American League as late as August, holding a 5.5-game lead over the Tigers on Aug. 21. But the Tribe went on to lose 10 of their next 14 to fall into a tie, and then fell behind the Motor City Kitties. The 1940 season ended with the Indians playing the Tigers in a three-game series at Cleveland Stadium. The Tribe needed a sweep, and manager Ossie Vitt tabbed Bob Feller to start the first game of the series. Tigers skipper Del Baker went with Floyd Giebell, who scattered six hits but pitched a shutout. Rapid Robert gave up three hits, but one was a two-run homer to Rudy York. The Tigers won 2-0 to clinch the pennant. The Indians won the next two games, so they finished a game behind Detroit in the standings. Giebell had made only two appearances for Detroit that year – he spent most of it in Toledo – and wasn’t eligible for the World Series, a seven-game Reds win over the Tigers.
Cleveland baseball fans are talking about Otto Hess for the first time in more than 100 years.
That’s not a good thing.
Tribe starter Ubaldo Jimenez has already thrown a career-high 16 wild pitches this season. He’s two off the club mark set by Hess in 1905 (and equaled by Sudden Sam McDowell in 1967). But Hess might have been the worst — or unluckiest — pitcher in Cleveland baseball history. And that’s saying something.
Sometimes, the saying in baseball goes, the best trade is the one you don’t make.
In 1946, a syndicate headed by Bill Veeck bought the Cleveland Indians. Veeck, the son of a sportswriter-turned-baseball executive, wasn’t the kind of guy to stand pat, leading player-manager Lou Boudreau to say, “We always had three teams — one on the field, one coming and one going.”
Tom Seaver and the Mets seem to go hand-in-hand.
Seaver’s the only player in the Baseball Hall of Fame (where he received the highest percentage of votes, 98.84, on his first ballot) wearing a Mets cap. He was the anchor of the starting rotations of the 1969 World Champion Miracle Mets, and the 1973 team that went from last place in the middle of the season to the seventh game of the World Series, succumbing to the Oakland Athletics.
But Seaver almost debuted with the Indians.
He was the original Hammerin’ Hank. In the less enlightened time when he played, he was also known as the Hebrew Hammer.
But after a lengthy and successful career – almost exclusively with the Detroit Tigers – Hank Greenberg came to Cleveland and left his mark on the Indians.
After the 1947 season – the only one he played with the Pittsburgh Pirates – Greenberg’s playing career ended. He retired with a career .313 batting average and 331 home runs – a number which could have vastly increased had Greenberg not lost the bulk of four seasons to service in the Army Air Forces in World War II.
The throwing out of the ceremonial first pitch is a tradition that started in 1910 with President William Howard Taft. And it’s all because of a Youngstown native and former Cleveland baseball player and manager named Jimmy McAleer.
McAleer knocked around the minor leagues in the 1880s before breaking into the National League with the Cleveland Spiders in 1889. He was regarded as speedy on the basepaths and in center field. His batting was a little less solid. The Robisons, owners of the Spiders, also bought the St. Louis Browns of the National League (later the Cardinals) and essentially cherry-picked all the talent from Cleveland to St. Louis. McAleer opted to stay in Northern Ohio. The Spiders folded after the 1899 season, but McAleer latched on as player/manager for the Lake Shores, a team in the American League in 1900.
In 1901, the Lake Shores became the Blues, taking the name of an older team. The Blues, of course, would go on to be the Indians. McAleer was their manager, and participated in what is now regarded as the first American League game as part of the major leagues, an 8-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
In 1920, the Indians won their first World Championship. They were playing for their fallen teammate, Ray Chapman, who became the first and to date only baseball player to die from injuries sustained on the field when he was struck in the temple by a pitched ball during a game against the Yankees.
In 1948, the Indians won their second World Championship, and once again, they were playing in tribute of a teammate who could not be with them.