Posts By Vince Guerrieri
Of all the Indians marathon games, last Friday’s was the most recent.
I’m kind of surprised that I wasn’t at that game, not because of my well-known predilection for hot dogs, but because I have bad luck going to Indians games with extra innings or rain delays.
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.
Chris Perez said last week that the Indians organization wasn’t committed to spending the big bucks to lure top free agents. And the team’s willingness to stand pat in the offseason and letting a team take the field with glaring flaws in its lineup proves the Tribe closer’s point.
But in baseball, it’s not enough to spend money. It has to be spent wisely – and that doesn’t always mean on free agency. The best times in Indians history occurred when the team was able to cultivate its own talent and secure their services for significant periods of time.
To paraphrase fictional Indians announcer Harry Doyle, you can close the book on August. Thank God.
The Indians went a miserable 5-24 in the month, the first time the team lost 24 games in a month since July 1914.
Then, the team was called the Naps, named in honor of player-manager Napoleon Lajoie. In addition to Lajoie, a hall of fame second baseman, the team had Joe Jackson, an outfielder given up by the Athletics in 1910. In his first three full years with the Naps, Shoeless Joe finished second every year in batting average in the American League – including a .408 average in 1911.
Most Tribe fans wouldn’t be surprised to know that Mel Harder had the longest tenure with the team, playing 20 years for the Indians (he spent another 16 years as a coach).
Second on the list is also no shock: Bob Feller, who spent 18 years throwing for the Tribe.
But Willis Hudlin is third on the list for 15 years with the Indians, from 1926 to 1940. He’s still among the top ten for the Tribe in wins, losses, games, complete games, starts, innings pitched and bases on balls.
Roman Quinn figured it was an easy double.
Quinn, of the Williamsport Crosscutters, got his first at-bat of the New York-Penn League All-Star Game leading off the eighth inning against Taylor Guerrieri of the Hudson Valley Renegades. Quinn sent a pitch down the left field line into the corner. Once he rounded second, the thought occurred to him that he could keep running until he rounded the bases.
“I was going for it all,” he said.