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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | December 18, 2017

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1997: Eighteen Crazy Nights

Hall of Fame Voting Shows How Talented Those 1990s Teams Were

January 25, 2017 |

It’s entirely possible that every January for the next decade or so, we get reminded just how good those Indians teams of the 1990s really were.

As my friend and colleague Craig Gifford pointed out earlier this week, Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel will be among those on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot for the first time in the next election. Both have legitimate if not strong cases for induction.

Thome, inducted into the team’s hall of fame last year, hit 612 home runs and is the team leader for home runs in a season and a career. Vizquel’s strength was his defense, winning a total of 11 Gold Gloves at shortstop. Nine of those came in a row – including eight with the Indians. Read More

1997 Comparisons Obvious – But Unfair

November 9, 2016 |

I felt the ghosts of 1997 come out Wednesday.

The Indians now have the dubious distinction of playing in the two most recent World Series Game 7s to go into extra innings – and losing them both. The Indians succumbed last week in the 10th, giving the Cubs their first World Series win since the Theodore Roosevelt administration. In 1997, they lost in the 11th to the Marlins, who were all of four years old – and the first wild card team to win a World Series.

The 1997 World Series remains a blur to me. It was a weird time in my life (which has always been fairly weird, so that should tell you something). I actually had a date the night of the first game. Such scheduling might seem like apostasy now, but it had only been two years since the Indians previously appeared in the World Series. My dating dry spell had been a little longer – and a little more fruitless. Read More

Alomar Lives Up to Hype with Rookie of the Year Award, Becomes Tribe Mainstay

November 21, 2015 |

He was the scion of a baseball family. But being stuck behind another Rookie of the Year made him expendable.

So Sandy Alomar Jr. left San Diego for Cleveland. The trade jump-started the Indians’ dynasty of the 1990s, and Alomar bore early fruit, becoming the Indians’ first Rookie of the Year since Joe Charboneau a decade earlier. But unlike Super Joe, who flamed out quickly after his rookie of the year season, Alomar was a productive member of the Tribe for a decade – and remains part of the fabric of the team, 25 years later. Read More

How Long Can the Tribe Hold on to Sandy?

October 7, 2015 |

He came to Cleveland in a blockbuster trade, played the bulk of his career here as part of those great teams in the 1990s, and the entirety of his coaching and managing career was here.

But as another Indians season ends, you can’t help but wonder: How long can Sandy Alomar Jr. stay with the Indians?

Almost since the time he rejoined the Indians coaching staff, he’s been good for one or two interviews each off-season – and his name has already been linked to the opening in San Diego (the Padres will not be retaining Pat Murphy, who became interim manager after Bud Black – another former Indian – was fired in June). Read More

Eighteen Crazy Nights—Looking back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians

October 26, 2014 |

During the month of October DTTWLN will take a look back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians season—specifically the 18 thrilling games of the postseason as the Indians made an improbable run to game seven of the World Series.

PART TWENTY-TWO:  WORLD SERIES GAME 7—THE BITTER END

Game Seven.

Cleveland had certainly been down a long and winding path that took them to baseball’s biggest stage.

The Indians had extremely lowered expectations heading into Spring Training, they traded their best and most popular player before camp broke and they underwhelmed all season with a pitching staff that looked more unwatchable than some Triple-A staffs.

They were huge underdogs when they faced the Yankees and Orioles on their unimaginable trip through the playoffs, yet they sent both foes packing.  They had battled through sloppy play and historically-cold weather in Cleveland to take the Marlins to the brink of elimination in a winner-take-all showdown in Miami.

For Marlins fans, the feeling was optimistic and fun-loving.  Their team was only in its fifth season of existence, and they were just waiting for good things to happen.  For Cleveland fans, things could not have been tenser.  For years, Cleveland had suffered through unbelievable and unbearable heartbreak. Read More

Eighteen Crazy Nights—Looking back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians

October 25, 2014 |

During the month of October DTTWLN will take a look back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians season—specifically the 18 thrilling games of the postseason as the Indians made an improbable run to game seven of the World Series.

PART TWENTY-ONE:  WORLD SERIES GAME 6—THE OMAR AND OGEA SHOW

Sometimes in sports unexpected things happen.

Moments occur that just couldn’t have been imagined; they make your jaw drop and hit the floor.  You compose yourself long enough to mutter out the words, “I can’t believe that just happened.”

Then there are other moments that aren’t really surprising at all…just incredible.

They happen over and over so often that they become routine…but still your jaw hits the ground because of how incredible the moment was.  Your jaw once again hits the floor and you compose yourself for long enough to say, “I can’t believe that Omar just did that again.”

Both of these scenarios played out perfectly for the Indians in Game Six of the 1997 World Series. Read More

Eighteen Crazy Nights—Looking back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians

October 23, 2014 |

During the month of October DTTWLN will take a look back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians season—specifically the 18 thrilling games of the postseason as the Indians made an improbable run to game seven of the World Series.

PART TWENTY:  WORLD SERIES GAME 5—BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL

Through four games, the 1997 World Series could not have been more opposite than the American League Championship Series that the Indians had just completed.

During the ALCS, the Indians managed to squeak by with four wins over the heavily favored Orioles despite having only 18 runs cross the plate in six games.  They pitched well in the clutch, limiting any damage that Baltimore could have done all series as well as playing solid defense.  The two teams combined for a hefty but not unreasonable 10 errors over the six ballgames.

The Fall Classic, however, was a different story.  The Tribe had scored a mind blowing 31 runs and had given up 25.  Both pitching staffs imploded when they got to the cold air of Cleveland and the defenses had played sloppy and poorly.  The Marlins and Indians had combined for an astonishing nine errors through the first four games.  Read More

Eighteen Crazy Nights—Looking back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians

October 22, 2014 |

During the month of October DTTWLN will take a look back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians season—specifically the 18 thrilling games of the postseason as the Indians made an improbable run to game seven of the World Series.

PART NINETEEN:  WORLD SERIES GAME 4—THE ROOKIE HAS THE WRIGHT STUFF

On October 22, 1997, a frigid air mass pushed south from Canada.  It swept across Lake Erie as lake-effect snow covered Cleveland and the temperature plummeted to 38°.  Huge gusts howled through the downtown area and the wind-chill dropped to a numbing 15°.

It was abnormally cold in Northeast Ohio, as the average temperature for October 22 in Cleveland was a mild 58°.  As Game Four of the 1997 Fall Classic was about to begin, however, the stage was set for an infamous showdown between the Florida Marlins and the Cleveland Indians in what became the coldest World Series game in recorded history.

As the players took batting practice, heavy snow showers fell in the ballpark and turned Jacobs Field into a winter wonderland.  Christmas carols echoed throughout the stadium, as the Indians creative staff blared them over the public address system. Read More

Eighteen Crazy Nights—Looking back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians

October 21, 2014 |

During the month of October DTTWLN will take a look back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians season—specifically the 18 thrilling games of the postseason as the Indians made an improbable run to game seven of the World Series.

PART EIGHTEEN:  WORLD SERIES GAME 3—FOOTBALL WEATHER AND FOOTBALL NUMBERS

The city of Cleveland has long been a football town, but when Browns owner Art Modell moved his beloved franchise to Baltimore in 1995, the town turned to baseball as its #1 love.

The Indians were the talk of the town—the golden children now that the Browns were long gone.  In 1997, they were competing in their second World Series in three years and had come back from sunny Miami tied at 1-1 with the Florida Marlins.

Normally, an October 21st game that was played while the wind-chill was 23° would be reserved for the Cleveland Browns, but that was exactly what the Indians and Mother Nature brought to Jacobs Field for Game Three of the ’97 Fall Classic. Read More

Eighteen Crazy Nights—Looking back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians

October 19, 2014 |

During the month of October DTTWLN will take a look back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians season—specifically the 18 thrilling games of the postseason as the Indians made an improbable run to game seven of the World Series.

PART SEVENTEEN:  WORLD SERIES GAME 2—IT’S PRONOUNCED “OH-JAY”

Twice in the 1997 playoffs the Indians had lost Game One of a series, and twice they had come back to win Game Two.  If they were going to make it three in a row, however, they certainly had their work cut out for them.

The Indians were set to face right handed ace Kevin Brown in the second matchup of the World Series, and they could only counter with Chad Ogea…a pitcher left out of the playoff starting rotation originally.

Brown was in the prime of a fantastic career, was at the end of an All-Star season, and was only a year removed from a season where he finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting.  Ogea, meanwhile, struggled to a 8-9 record with a 4.99 ERA during the regular season and had lost his only two starts of the playoffs.  Ogea was only known nationally for having a funny last name that nobody was really sure how to pronounce and for giving up a grand slam to the first batter he faced in the postseason in his lone ALDS relief appearance against the Yankees. Read More

Eighteen Crazy Nights—Looking back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians

October 18, 2014 |

During the month of October DTTWLN will take a look back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians season—specifically the 18 thrilling games of the postseason as the Indians made an improbable run to game seven of the World Series.

PART SIXTEEN:  WORLD SERIES GAME 1—THE SERIES NO ONE WANTED

Claire Smith of the New York Times called it “The Series No One Wanted”.

Bernie Lincicome of the Chicago Tribune said it’s “the worst winner from the American League meets the non-winner from the National League…a Series made in gimmick heaven.”

There were no New York Yankees.  No Atlanta Braves.  No Baltimore Orioles.

Missing was Derek Jeter.  And Greg Maddux.  And Barry Bonds.  And Ken Griffey.  And Cal Ripken.

It was just the pitching-deprived, Belle/Lofton-less, 86-win Cleveland Indians and “the best team free agency could buy” Florida Marlins that were facing off in the 1997 World Series.  It was Major League Baseball’s nightmare as two mid-market teams that few people outside of the states of Ohio and Florida cared about were taking their biggest stage.  Just three years removed from a strike that cancelled the ’94 Fall Classic, baseball could not afford a World Series that made people yawn. Read More

Eighteen Crazy Nights—Looking back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians

October 15, 2014 |

During the month of October DTTWLN will take a look back at the 1997 Cleveland Indians season—specifically the 18 thrilling games of the postseason as the Indians made an improbable run to game seven of the World Series.

PART FIFTEEN:  ALCS GAME 6—ONE FOR THE AGES

“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.”

-John Lennon

As the Cleveland Indians started batting practice before their Game Six showdown with the Baltimore Orioles in the 1997 American League Championship Series, Manager Mike Hargrove figured that everything was where it was meant to be.

Bip Roberts, a key midseason acquisition, was leading off and playing second base.

Tony Fernandez, an offseason free-agent signing that had lost his regular playing time when the team traded for Roberts, was penciled in as a reserve player on the bench.

It was all set.  The regular lineup was ready to face Mike Mussina…the hottest pitcher on the planet. Read More