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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | February 24, 2017

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Indians History

Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 40 – Bartolo Colon

February 22, 2017 |

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Countdown to Opening Day – 40

There is something about Bartolo Colon that makes him beloved by fans across the nation and the world.

Sure, he has had a long and sometimes successful Major League career, keeping his name in the news during springs and summers since debuting with the Cleveland Indians in 1997. But now, many years removed from a slimmer, more dominating flame-throwing version of himself, Colon now looks like an everyman, resembling more of a middle-aged man who had let himself go and now is attempting to squeeze himself into a pair of baseball pants in some sort of midlife crisis.

Colon takes the brunt of the jokes for being out of shape and being a really, really lousy looker while standing in the batter’s box.

But the joke’s on you – the 43-year-old right-hander signed a $12.5 million deal in November to join the starting rotation of the Atlanta Braves, providing lots and lots of life experience and veteran leadership to a young team, now constructed by John Hart, a very familiar face for Colon from his time in Cleveland. Read More

Swisher Gets His Happy Ending – But Not with Tribe

February 22, 2017 |

When the Indians signed Nick Swisher after a disastrous 2012 season, optimism was running high. His bubbly personality couldn’t help but rub off on his teammates. The Dolans were willing to open the checkbook (the four-year deal was $56 million, with a club option for a fifth year bringing the deal to a staggering $70 million, more than the Indians had ever paid for a free agent) and made the pitch for the Ohio native to return home.

Now that Swisher’s riding off into the sunset, announcing his retirement about a year and a half after the Indians decided they’d rather eat Chris Johnson’s salary than keep him around, we can close the book on him. (Insert Harry Doyle saying, “Thank God.”) Swisher’s signing was a bad marriage that actually might have held back the team’s success.

Swisher was 32 when the Indians signed him – an age typically regarded as being on the down slope of a player’s career. But there was no reason to believe he wouldn’t play – and wouldn’t produce. In each of the previous eight years, he’d played at least 130 games (and at least 150 in six of those years). His average wasn’t great, but he was good for at least 20 home runs. Read More

Presidential First Pitch Originated With Ohio, Cleveland Ties

February 20, 2017 |

This story was first published on April 10, 2012. – BT

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. Read More

Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 42

February 20, 2017 |

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Countdown to Opening Day – 42 days

Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson’s number 42 across the game on April 15, 1997, on the 50th anniversary of his monumental breaking of the color barrier. Indians reliever Michael Jackson was one of 13 players who were wearing that number at the time and was allowed to continue wearing it, making him the last to call the number his own for Cleveland.

In 2013, the last of those original 13 players, Mariano Rivera, retired from baseball. Since 2007, the number has returned around the league for one day each year, thanks to the efforts in 2007 of 2016 Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., who wanted to honor Robinson on the 60th anniversary of his debut.

Jackson not only has the honor of being the last to wear the number regularly for the Tribe, but he had some of the best seasons in Cleveland history by a player wearing the number. Read More

Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 44

February 18, 2017 |

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Countdown to Opening Day – 44 days

There is something magical about a large number of the Indians players who have worn the number 44 during their Cleveland careers.

Many were well known for having glorious facial hair.

It’s a strange correlation, no doubt about it. Forty players have worn the number (most recently Ross Detwiler at the beginning of the 2016 season) and the most memorable of the bunch can be remembered for the beards and mustaches that they sported on the field. Read More

Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 45 – Paul Assenmacher

February 17, 2017 |

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Countdown to Opening Day – 45 days

Of the 23 former Cleveland Indians to don the #45 on their back, no player wore it longer – or better – than former southpaw reliever Paul Assenmacher. Read More

Hall of Famer Sam Rice Spent Final Year of Career in Cleveland

February 15, 2017 |

After Walter Johnson, there’s probably nobody more closely associated with the original Washington Nationals than Sam Rice.

But Rice, a Hall of Famer that was part of three pennant-winning Senators teams, including the 1924 World Champions, ended his career with the Indians – largely due to the intercession of the Big Train himself.

Rice had come late to the game, sidetracked by unspeakable tragedy. In 1912, while he was trying to latch on as a pitcher with a minor-league team in nearby Galesburg, a tornado struck his family home in Morocco, Indiana, killing his wife, children, mother, and two sisters. Rice returned to Morocco in time for all the funerals, and his father died shortly thereafter as well. Read More

Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 48 – Travis Hafner

February 14, 2017 |

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Countdown to Opening Day – 48

He may not have been one of the best to wear 48 in Cleveland, but Travis Hafner was one of the better sluggers in the history of baseball to have the number on his back.

Sam McDowell may hold the honor of being the best pitcher and player to wear 48 in Indians history, but Hafner easily claims that title from the offensive side of the game. The Indians’ long-time designated hitter was part of one of the better thefts in club history, as the team picked him off from the Texas Rangers in a low-cost trade that gave the Tribe a dangerous power-hitting weapon in the middle of their lineup for the better part of his decade in a Cleveland uniform, serving as a suitable replacement for another left-handed slugger, Jim Thome, who left the club following the 2002 season. Read More

Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 49 – Tom Candiotti

February 13, 2017 |

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Countdown to Opening Day – 49

If you were a fan of the Cleveland Indians in the 1980s, chances are you were well aware of right-hander Tom Candiotti and his mastery of the elusive knuckleball. Read More

Federal League Could Never Get Foothold in Cleveland

February 8, 2017 |

For two brief years, the Federal League tried to make a go as a major league.

It challenged for supremacy in cities like Brooklyn and Chicago that already had major league teams, but also tried to grow in cities like Baltimore and Indianapolis, cities without major league representation.

But it could never get a foothold in Cleveland – because it could never find a place to play. Read More

Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 61 – Alex Ramirez

February 1, 2017 |

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Countdown to Opening Day – 61 days

While one man named Ramirez was seeing his star shine bright in Cleveland, another Ramirez toiled in the Indians farm system, proving consistently to be a top hitter in the club’s minor leagues while waiting for his opportunity in the Show.

Alex Ramirez signed with the Indians in 1991 as a teenager out of Caracas, Venezuela. He saw his professional game action begin in 1993 at the age of 18 and evolved into a balanced threat of power, steady batting averages, and speed. Yet somehow, despite some positive numbers in the early stages of his career, his greatest accomplishments as a baseball player would occur far from his native Caracas or from his temporary home in the United States. Read More

Nolan Ryan’s Last Moment of Glory was at Cleveland Stadium

February 1, 2017 |

Nolan Ryan turned 70 yesterday.

In a career that included some ridiculous numbers – 5,714 (strikeouts – an average of more than one an inning), 7 (no-hitters – he took another five into the ninth inning before losing them), 1 (ass-kicking of Robin Ventura, young enough to be his son) – that might be the most ridiculous one. His KIDS are old enough to have gotten into that stage that they’ve gone from baseball players to executives (his son Reid is president of the Houston Astros).

Former Indian Satchel Paige’s autobiography was titled “Maybe I’ll Pitch Forever,” but for a while, it looked like Ryan might actually do it. He broke in with the Mets as a wild 19-year-old in 1966 and played 27 years in the Major Leagues (second across all major league sports only to Gordie Howe, whose hockey career spanned 32 years). Read More