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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | January 23, 2019

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Indians History

Bell’s Long Career Was Short With Cleveland

December 28, 2012 | | 2 Comments

By Craig Gifford

In the late 1980s, the Cleveland Indians found what they had hoped to be their shortstop of the future in Jay Bell. Instead, Bell never fulfilled his promise on the shores of Lake Erie. Instead, he became an all-star with the Pittsburgh Pirates and an important part of their success in the early 1990s.

Bell was drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Twins with the eighty overall pick of the 1984 amateur draft. Perhaps due to the youth when selected, Bell never had much of chance with the Twins, being dealt to the Tribe a year later in a trade-deadline acquisition. A contender in 1985, the Twins needed pitching and got it in the form of all-star hurler Bert Blyleven. The Indians received Bell and several other minor players for their ace pitcher.  The move did not propel the Twins to the postseason that year. However, Blyleven was a key component to the 1987 World Series championship squad. A good deal for the Twins.

Meanwhile, Cleveland had hoped Bell could be to the infield what Joe Carter and Cory Snyder were to the outfielder – an all-star quality hitter. The hope was Bell, now 20, would come into his own within a couple years and help spark Cleveland to a better age of baseball. As we all know now, a trade for a shotstop would eventually do that, though his name was Omar Vizquel and that was about a decade later.

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Ludwick’s Lengthy Baseball Journey Included Brief Stop in Cleveland

December 21, 2012 |

By Craig Gifford

These days, Ryan Ludwick is a power hitter in the middle of the batting order for a Cincinnati Reds team that has World Series aspirations. Things were not always a bowl of cherries for the 34-year-old outfielder. To get to a world of big league success, Ludwick first had to bounce around the minor leagues and several organizations.

Among Ludwick’s early stops was the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe was actually Ludwick’s third club, however, the first to give him any prolonged shot at the majors. Read More

Cole’s Flash was a Dash Through Municipal Stadium

December 19, 2012 | | One Comment

By Christian Petrila 

You would expect a guy who hit .284 in 226 games with the Indians to have more than 39 RBI, right? 

Alex Cole was an exception to the rule. 

Cole was drafted in the second round of the 1985 amateur draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. He played in the minors for St. Louis, but never got the opportunity to play there due in part to the firm hold Willie McGee had on centerfield. Finally, in 1990, the Cardinals decided to do Cole a favor and send him and Steve Peters to San Diego in exchange for Omar Olivares. Cole spent the first few months in the minors, but in July, he was shipped to Cleveland for Tom Lampkin

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Maris, Known for Homer Mark, Hit First Ones With Tribe

December 14, 2012 | | One Comment

By Craig Gifford

When Roger Maris hit his then-record 61 home runs in 1961, it came out of nowhere. Few people saw the kind of power Maris displayed that season coming. That especially includes the Cleveland Indians who had him on their team just three years earlier.

Maris, who is best known for breaking Babe Ruth‘s record 60 homers in a season, got his start with the Tribe. On April 16, 1957, the 22-year-old right fielder received his first taste of the major leagues. After four seasons in the Indians’ minor league system, Maris was finally ready for the big show. He showed a little pop in his bat as a first-year player, but nowhere near the show he would put on four seasons later. Read More

Taubensee’s Flash Started and Ended with the Tribe

December 12, 2012 |

By Christian Petrila

This week’s Flash in a Pan completed the cycle. No, I don’t mean he hit a single, double, triple and home run in one game. This athlete started his career in Cleveland and played nine seasons elsewhere before finishing his career back in an Indians jersey. He may also be more well-known for being involved in a trade that brought Cleveland one of its most beloved players.

This week, the player is Ed Taubensee.

Taubensee was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the sixth round of the 1986 draft. However, Taubensee’s career in the Reds system never really took off, as he hit below .200 in two of his five seasons there. The Oakland A’s chose him in the Rule 5 draft after the 1990 season, but he was placed on waivers before the 1991 season started. That’s where the Indians came in.

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Casey Could Hit, Just Not for Tribe

December 7, 2012 |

By Craig Gifford

When the Indians of the 1990s were known to have an all-star at nearly every position on the big league roster, there was many a deserving minor leaguer who could not find his way out of the bush leagues. Among the most notable was a first baseman named Sean Casey.

Drafted in the second round of the 1995 amateur draft, Casey surpassed his expectations as a high draft choice. By late 1997, he was playing at Triple-A Buffalo. At every stop along the minor league circuit, Casey was raking the ball. He batted well above .300 at all three levels of the minors. He was a high-average hitter, who could also hit the long bomb 20-30 times. Read More

Espinoza’s Race Home Makes Him Memorable Flash in Indians’ Pan

December 5, 2012 |

By Christian Petrila

From one World Series Indian in Gene Bearden, to another in Alvaro Espinoza.

Signed by the Houston Astros as an amateur free agent in 1978, Espinoza didn’t become an Indian until 1993 when he signed as a free agent. He would play in 344 games over four seasons for the Indians. He hit .252 with 11 home runs and 74 RBI in those four seasons. However, he may best be known for his antics and one memorable slide.

Espinoza was a clubhouse clown for the Indians. He was the loose, a down-to-Earth guy in the dugout. One of his favorite things to do was to blow a bubble and then stick it to the top of a teammate’s hat. While Espinoza and others would be cracking up, the victim would have absolutely no idea. The reactions when the player finally found out what was on his hat ranged from rage to joining his teammates in laughter.

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Edwards Forgotten as a Player and a Manager

November 30, 2012 |

By Craig Gifford

Doc Edwards had a short stint as a player for the Cleveland Indians in the 1960s. However, he may be best remembered for his short stint with the Tribe in the late 1980s. Edwards has the dubious distinction of being an Indians flash in the pan as both a player and manager.

Edwards was signed by the Indians as an amateur free agent in 1958. He made his Cleveland debut on April 21, 1962 as a backup catcher. By the middle of 1963, the Tribe had traded Edwards to the Kansas City Royals. Read More

Bearden Has Magical Flash For Tribe in 1948

November 28, 2012 |

The first few obscure Indians presented in the Flash in a Pan series have all been relatively recent. This week, however, we take obscurity to a time before color television.

This week’s flash in a pan is Gene Bearden.

Bearden was a southpaw born in 1920 in Arkansas. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1939. He would never play for the Phillies, as he would be shopped around multiple times in transactions that remain unknown to this day. However, once the Indians stepped in and acquired the lefty, his career would get started.

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Wrong Place, Wrong Time for Giles

November 23, 2012 |

By Craig Gifford

If there was ever a case of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time it was outfielder Brian Giles with the Cleveland Indians in the 1990s.

Giles, drafted out of high school by the Tribe in the 17th round of the 1989 amateur draft, was a five-tool player with loads of potential. However, Cleveland had an outfield full of all-stars throughout the 90s and Giles odds always seemed long in making it with the club that drafted him.

By 1994, Giles was hitting his stride, at the age of 23, in Triple-A. He blossomed into a power hitter who could hit for a high batting average. Unfortunately, for him, Cleveland was not going to be able to add him to the big league roster any time soon. That season, the year Cleveland began its eight-season run of success, established all-stars Albert Belle and Kenny Lofton were already roaming the Jacobs Field outfield. Manny Ramirez, a minor leaguer to start that year as well, was about to join them. Read More

A Moment With Tribe was a Prelude to a Moment in Time

November 21, 2012 |

By Christian Petrila

Is it coincidence that this week’s obscure Indian pitched exactly 216 career innings to match the area code of the greater-Cleveland area? Maybe, maybe not. However, in one of those 216 innings, he would go down in baseball infamy.

This week’s Flash in a Pan is Mike Bacsik.

Bacsik was drafted by the Indians in the 18th round of the 1996 draft. It took him almost five years to make it to the Majors, but he finally made it after putting up a combined 3.03 ERA between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Buffalo in 2001. It was arguably his best season in the minors, good enough for the Indians to promote him to Cleveland for the 2001 playoff push.

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Piniella a Former Indian, Barely

November 16, 2012 |

This is the second in a weekly look of players who began their careers in a Cleveland Indians uniform, but made their names with another team. The series will run 19 weeks, through the start of Spring Training.

By Craig Gifford

When Lou Piniella comes to mind for most baseball fans, thoughts turn to a fiery, yet very successful, manager of five teams over 23 seasons.

What many fans do not realize is that Piniella had a successful 18-year baseball playing career. What fewer people remember is he made two pit stops with the Cleveland organization along his baseball journey that began in 1962 and went until he was finished managing in 2010. Read More