As Did The Tribe Win Last Night helps fans count down the days until the Indians retake the field in an official Major League game, we look back at some of the players who wore the Cleveland jersey with pride.
Countdown to Opening Day – 2 days
When former Indians catcher Einar Diaz was traded away from the team on December 6, 2002, the Tribe pulled off a heist and received one of the greatest sluggers in team history. Travis Hafner, who came along from Texas with pitcher Aaron Myette in exchange for Diaz and pitcher Ryan Drese, eventually became the Indians’ all-time leader with 187 home runs as a designated hitter and is eighth all-time on the franchise’s home run list with 199. It’s clear that the Indians received the obvious upper-hand in the trade, but Diaz was seen at the time to be a solid, everyday starting catcher due to his previous experience with the Tribe.
Over the course of seven seasons with the Indians, Diaz – who wore #2 throughout his time in Cleveland – played in 456 games while batting .259 with 15 home runs and 139 RBI. Not exactly a prototypical catcher, Diaz also swiped 16 bases during his time with the Indians, including eleven during his first year as a regular in 1999. Prior to that, Diaz had played very sparingly for the Major League club as a September call-up from 1996-98.
“Those were the years that we won a lot of games,” Diaz remembered. “We had some good teams until 2002. Those were good years, man. We had fun over there.”