With his first inning two-out steal of second in his 140th game of the year on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez added another accomplishment to his growing resume for MVP consideration as he turned in just the 61st 30 homer-30 stolen base season in Major League Baseball history. In doing so, he also became just the third Indians player to accomplish the feat, joining historic seasons turned in by Joe Carter in 1987 and Grady Sizemore in 2008.
Fans can easily remember the type of game-changing ability that Sizemore had, whether it was with the glove, his speed, or with one swing of the bat. Those old enough to watch Carter in his prime in the late 1980s (tough words to even have to write) saw the same power and speed potential on a nightly basis, before his contribution to Cleveland’s future success revolved not around his production, but around the price the club charged the San Diego Padres to send Carter for several prospect pieces which factored largely in the team’s run through the decade to follow.
Grady Sizemore hits a pair of solo home runs leading off the first and third innings to become just the second 30-30 man in the history of the Cleveland Indians. Franklin Gutierrez hits the go-ahead home run in the tenth inning to give the Indians a 4-3 win over the Tigers in Detroit.
Eleven years ago this week, Sports Illustrated put Grady Sizemore on the cover.
The story raved about Sizemore, the Indians center fielder virtually stolen from the Expos in the trade that sent Bartolo Colon to Montreal. His on-base percentage kept improving. He had size. He had speed. He had power. He had legions of female fans – “Grady’s ladies,” they were called. Best of all, he was under team control for another five years. The story likened his numbers at that point to Duke Snider, who went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Dodgers.
“To watch him play day in and day out is a rare treat,” said Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro. “All of us, from the front office to the players to the bat boys, are fortunate to see him every day. He is without a doubt one of the greatest players of our generation.”
It wasn’t to be.
The Cleveland Indians announce that star center fielder Grady Sizemore had been signed to a six-year contract extension through the 2011 season with a team option for the following year. The pact was the longest such deal by the club in over ten seasons (Omar Vizquel; December 1995).
While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 24 days
For the last year and a half, 6’7” southpaw Andrew Miller, the current resident 24 in a Cleveland Indians uniform, has been one of the more dominant relief pitchers in the game, earning his first two All-Star appearances in that span. Now, the 32-year-old lefty is in the final year of his contract with the Indians, and if he continues to pitch as well as he has over the last few years, he will likely outprice himself from the team’s future.