Although they haven’t won a World Series since 1948, the Cleveland Indians haven’t gone without recognition. While nothing can replace the prestige of a World Series win, there have been quite a few other awards that have come the Tribe’s way throughout the years. They’re not World Series rings but, in true Cleveland fashion, they are all, of course, major awards.
Along with winning the World Series in 1948, the Indians garnered some individual player recognitions, as well. Lou Boudreau was far and wide recognized as one of the most vital assets to that 1948 team, winning the Most Valuable Player award, The Sporting News Player of the Year, and The Sporting News AL Player of the Year. The Sporting News also recognized teammate Bob Lemon as the AL Pitcher of the Year in 1948, giving the Indians a few extra gloating opportunities.
The Indians had a few more brushes with glory in the 1950s, despite their teams as a whole not being able to make it back to the World Series’ winners’ circle. Al Rosen was named the 1953 MVP, and Herb Score was the Rookie of the Year in 1955. Score also earned the title of Rookie Pitcher of the Year from The Sporting News, where Lemon was again named the AL Pitcher of the Year.
A policeman in Lake Worth, Florida, alerted Slapnicka – the man who discovered Bob Feller – about the fireballing southpaw. He was signed to a contract at the age of 19 – with a $60,000 bonus. While the Indians won 111 games and the American League pennant in 1954, Score was mowing down batters at Triple-A Indianapolis on the way to being named the minor league player of the year, with a record of 22-5 and 350 strikeouts.
And big things were expected of him even when he went to his first Indians spring training in 1955. He was tabbed by the Sporting News – the “Bible of Baseball” – as a Rookie of the Year candidate. And he delivered on that prediction, going 16-10 and leading the league with 245 strikeouts – the most by a rookie in 44 years, and a rookie record that stood until Dwight Gooden shattered it in 1984. Indians manager Al Lopez named Score to that year’s American League All-Star team.