It’s hard to believe, but we are less than three weeks away from the first pitches of the 2019 Major League Baseball season. Today, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night continue our countdown to Opening Day. – BT
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 17
For the first time since 2012, the number 17 was back in circulation for Cleveland as free agent addition Yonder Alonso took it to first base with him during 145 contests in what proved to be his lone season as a member of the Indians.
The Tribe got solid and steady production out of the 31-year-old slugger, who was looking to build upon a career season in 2017 when he made his first career All-Star team and set personal bests across the stat sheet while splitting time in the American League West with the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners. His contract with the Indians allowed him to call Ohio home for the second time in his career, following his stint with the Cincinnati Reds to begin his Major League service time in 2010 and 2011.
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 – 17 days
The number 17 had disappeared from the diamond for Cleveland in recent years, but it is ready to make a big return in 2018.
In recent years, the number had been assigned to manager Terry Francona, who tends to take the field in anything but an Indians jersey (his far more familiar attire has been a sweatshirt or hoodie, neither of which have been emblazoned with his number). In December, it was reported that Tito had switched to the number 77, passing along his 17 to Francisco Mejia, but the young catching propsect instead is back in the number 27, digits he wore while playing with the Class-A Lake County Captains years ago.
Yonder Alonso, the club’s biggest offseason addition, will now wear the 17, a number he wore in Oakland over the last two seasons.
Join Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down to Opening Day!
Countdown to Opening Day – 17
The number 17 has disappeared from the diamond for the Cleveland Indians in recent years, last seen on the back of Shin-Soo Choo in his final season for the club in 2012.
That offseason, the Indians hired manager Terry Francona, who was spotted with the number 47 in his introductory press conference. After Choo was dealt to Cincinnati in a three-team trade that included Arizona, Francona switched over to 17. Unlike other managers around the league, Francona opts for other attire while in the dugout, so his new 17 has been replaced by an Indians hoodie, among other gear.
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 – 17 days
He may have only been sporting #17 in Cleveland for one season, but former All-Star center fielder Marquis Grissom certainly made the most out of his short time.
“It was one of the best teams ever,” Grissom said of the 1997 Tribe. “If you look at that team with Manny Ramirez, myself, David Justice, Matt Williams, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Tony Fernandez, Julio Franco, Orel Hershiser…I could go on and on and name the whole team.”
A two-time All-Star as well as a perennial Gold Glover and MVP candidate, the former Montreal Expos and Atlanta Braves star was dealt to the Indians from Atlanta at the end of Spring Training in 1997 along with Justice for fan favorite Kenny Lofton as well as reliever Alan Embree. Grissom was looked upon to replace Lofton’s amazingly consistent production on the new look Indians that were coming off of back to back division titles.