I hope everyone got their fill of Indians going into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, because it might be a while before it happens again.
Slugger Jim Thome entered Cooperstown this year, in his first year of eligibility, and one of the things that amazed me about that is how much ill will it – as well as his statue – has engendered. Sure, you can hold a grudge about the way he left, but the fact is that he’s the single-season and career home run leader for the Indians, and his 612 career home runs represent a mark that should be represented in the Hall, tainted only by the era in which he played and no failed tests or any other suspicion beyond the shadow of his contemporaries.
It’s entirely too early to start handicapping next year’s Hall of Fame ballot, but what else am I going to do? The Indians are all home for the off-season, and you don’t want to get me started on THAT topic.
The 89th edition of the Midsummer Classic has arrived, with the annual exhibition set to take place at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, July 17. The Indians are well-represented for the second straight season, sending six players to the contest.
The game may not mean as much as it used to, with the advent of daily interleague play around the country, and it no longer has bearing on home field advantage for the World Series, but it still remains a great opportunity to watch some of the greats of the game take the field in competitive action.
Cleveland will be represented this year by starting third baseman Jose Ramirez, backups Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, and Francisco Lindor, and pitcher Trevor Bauer. Corey Kluber was selected to the club but will not participate due to injury.
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 – 13 days
When using wins above replacement (WAR) to compare the players to wear the number 13 throughout baseball history, one thing becomes clear – Omar Vizquel has been not only one of the best to do so for the Cleveland Indians, but has been one of the best to wear it in Major League Baseball history.
After several years of watching Vizquel suit up as the first base coach in Motown for the Detroit Tigers, he will start his managerial career this year in the Chicago White Sox organization with their Class-A Winston-Salem affiliate. Despite his employment with two division rivals, Vizquel’s name still comes up frequently in discussion among Cleveland fans, especially when watching Francisco Lindor flash the leather from Vizquel’s old shortstop position now or even over the winter during his highly debated candidacy for inclusion in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
As was proven a couple of months ago, Vizquel’s spot in Cooperstown is not guaranteed, despite defensively passing the eye test repeatedly over the course of his 24-year playing career.
When Hall of Fame voting started, I thought Jim Thome was a slam-dunk first-ballot hall of famer – largely on the strength of his 612 (relatively untainted) home runs.
I figured Omar Vizquel, also in his first year of eligibility, would get into the Hall of Fame, but this wasn’t his year due to a crowded ballot. Chipper Jones is probably a first-ballot hall of famer too, and it sounds like Vladimir Guerrero – probably the best bad-ball hitter of his era – is finally getting the traction he needs for a plaque in Cooperstown. And of course, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens loom large over the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s voting process.
I had no idea a Vizquel hall of fame candidacy would be as controversial as it seems to have become.
Next year’s Baseball Hall of Fame inductions could have a Cleveland flavor to them.
What’s even more likely is that they’ll have more than a touch of controversy.