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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 Unlike other managers around the league, Francona opts for other attire while in the dugout, so his new 17 has been replaced by an Indians hoodie, among other gear.
While there may not be much love lost between fans of the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, the two were, for a long time, almost kindred spirits. The two storied franchises had traveled two distinct paths for a substantial portion of their existences, but both knew far too well the difficulty in bringing home a championship.
Both organizations joined the American League in 1901. Within three years, the Americans knocked off the Pittsburgh Pirates in eight games for the World Series title, backed by the strong pitching of former Cleveland pitcher and future Naps starter Cy Young. There would be five titles in total for the Boston club in its first 18 years of existence, while Cleveland needed its 20th season in 1920 to secure its first postseason trip and the first world championship in franchise history.
Postseason baseball makes its triumphant return to Cleveland after a 41-year hiatus and Indians fans get plenty of extra baseball as the Tribe walks off with a 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox courtesy of a 13th inning home run from Tony Pena.
The Atlanta Braves allow just one hit and defeat the Cleveland Indians by a 1-0 final to win Game 6 and clinch the World Series title.
Indians starter Dennis Martinez gave it his all on the mound, lasting four and two-thirds scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and walked five in that short 82-pitch span, but somehow escaped harm’s way.
Throughout the 2015 season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will take a look back at the 1995 Cleveland Indians for the 20th anniversary of their fourth pennant winning season. Included will be historic game recaps, headlining stories and a ranking of the team’s most influential players that truly made 1995 The Greatest Summer Ever. Today looks back September 18, 1995.
The best performances of the season out of Tony Pena and Ken Hill are going to go completely overlooked, but nobody on Albert Belle’s team is going to gripe about him stealing the spotlight.
Pena may have gone 4-4 with a three run homerun on Monday night while Hill worked his first complete game in over a year, but Belle stole all the headlines by slugging two more homeruns in the Indians 11-1 trouncing of the White Sox at Comisky Park.
The playoffs are a distant dream now for the Cleveland Indians, but playing spoilers became reality over the weekend as they blasted the Minnesota Twins for 34 runs while taking two of three from their reeling division rival. Those Twins, who has now dropped eight of their last ten, have lost the strong grip they once held over one of the two American League Wild Card spots.
Now, the New York Yankees (61-49) come to town after being swept by the hard-charging Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend. The series sweep at the hands of their division rival cut their lead in the AL East down to one and a half games, while the Blue Jays have strengthened their hold on the Wild Card spot in the league. The Yankees team managed just one run in 28 innings against the Blue Jays, who are far better known for their offense than their pitching, and were shut out in back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday. A second inning leadoff homer on Friday marks the last run that they have scored, leaving 26 scoreless frames in their wake since.
Meanwhile, the Indians (51-59) finally displayed some of the offense that the club has been lacking throughout the entire season. They fell a run short on Friday night, as a ninth inning home run from long-time enemy Torii Hunter gave the Twins a 10-9 win in a back-and-forth slugfest. The Indians got an early start on the fireworks on Saturday and erupted for 17 runs on 19 hits in a 17-4 win. Staff ace Corey Kluber took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on Sunday and the Indians gave him plenty of runs of support in his complete game 8-1 victory.
Throughout the 2015 season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will take a look back at the 1995 Cleveland Indians for the 20th anniversary of their fourth pennant winning season. Included will be historic game recaps, headlining stories and a ranking of the team’s most influential players that truly made 1995 The Greatest Summer Ever. Today looks back at player #16 Tony Pena.
On October 3, 1995, the city of Cleveland was buzzing. There was electricity in the air and everybody had one thing on their minds…Indians playoff baseball. Those were three words that had not been spoken in 41 years since Willie Mays and the New York Giants swept the 111-win Indians out of the 1954 World Series.
The Indians were the best team in baseball; fresh off of a 100-win season in only 144 games. They boasted the best lineup, the best pitching staff, the best bullpen, the best hitter and the best pitcher in the American league. That summer had been simply that…the best.
All of the accomplishments that the Indians made from April through September meant little, however, come playoff time. With the regular season behind them, the Indians had to start over from scratch. Their first opponent was the American League East Division Champion Boston Red Sox, led by MVP candidate Mo Vaughn and former MVP’s Roger Clemens and Jose Canseco.
Even with all the great players that the Red Sox had, the Indians were still the heavy favorites to win the series. The only real question was which Indian was going to be the hero? Would it be Albert Belle, the heavy favorite to win the ’95 MVP award? How about Jose Mesa, the record-setting closer? Perhaps a steady veteran such as Eddie Murray, Orel Hershiser or Dennis Martinez? Or maybe an All-Star like Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga or Manny Ramirez?
How about Tony Pena???
The 2014 season will mark 20 years of baseball at Progressive (ie Jacobs) Field. It’s been a relatively short history (although with the stadium building boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Progressive Field is the 13th oldest facility in the majors). Did the Tribe Win Last Night has compiled a list of the 20 most memorable moments in the field’s history. We’ll count them down for 20 consecutive Saturdays.
2. Game 1, 1995 ALDS
Prior to 1995, there was no Division Series (except in the strike year of 1981), and the last time the Indians had made the postseason, there was no Championship Series. The Tribe would face the Boston Red Sox, who had won the AL East in the new American League Division Series.
A recent development in Major League Baseball has seen former players take the reigns as a manager or coach with their former team.
The White Sox once employed their former shortstop, Ozzie Guillen, in the managing capacity. Now the team has its one-time third baseman in Robin Ventura in that seat. Joe Girardi, a former Yankees backstop, currently manages the Bronx Bombers. More recently, the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus, who used to be a catcher in Detroit, to replace the retired Jim Leyland as their bench boss.
In Cleveland, the Indians have a pair of their ex-players calling the shots. Terry Francona, who spent a season a Tribe player, is of course the manager of the team. The Indians also have Sandy Alomar, Jr., a key component of those successful 1990s squads, as its first base coach.