Join Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down to Opening Day!
Countdown to Opening Day – 48
He may not have been one of the best to wear 48 in Cleveland, but Travis Hafner was one of the better sluggers in the history of baseball to have the number on his back.
Sam McDowell may hold the honor of being the best pitcher and player to wear 48 in Indians history, but Hafner easily claims that title from the offensive side of the game. The Indians’ long-time designated hitter was part of one of the better thefts in club history, as the team picked him off from the Texas Rangers in a low-cost trade that gave the Tribe a dangerous power-hitting weapon in the middle of their lineup for the better part of his decade in a Cleveland uniform, serving as a suitable replacement for another left-handed slugger, Jim Thome, who left the club following the 2002 season.
The Cleveland Indians play their first postseason game since 2001, welcoming in the New York Yankees for Game 1 of the American League Division Series. They play the ungracious host, as a three-run first and a five-run fifth inning lead them to an easy 12-3 victory.
The Florida State League Hall of Fame Committee announced their 2016 Class of Inductees on Friday. Former Indians first baseman and designated hitter Travis Hafner was among the nine honorees selected.
The 39-year-old Hafner last played in 2013 while a member of the New York Yankees, appearing in 82 games that season as the club’s designated hitter. He hit .202 that season with a dozen homers and 37 RBI in one of just two Major League seasons spent outside of a Cleveland Indians uniform.
“Pronk” began his professional career in 1997, when he signed with the Texas Rangers. The club had selected him in the 31st round of the 1996 draft out of Cowley County Community College in Arkansas City, Kansas.
Opening Day is like no other day of the year for baseball fans.
The stadium is sold out. Warm weather is on the way. There’s optimism. Everybody is tied for first place. A win can catapult a fan base’s spirit and a loss can crush early dreams.
No other day is full of overreactions quite like Opening Day.
So which Cleveland players have vaulted hopes on the season’s first day the best? I thought it might be interesting to find out and construct a lineup.
In order to be fair, I decided that the player must be in the top three number of games played in Openers started at their position and must have at least five games in under his belt, too. This eliminates any player who went 3-3 in their lone Opening Day contest as well as any pinch hitter who maybe went 1-1 with a home run in their lone Opener.