Tribe Prospects Wrap Up Offseason with Hot Stove Dinners and Winter Development... January 29, 2015 | Laurel Wilder
Catching Up With Brian Anderson January 28, 2015 | Steve Eby
Brothers Face Off for First Time in 1920 Series... January 27, 2015 | Vince Guerrieri
Time for Tribe to Bring Red Jerseys out of Closet... January 26, 2015 | Mike Brandyberry
A little bit of cold in the air, construction work all around, and plenty of snow covering the field at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario could not keep the legions of baseball fans in Cleveland from coming to the Indians’ home on Saturday to celebrate life as a Tribe fan.
The third annual Tribe Fest is well under way, with the Friday night VIP session and two of the three weekend public sessions in the books already. As with the previous two years, fans came out of their winter hibernations to soak in an opportunity to see some of their favorite Indians, past and present, and representatives from the front office and broadcasting team in a unique chance to rub elbows with some of the stars of the game.
This has been a quiet off season for the Cleveland Indians. Even quieter than many others in the past.
In the Tribe’s two biggest moves, the team added a pair of talented players both coming off seasons marred by injury. If starting pitcher Gavin Floyd and power hitting first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss can each remain healthy, the Indians have upgraded themselves tremendously.
However, even if either one or both additions fail to materialize, Cleveland still has a roster and the coaching capable of contending for a postseason berth. The difference will be whether the Tribe is contending with the Tigers for the American League Central crown and the rest of the AL for league supremacy or for a second Wild Card appearance in two years.
The 1920 World Series would feature two teams in search of their first championship. But unlike the Indians, who were making their first appearance in the Fall Classic, their opponent, the Brooklyn Dodgers, were making their second appearance in four …
The roster is taking shape, the Major League positions are being filled, and now the Indians have assigned names to their player development roles throughout the organization. It’s one of the finishing winter steps and brings the organization that much closer to the start of the 2015 season.
This upcoming season, the Indians minor league and player development roles are filled by well-known names from the organization, including former Tribe players and managers from years past.
Sometimes making a change that can be tough to swallow initially can eventually work out for the best. For former Indians reliever Doug Jones, a switch out of the starting rotation ended up turning him into one of the most effective closers that baseball has ever seen.
Jones started his long career as a young starting pitcher in the Milwaukee Brewers organization after being drafted in the third round of the 1978 amateur draft. He worked through multiple seasons in the minor leagues finding only mixed successes and failures. Jones was called up briefly in the 1982 season and only spent only four games with the Brewers before being sent back down to the minors for what turned out to be another four seasons. After becoming a free agent and signing on with the Cleveland Indians in 1985, Jones made a tough career-altering turn by switching from the starting rotation to the back end of the bullpen.
“That change happened in the minor leagues when I came from the Brewers to the Indians,” Jones recalled. “It was basically take whatever role they would give me and make it work somehow.”
The Indians departed Cleveland for St. Louis on Sept. 25 hanging on to a half-game lead in the American League. If ever there was a time to put it away, it would be against the Browns, a fourth-place team that the Indians had been able to handle throughout the year.
The Indians scored three in the first inning, but Ray Caldwell got shelled in the bottom half of the frame, giving up five runs. Indians player-manager Tris Speaker turned to George Uhle, a second-year player who had won 10 games in 1919. Uhle had made just six starts that year, and his ERA was up over 5. But that day, he threw six shutout innings and helped start a third-inning rally with a two-run double. Stan Coveleski came on for the save and the Indians won 7-5. Meanwhile, the White Sox beat the Tigers 8-1 to keep pace.
Duster Mails took the hill for the Indians at Sportsman’s Park on Sept. 27, and the Browns countered with Dixie Davis. Mails gave up a bases-loaded single to George Sisler, putting the Browns up 2-0, but settled in for his seventh win of the season as the Indians won 8-4. Charlie Jamieson picked a great time for his first home run, hitting a three-run shot in the top of the eighth. The White Sox shut out the Tigers that day, 2-0, and once again, the Indians remained half a game up.
Feller was a Cleveland Indians phenom with a blazing fastball, who had just come back from service in the U.S. Navy in World War II. Paige was an ageless wonder who had pitched throughout the Negro Leagues, including Chattanooga, Pittsburgh and Kansas City. Feller said Paige was the best pitcher he ever saw.
Two years later, the two were teammates, with Paige wearing number 29 for the Indians.
While other teams around the league, and specifically at the top of the American League Central Division, attempt to replenish their rosters after losing free agents to other gigs around baseball, the Cleveland Indians are nearly unscathed by those no longer under contract with the club.
The Indians may be in small company in returning nearly their entire roster after the completion of the 2014 season. No regular starting player has left, whether it be through free agency or trade. Meanwhile, the teams the Tribe found themselves behind at the end of last year have holes in their respective lineups to fill.
Two offseasons ago, the normally low-spending Cleveland Indians shocked the baseball world when they broke the bank on a pair of high-priced free agents.
A team loaded, with good, young talent the Tribe decided it was a couple of good, veteran players away from being a postseason contender. This was right on the heels of hiring veteran, World Series-winning manager Terry Francona to help guide a youthful group.
On Sept. 23, the Indians were clinging to a 1 ½ game lead over the White Sox as the two teams started a three-game series at League Park. There were 10 games left to play, and the pennant was still up for grabs.
But the White Sox had other things to worry about. The grand jury impaneled to look into allegations of the fixing of a Phillies-Cubs game had started hearing testimony that was regarded as unthinkable: That the White Sox had thrown the previous year’s World Series.
“The last World Series between the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds was not on the square,” Assistant State’s Attorney Hartley Replogle said. “From five to seven players on the White Sox team are involved.”