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 19, 1995.
Move over Al Rosen, Rocky Colavito and pretty much everyone else that has ever hit a homerun in Indians history…Albert Belle is officially on fire at a historical level.
He probably just hit another homerun while you were reading that.
Belle hit three more homeruns on Tuesday night at Comisky Park in Chicago as the Indians defeated the White Sox 8-2. The three bombs came just one day after Belle rocked the Pale Hose for two bombs in an 11-1 victory, tying the Major League record with five homeruns in two consecutive games.
With Belle now included, 17 players have accomplished this feat a total of 19 times in baseball history. It is the second time it has occurred this season, as Oakland’s Mark McGwire did it on June 10 and 11, while Belle is just the second Indian to hit the milestone in franchise history. The only other time a Tribesman hit five homers in two games was Joe Carter on July 18 and 19 of 1989. Ironically, Belle hit his first Major League homerun during the second game of Carter’s barrage. In case you were wondering, the three-game record for homeruns is six, done once by Tony Lazerri of New York in 1936 and Gus Zernial of Philadelphia in 1951.
Belle’s hot bat is nothing new at this point. Including the two homeruns he hit on Friday night, he has now hit seven in his last five games. He has hit an impressive 13 in his last 21 games and a whopping 25 in his last 49. He has hit 44 on the season, which has now broken Rosen’s former franchise record of 43. Rosen set the previous record in his MVP season of 1953.
Belle’s 44 homers currently pace the American League by a wide margin. The last time a Cleveland Indian led the AL in homeruns was when Rocky Colavito blasted 42 in 1959.
The three homers on Tuesday were all of the leadoff-variety, as Belle led off the sixth, eighth and ninth innings in style. The blast in the sixth came with the Indians nursing a 2-0 lead that they created in the first inning and traveled an estimated 436 feet. The titanic nearly almost landed on the concourse behind Comisky Park’s left field bleachers.
The eighth inning homer tied Rosen’s franchise record and kick-started the rally that put the game out of reach, as the Tribe had only a 3-1 advantage heading into the inning. This blast just snuck over the wall in dead centerfield, but still traveled 407 feet to push the lead to 4-1. The rest of the Indians still-potent offense proceeded to bat around and put the game out of reach for the White Sox by scoring three more times. The frame was highlighted by an RBI double from Herbert Perry and RBI singles from Kenny Lofton and Omar Vizquel.
In the ninth, Belle finished the evening by lifting reliever Rod Bolton’s pitch 422 feet over the centerfield fence and put the score at its final of 8-2. This was the blast that put Belle alone atop the Indians single-season record list and put an exclamation point on the Indians 93rd victory of the season. Belle did not get any love from the White Sox or their fans, however, as Comisky Park is the same stadium in which Belle was accused of, and found with, having a corked bat just over a year ago.
In addition to Belle’s tear, another red-hot Indian kept an impressive string going on Tuesday. Starting pitcher Charles Nagy has definitely turned his season around at the right time, as the right hander has gone 5-0 with a 2.49 ERA over his last six starts. Nagy worked seven innings and allowed just one run on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts on Tuesday. He had a shutout going until Barry Lyons took him deep in the seventh inning. Going back over his last 16 appearances, Nagy has posted a stellar 11-1 record.
The Indians will look to finish off the sweep of the White Sox on Wednesday, as September call-up Joe Roa (17-3, 3.50 in AAA) will make his Major League debut. Roa, who will immediately become the shortest name letter-wise in Major League history, will be matching up against the struggling Jason Bere (7-13, 6.98). The game can be seen locally on SportsChannel or can be heard on WKNR-AM/1220 on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.