Today in Tribe History: March 7, 1960

Former slugging outfielder and World Series hero Joe Carter is born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Drafted with the second pick overall in the 1981 draft by the Cubs, Chicago dealt him to Cleveland with outfielder Mel Hall, pitcher Don Schulze, and minor leaguer Darryl Banks for future Cy Young winner Rick Sutcliffe, catcher Ron Hassey, and pitcher George Frazier in 1984.

Carter became a mainstay and force in the Indians lineup, leading the AL in RBI in 1986 with 121, becoming a 30-homer/30-stolen base player in 1987 (the first to ever do so for Cleveland), and hitting a career-high 35 homers in 1989. Following the season and with his free agency on the horizon after the coming season, he was sent to the San Diego Padres for catcher Sandy Alomar, infielder Carlos Baerga, and utility player Chris James.

After a season in California, he was traded with future Indians second baseman Roberto Alomar to the Toronto Blue Jays for first baseman Fred McGriff and shortstop Tony Fernandez, another player who would have ties to Cleveland in his future. Carter would become a five-time All-Star with the Jays, hitting the World Series-clinching three-run walk-off home run off of Philadelphia’s Mitch Williams in the bottom of the ninth in Game Six of the 1993 World Series.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. So when did the team go from being the Spiders to the Indians and what was Sockalexis’ role in the name change?

    1. The Spiders spent a pair of seasons in the American Association (1887-88) before joining the National League in 1889. They were in existence from 1887 to 1899, when the Robison ownership group gutted the team and relocated its best players (ex. Cy Young, Jesse Burkett, Patsy Tebeau, Ossee Schrecongost, Lave Cross, Jack O’Connor, among many others) to the club that they also owned in St. Louis, the Perfectos. The 1899 season by the Spiders (20-134) is one of the worst seasons for any club in professional sports history. The team drew so poorly at the gates in Cleveland with its depleted roster that “home games” were often played in visiting clubs’ parks to elicit something of value, in terms of attendance and ticket sales.

      Cleveland played without a professional team in 1900 (but had the minor league Lake Shores in the new American League) before the league became a pro rival to the NL and the city was represented by the Blues. The Blues would also go by the Bronchos before becoming the Naps in 1903.

      Sockalexis’ role in the name change is tied to the long-standing belief that the Indians were named in his honor, despite the outfielder playing just three professional seasons in Cleveland. Tebeau’s Spiders’ club earned a secondary nickname in the media as the “Indians” when Sockalexis was on the club from 1897 to 1899. When the team looked to rename itself ahead of the 1915 season, the name Indians was selected, but far more likely due to the success of the Boston Braves (which had won the 1914 World Series with a four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Athletics) than because of Sockalexis’ brief 94-game playing career with the Spiders.

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