Today in Tribe History: November 16, 1954
Bob Toth | On 16, Nov 2020
The Cleveland Indians acquire future Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner from the Chicago Cubs as the player to be named later for an earlier trade involving minor league pitcher Sam Jones. Indians minor league outfielder Gale Wade will be sent to Chicago in two weeks to complete the deal.
Kiner will conclude his Major League career at the age of 32 with his one season in Cleveland, batting .243 with 18 home runs and 54 RBI in 1955 (a nagging back injury forced him out of the game prematurely). At the time of his feats, he was the quickest Major League Baseball player to reach the 100, 200, and 300 home run plateaus (the first two have since been surpassed by Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard). He was a six-time All-Star outfielder for Pittsburgh in parts of eight seasons with the club and spent parts of two seasons with the Cubs prior to being dealt to the Indians.
Kiner was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975 and spent a lengthy career in the broadcast booth, one season with the Chicago White Sox and the remaining years with the New York Mets, until his death in 2014 at the age of 91.
Jones, an Ohio native who had appeared in just 16 games for the Indians in 1951 and 1952, will be an All-Star for the Cubs in 1955, despite a 14-20 record at year’s end. He will lead the league in walks and strikeouts, losses, and hit batters. That season, “Toothpick Sam” also became the first African-American to throw a no-hitter in the Majors. He will again be an All-Star in 1959 and will finish that season with a 21-15 record and a 2.83 ERA for the San Francisco Giants.
Wade played 19 games over two seasons with the Cubs in his MLB cup of coffee.