Cycles are one of those fun and silly accomplishments in a baseball game where players notch a single, double, triple, and home run over the course of game action. It may not be on the same level of other in-game accolades, like throwing a no-hitter, and yet it remains a rare occurrence in general.
The Cleveland Indians have tallied nine in their 119 years of play, fewer than the number of no-hitters (14) or triple plays turned (33) by the team. It puts the feat squarely on the list of the more unique events that an individual player can pull off over the course of a ball game, although it happens at a more common rate around Major League Baseball than it has for the Tribe.
In 2019, the Indians ended a drought of nearly three years between cycles (the shortest gap between them in the history of the franchise) when an unlikely player participated in the four-hit fun as the Indians routed the Detroit Tigers, 13-4, at Comerica Park.
Bobby Locke, a pitcher for five different Major League clubs over a nine-year big league career from 1959 to 1968, passed away on June 4 at the age of 86.
Born Lawrence Donald Locke on March 3, 1934, in the coal mining town of Rowes Run, Pennsylvania, “Bobby” attended Redstone High School in Republic, Pennsylvania. The eighth of ten kids and a two-sport star, he was a fullback, defensive back, and punter for the club and made the Fayette County All-Star team in football. On the diamond, he threw two no-hitters during his high school pitching career, but also played some outfield or anywhere else he was asked.
After high school, Locke headed to Arizona State University on a football scholarship, but quickly gave up on the sport and returned home. He signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Indians in October of 1952 to work as an outfielder and pitcher in their system and did so for a $6,000 bonus.
In a busy week in Indians history that included a significant trade, a cycle, a no-hitter, a brawl, and plenty of game action (unlike this year…), we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night take another trip down memory lane as we revisit a story published on June 8, 2016, by Vince Guerrieri. – BT
On June 10, 1959, Rocky Colavito was in the middle of a slump, having gotten three hits in his previous 28 at-bats.
It was a long fall from the previous season, when the young slugger with the matinee-idol good looks had clubbed 41 home runs, good for second in the American League. And the Indians, who were fading from contention, were playing the Orioles at Memorial Stadium – not known for its hitter-friendly dimensions. And to top it off, a throwing error the night before by Colavito sparked a rally for the Orioles to win.
But the next day, Colavito had a game for the ages – one which remains his proudest moment as a major leaguer.
This week’s trip down memory lane begins in 1966, when the Indians ended what was then the longest gap between no-hitters in franchise history in a story captured June 11, 2016, by Bob Toth.
On June 10, 1966, Sonny Siebert etched his name permanently into the record books when he no-hit the Washington Senators at Cleveland Stadium.
His gem was the eleventh no-hitter tossed by a member of the Cleveland franchise, as he joined the likes of Bob Rhoads, Addie Joss (2), Ray Caldwell, Wes Ferrell, Bob Feller (3), Don Black, and Bob Lemon. He ended what might have felt then like a never-ending drought between hitless games – the Indians were less than a month away from the 15th anniversary of Feller’s final no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers on July 1, 1951. (That nearly 15-year span is now the second longest in Indians history, as the team has not thrown a no-hitter since Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981.)
Take me out to the … brawl game? Today’s dig through the Did The Tribe Win Last Night archives takes us back to 1974, when the Cleveland Indians organization put on the wrong kind of show for baseball fans. Relive some of the highlights and lowlights in this June 4, 2012, excerpt from the book “Ohio Sports Trivia” by J. Alexander Poulton and DTTWLN’s Vince Guerrieri. – BT
Under the ownership of Bill Veeck in the 1940s, the Indians were known for some excellent promotions.
Veeck largely invented the concept of people coming out to the ballpark for events other than baseball, be they a mock funeral for the pennant, like he did in Cleveland in 1949, sending a midget up to bat, like he did when he owned the St. Louis Browns (and he feared this event would be on his tombstone) or a scoreboard that shot off fireworks, like he had at Comiskey Park when he owned the White Sox.
Baseball was once known as the perfect game, a religion unto itself, lived and breathed and romanticized by those willing to follow along with the most cerebral of games played. Though full of its own perfections, it is not without flaws that come to the surface. Ten years ago this week, the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers played out a game marred by one such umpire ruling that drastically and directly altered a historic event in the making.
On June 2, 2010, Comerica Park was set to play host to the second of three games in a series between the visiting Cleveland Indians and the home Detroit Tigers. It was the third meeting of the clubs that season and the second time the Tribe had headed north to play their division rivals. Armando Galarraga drew the starting nod for the Tigers, looking to fend off the Tribe and its rebounding right-hander Fausto Carmona.
Dennis Eckersley’s stay in Cleveland was curiously short, but in his three seasons with the Indians, he gave the club glimpses of what ultimately became a Hall of Fame career.
Eckersley entered the pro game in 1972 when the Indians drafted the Washington Union High School (Fremont, California) in the third round of the June amateur draft. The 17-year-old stayed fairly close to home early on, reporting to the team’s Reno, Nevada, affiliate in the California League. He made 12 appearances there in 1972 and 31 more in 1973, including a 15-strikeout performance in eight innings in a particularly dominant outing. Between seasons, he married his high school sweetheart, Denise, whom he had met during their freshmen year of high school at Washington High.
At the age of 19, Eckersley moved on to San Antonio, pitching in the Double-A Texas League while showing steady improvement in his numbers. He was the top vote getter for the Texas League All-Star Game after a 13-3 start and was named the league’s pitcher of the year. It was enough to catch the eye of the Indians’ front office, which brought him to spring camp in 1975 with a chance to win a job.
It’s the kind of event that almost 30 years later seems improbable and remains one of the more bizarre home runs hit in the storied history of Major League Baseball.
Players have crashed into walls and over walls attempting to reel in deep flies, but the list of persons which can claim Jose Canseco’s experience with this particular memory and claim to fame has to be limited (although it has been, unfortunately, duplicated in recent years). Canseco, who mashed 462 homers in the big leagues over the course of a 17-year career (tarnished by performance enhancing allegations), never hit a home run that was quite as memorable to the one in question popped over the outfield fence in Cleveland in 1993.
Today we remember Len Barker’s perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981, the last hitless game tossed by an Indians pitcher. This story was originally published by Bob Toth on May 15, 2019. – BT
Len Barker, getting the sign from Ron Hassey. Ernie Whitt stands in. Wind up, here it comes. Fly ball, center field. Manning coming on, he’s there…he catches it! Len Barker has pitched a no-hitter! A perfect game for Len Barker! The stands erupt, the players go out, Len Barker being surrounded on the field. He has made baseball history here tonight. Len Barker has pitched a perfect ball game. Faces 27 men, retires them all, eleven strikeouts. Len Barker being mobbed on the field, the Cleveland Indians win it, 3-0. – Herb Score’s call of Barker’s perfect game
The Cleveland Indians recorded the last no-hitter and perfect game in team history on May 15, 1981. I may be dating myself a great deal, but I was just a twinkle in an eye when the Indians added another name to the history book with the no-hitter and perfect game.
With the talented group of starting pitchers in the rotation over the last few years (and even last couple of decades), it may be something of a surprise that the Indians have not been able to hold an opposing club hitless over the course of nine innings. Baseball has changed dramatically, with an influx of strikeouts and an emphasis on scoring with one mighty swing of the bat. While on several occasions the Tribe has flirted with history, they have not been able to complete the feat last accomplished when Len Barker, on May 15, 1981, lifted his leg high and tight on a 1-2 pitch to Toronto Blue Jays catcher Ernie Whitt, inducing a fly ball to center field. Rick Manning raced in, arms extended straight out as though he were flying. He raised both arms above his head and he secured the catch before beginning his sprint to the mound with several high hops in celebration of the 27th and final out of Barker’s perfect game.
Five years ago this week, a struggling Corey Kluber took the mound still in search of his first win after winning the American League’s Cy Young Award for his outstanding efforts the previous season. He got that monkey off of his back in historic fashion in a game for the ages. We at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look back on his historic accomplishment in this week’s archives dive, going back to this story originally published November 24, 2015, by Bob Toth. – BT
In the defense of his first American League Cy Young Award, Corey Kluber looked a shell of his former self to begin the 2015 season.
It certainly was not entirely his fault. Through his first seven games, the Indians had been held winless in each outing and he took the loss in five of those games. While his 5.04 ERA in that stretch gave him a deserving chunk of the blame, the 18 runs of offense provided by his Cleveland teammates were enough to say that the losing skid was a united team effort.
Kluber took the mound on May 13th with a little something to prove to himself, to his teammates and fans, and to the rest of game of baseball. And prove it did he ever with a Herculean effort.
When thinking of incredible, insurmountable comebacks in the history of Major League Baseball, many fans (and especially Tribe fans) will look to August 5 of 2001, when the 61-48 Indians rallied back from two separate twelve-run deficits to shock the 80-30 Seattle Mariners with a stunning 15-14 extra inning walk-off win at Jacobs Field.
The unbelievable end results were heightened by the fact that both teams were very much in the playoff race and were destined to meet again in October, when the Mariners knocked off the Indians in five games in the American League Division Series after winning a Major League record 116 games (a record which still stands today).
Prior to that Herculean effort against the Mariners, the Indians’ largest home comeback at their gem at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario came on May 7, 1999, when the team used an 18-run barrage over its final three innings at the plate to stun the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 20-11. They accomplished it without Hall of Famer Jim Thome in the lineup, nor Hall worthy (in some eyes) Omar Vizquel, who was out of the lineup nursing a sore quad that had pestered him since mid-April.
With baseball rumored to be inching closer and closer to a proposed return, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night continue to wait out the grueling absence of sports across the country by looking back at the past. Today’s trip down memory lane, published by Vince Guerrieri on November 18, 2015, looks back at what could have been for Indians hurler Herb Score. – BT
A policeman in Lake Worth, Florida, alerted Slapnicka – the man who discovered Bob Feller – about the fireballing southpaw. He was signed to a contract at the age of 19 – with a $60,000 bonus. While the Indians won 111 games and the American League pennant in 1954, Score was mowing down batters at Triple-A Indianapolis on the way to being named the minor league player of the year, with a record of 22-5 and 350 strikeouts.
And big things were expected of him even when he went to his first Indians spring training in 1955. He was tabbed by the Sporting News – the “Bible of Baseball” – as a Rookie of the Year candidate. And he delivered on that prediction, going 16-10 and leading the league with 245 strikeouts – the most by a rookie in 44 years, and a rookie record that stood until Dwight Gooden shattered it in 1984. Indians manager Al Lopez named Score to that year’s American League All-Star team.