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.
Shane Bieber did not place in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, nor did Greg Allen, Adam Plutko, or Adam Cimber, as the Cleveland Indians’ long drought without a winner extends back to 1990, despite several high quality candidates over the last three decades. Former Tribe prospect Joey Wendle, traded to Oakland in the Brandon Moss trade in December of 2014, did earn a fourth-place share of this year’s award with 17 vote points.
It was no surprise that the Indians’ 23-year-old right-handed starting pitcher Bieber did not fit into the mix in a season that saw winner Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels wow with 22 homers and a .285 batting average while also going 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in ten starts before being shut down from his rotation work with right elbow issues. New York Yankees wunderkinder Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres finished second and third, respectively.