Although they haven’t won a World Series since 1948, the Cleveland Indians haven’t gone without recognition. While nothing can replace the prestige of a World Series win, there have been quite a few other awards that have come the Tribe’s way throughout the years. They’re not World Series rings but, in true Cleveland fashion, they are all, of course, major awards.
Along with winning the World Series in 1948, the Indians garnered some individual player recognitions, as well. Lou Boudreau was far and wide recognized as one of the most vital assets to that 1948 team, winning the Most Valuable Player award, The Sporting News Player of the Year, and The Sporting News AL Player of the Year. The Sporting News also recognized teammate Bob Lemon as the AL Pitcher of the Year in 1948, giving the Indians a few extra gloating opportunities.
The Indians had a few more brushes with glory in the 1950s, despite their teams as a whole not being able to make it back to the World Series’ winners’ circle. Al Rosen was named the 1953 MVP, and Herb Score was the Rookie of the Year in 1955. Score also earned the title of Rookie Pitcher of the Year from The Sporting News, where Lemon was again named the AL Pitcher of the Year.
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.
It’s one of the most horrifying things to watch in baseball: a pitcher delivers to the batter, the batter connects, and then – BAM. The pitcher is down. It happens so quickly, there is little time to process what happened. Then the replays start and you can’t help but cringe. The pitcher is down, hit in the face by a screaming line drive. It’s a fate wished on no one.
When Carlos Carrasco went down on Tuesday night in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox after throwing only eight pitches, the stadium went silent. Fans from both sides waited to see the verdict.
Carrasco is reported to have suffered little more than a jaw contusion and is on the schedule to pitch Monday against the White Sox in Chicago. However, the result of his injury could have been career-ending. Here’s a look at some pitchers who have suffered the same fate, with mixed results (strangely, the Indians seem to be involved in quite a few of these occurrences). While an injury such as this seems to merely be a bump in the road for some players, as some of these stories demonstrate, the results are not always so positive, and a hit to face can often have much, much worse ramifications than missing a start or two.
He had one victory in his major league pitching career, but Cy Slapnicka was a baseball lifer.
Slapnicka spent a decade as a pitcher in the minor leagues, and five years as general manager for the Indians, but he’s probably best known as a scout. Much of the talent assembled by the Indians in the 1940s and 1950s was done at his direction, but his greatest find was another pitcher from Iowa, Bob Feller.
They called Herb Score the “Howitzer.” The lefty mowed down hitters while pitching in the minor leagues in Indianapolis in 1954, leading people to consider him the heir to Bob Feller, who was then closing in on retirement. In Indianapolis, Score went 22–5 and struck out 330 batters.
Score’s rookie year of 1955 was one for the books. He won 16 games and struck out 245 batters, a rookie record that stood until Dwight Gooden broke it in 1984. Score was the first rookie to whiff 200 batters since Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander had done it 44 years earlier. The next year, at 23, Score won 20 games.