The Yankees were desperate, as outfielder Dave Winfield was facing back issues that would ultimately force him to miss the entire season. But the Indians had dealt Hall – an everyday player with at that point a career .281 batting average – for Skinner, a backup catcher and a minor leaguer? It looked like the latest episode in a sad tradition for the team for really the previous thirty years, since Trader Lane dealt Rocky Colavito and Norm Cash: Deal a talented player in return for some magic beans that weren’t so magical.
But it was a move that was long in coming – and frankly, somewhat of a relief – for the Indians.
As Did The Tribe Win Last Night helps fans count down the days until the Indians retake the field in an official Major League game, we look back at some of the players who wore the Cleveland jersey with pride.
Countdown to Opening Day – 68 days
When looking at the Cleveland Indians current roster, one of the glaring concerns this offseason has been the outfield depth.
With Michael Brantley on the shelf to start the season after shoulder surgery, it leaves the Indians with plenty of question marks and concerns about the quality of the rest of their outfield. Abraham Almonte and Lonnie Chisenhall both performed nicely in the second half, but have been inconsistent throughout their careers. Free agent addition Rajai Davis is 35 years old and saw a stark decline in his base stealing last year, one of the qualities he brings to the table annually. Others around the club provide more questions than answers due to age, experience, or results.
The same could not be said of the club in the late 1980’s, when each of the first two players to wear the number 68 in franchise history were blocked behind a large number of other options available on the Indians roster.
So – elephant in the room – it would appear that the Indians aren’t going to win the World Series.
And it’s safe to assume that most of us blame this on Sports Illustrated.
Those voodoo-priest bastards just had to go and throw Michael Brantley and Corey Kluber on the cover and pick the Tribe to win the whole thing. But give SI credit – the juju they’ve got cooking in their black-curtained editorial offices works fast. Almost as fast as the last time they put the whammy on the Indians with an LSD-induced World Series prediction in 1987.