Join Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down to Opening Day!
Countdown to Opening Day – 21
In 1998, Cleveland retired the number 21 in honor of longtime Tribe member Bob Lemon, whose transition from a position player to a quality starting pitcher led to seven trips to the Midsummer Classic, a leading role in the 1948 and 1954 American League champion Indians teams, and ultimately, a spot in Cooperstown in the Hall of Fame.
But while Lemon last wore the number on the field as a player with the Indians in 1958, several big names would honor the work that he had done in the jersey with quality careers in a Cleveland uniform in the years to come.
In a promotional event gone awry, the Cleveland Indians are forced to forfeit their game against the Texas Rangers as the “10-cent beer night” promotion leads to fan unruliness and a violent playing environment at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
Were you one of the tens of thousands who had headed into downtown Cleveland Monday morning or early afternoon, your eyes set on a pregame meal and maybe a libation or two before helping usher in the 2016 Major League Baseball season at Progressive Field, only to have those dreams squashed shortly before they could become a reality?
If you were, you certainly were not alone. And while it may have provided you with a story or two to tell in the future, that story will pale in comparison to those who endured the last postponement of an Indians Home Opener in the city of Cleveland.
It was Friday, April 6, 2007, and the Indians were set to open the home schedule that season against the Seattle Mariners in a 4:05 PM start.
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 – 21 days
The Indians’ #21 jersey will never be worn again, as the team retired the number for their Hall of Fame pitcher, Bob Lemon, in 1998. The last player to actually don the number was pitcher Greg Swindell during the 1991 season, but the last person to wear it was former Tribe manager Mike Hargrove.
Grover wore #21 on his back for all 12 years of his playing career – including the seven he spent in Cleveland – and then again for the first seven and a half years he spent as a manager. He surrendered the number and switched to #30 nearly two decades ago in the middle of the ’98 season when the Indians raised Lemon’s number up into the mezzanine section at Jacobs Field. The uniform switch occurred almost a decade and a half after Hargrove hung up his playing spikes as well.
Hargrove posted a 721-591 record during his Indians tenure, leading the team to five consecutive division titles and postseason berths and two American League pennants. The 97-65 Indians team was eliminated by the wild card Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series after Cleveland jumped out to a 2-0 series lead.
His win total is second best in club history, trailing the 728 wins of Lou Boudreau.
I’ll never forget the summer of 1995.
I was 13 years old, just about to enter the eighth grade and in love with the Cleveland Indians. But I wasn’t just some fair-weather fan. In my mind, I had dealt with the hardships of the bad years, having lived through the late 80’s and early 90’s teams that lost almost all of the time. I couldn’t stand that it was suddenly sopopular to root for the Indians. The words “fair weather fans” became a part of my regular vocabulary during the summer of ’95. Where were all of you when the rest of us were all rooting for a losing team? It wasn’t until I was in college and the glory years were almost over that I realized that I hadn’t really “dealt” with anything.
“Kids growing up (in the 90’s) and that’s all they knew…they’re in trouble,” former Indian and TV color man Rick Manning said. “Now look at it…it’s not even close. (The way it is now) is how Indians baseball was when I played (1975-1983) and even before me.”
People my age are spoiled. I’m only 30-some years old and have seen the best, most exciting stretch of baseball that Cleveland has ever had. Sure, I haven’t seen my Tribe win the ultimate prize, but heck, my father just turned 60 and has seen the exact same amount of World Series titles that I have. We’ve seen the same amount of pennants as well, unless you count the one in 1954 when he was two (even with as big of a baseball fan as my dad is, I doubt that he was paying attention at two).
Throughout the 2015 season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will take a look back at the 1995 Cleveland Indians for the 20th anniversary of their fourth pennant winning season. Included will be historic game recaps, headlining stories and a ranking of the team’s most influential players that truly made 1995 The Greatest Summer Ever. Today looks back September 8, 1995.
At long last, the Cleveland Indians are the 1995 American League Central Division Champions.
Let that sink in for a second before you pop the champagne.
The Cleveland Indians…champions.
This is the same franchise that lost 105 games four years ago. It’s the same one we watched struggle and end each of the last 41 years (a baseball record for futility) in frustration. The same one that was picked to win the World Series less than a decade ago and instead finished in the basement of the AL East. Now, they’re going to the playoffs and are ready to party like its 1948.
The Cleveland Indians are the American League Central Division Champions.
Throughout the 2015 season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will take a look back at the 1995 Cleveland Indians for the 20th anniversary of their fourth pennant winning season. Included will be historic game recaps, headlining stories and a ranking of the team’s most influential players that truly made 1995 The Greatest Summer Ever. Today looks back June 19, 1995.
If the Cleveland Indians of 1995 are turning in a dream season, we should all hope that we never wake up.
The Tribe improved baseball’s best record to 35-13 by recording their third walk-off homerun of the month—this one a 10th inning, opposite field shot by Manny Ramirez off of Boston pitcher Ken Ryan that gave the Indians a 4-3 win over the Red Sox on Monday evening at Jacobs Field.
In addition to being the third walk-off homerun this season, the victory was the Indians 12th win in their last at-bat this season, eight of which have come at home. The Tribe also now have 20 comeback wins this season, four of which have come against the Red Sox. The win also pushed the Indians record in extra innings to a perfect 5-0.