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 that day – which remains his proudest moment as a major leaguer.
Behind a strong start from Sonny Siebert, the Cleveland Indians win their tenth straight game to open the season, tying the modern day record, with a 2-1 win over the California Angels.
In his second start and fourth appearance overall …
Cleveland and Detroit pull off a surprising swap just before the start of the season, as the Indians acquire reigning American League batting champ Harvey Kuenn for last season’s leader in home runs in the AL, Rocky Colavito.
The controversial …
To this day, former Indians general manager Frank Lane is known as “Trader” for his almost pathological need to have transactions.
He’s most notorious for dealing Rocky Colavito to the Tigers in 1960, but just five days before that – 55 years ago this week – he pulled the trigger on a deal that might have been worse.
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 19, 1995.
Move over Al Rosen, Rocky Colavito and pretty much everyone else that has ever hit a homerun in Indians history…Albert Belle is officially on fire at a historical level.
He probably just hit another homerun while you were reading that.
Belle hit three more homeruns on Tuesday night at Comisky Park in Chicago as the Indians defeated the White Sox 8-2. The three bombs came just one day after Belle rocked the Pale Hose for two bombs in an 11-1 victory, tying the Major League record with five homeruns in two consecutive games.
“He was everything a ballplayer should be. Best of all, he had a nickname. Baseball fans love nicknames, especially when they fit.” –Terry Pluto, The Curse of Rocky Colavito: A Loving Look at a Thirty-Year Slump
When you think about the most popular players in recent Cleveland Indians memory, you might think about the mighty power of Jim Thome, Travis Hafner or Albert Belle. If not, maybe you think of the defensive mastery of Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton and Roberto Alomar. How about the game-changing abilities of CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee or Grady Sizemore? Or maybe, you simply remember players who had that “it” factor like Jason Kipnis, Victor Martinez and Carlos Baerga.
When you think about the most popular Cleveland Indian of all-time, however, take all of those aspects, bunch it up tight, and crunch it into one ‘Rock’ of a ballplayer.
Last week, the Major League Baseball family lost a trailblazer and an icon of the sports scene, not just in the city of Chicago, but across the entire county, with the death of Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.
Mr. Cub, who would have turned 84 on Saturday, signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1953. The next season, he would become a mainstay on the lineup card, leading the league in games played for the first of six times in his career. He would spend 19 years in the Show, winning consecutive MVP awards in 1958 and 1959 while making eleven All-Star teams. A rare breed of shortstop for any era, he hit 40 homers or more five times in a six year span and drove in 143 runs in during his phenomenal 1959 campaign.
Despite the accomplishments and accolades, the first ballot Hall of Famer in 1977 also sits atop the list of men who played in the most career games without a postseason appearance.
When it comes to popularity in the city of Cleveland, a local legend still towers above the rest in terms of lovability and respect.
“It’s hard to explain,” said former Indians outfielder Rocky Colavito. “So many people remembering you, and they talk to their kids, and they remember too. It’s definitely a wonderful feeling.”
Now at 80 years old, Colavito remembers fondly back on his time playing baseball and especially his time in Cleveland, as he still enjoys the game that gave him a prolific 14-year career. He pays attention to the game of baseball—and especially his Indians—even though he is transplanted into Philadelphia Phillies country.