The Cleveland Indians play their first postseason game since 2001, welcoming in the New York Yankees for Game 1 of the American League Division Series. They play the ungracious host, as a three-run first and a five-run fifth inning lead them to an easy 12-3 victory.
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 – 63 days
According to the fantastic resource that is Baseball-Reference.com, 129 players have worn the number 63 in a Major League game during their careers. The Cleveland Indians have had five players from that list use the digits, with three of them providing some of the best career statistics of a number 63 to date.
Eric Bell was the first Cleveland Indians player to wear 63 when he took the mound for the Tribe as a reliever in 1991 and 1992, working in 17 games, making just one start, and posting a 4-2 record with a 3.78 ERA in those two years. Andrew Lorraine brought the number back to begin the next decade during his ten-game stay as a reliever for the club in 2000. Once Victor Martinez debuted the number in his first dozen Major League games in 2002, he set the trend for excellence for the number in Indians history.
Today continues DTTWLN’s three week examination of the Indians’ 2014 season and where it fell short of the playoff expectations established last winter. The staff will examine where the season went wrong and the challenges the front office faces to make the Indians contenders in 2015.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
In 1996, the Indians signed a young catcher out of Venezuela. This switch hitting catcher would eventually go on to make his debut in the majors at the age of 23 and then never look back. He would eventually reach All-Star status, go to the World Series, and become the cornerstone of one of the most potent offenses in recent baseball history. This catcher would be none other than Victor Martinez, who will become a free agent this winter.
It was a disappointing evening for #TribeTownInMoTown, as an early lead fell flat and the Indians fell to the Tigers in the first of a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers by a final score of 7-2.
Coming off their doubleheader sweep of the Minnesota Twins, their first traditional doubleheader sweep since September 29, 2010, the Indians met their division rival, the Detroit Tigers, at Comerica Park to begin a vital three-game series. David Price took the mound for Tigers, matched against Carlos Carrasco, riding a career-high four game winning streak heading into Friday night’s game.
Trevor Bauer closed his eyes in the top of the sixth inning, composing himself before he faced the leadoff batter. In typical Bauer fashion, he had a messy first inning and gave up four runs to the Tigers, followed by pitching five innings of scoreless baseball. The Indians tried to bring the entire team back into the game just as Bauer had done, though, despite tying the game in the seventh inning, they could not pull out ahead of the Tigers. Detroit delivered a seven-run eleventh inning and handed Cleveland an 11-4 loss in game four of their series, which allowed the Tigers to emerge the victors of the four-game series.
On Tuesday, Major League Baseball will conduct its 85th All-Star Game, this one taking place for the first time at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Cleveland Indians have been well represented over the years in the exhibition, first started in 1933 at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The Indians had three players on that first American League roster – pitchers Wes Ferrell and Oral Hildebrand and outfielder Earl Averill. Neither pitcher made it into the game for AL manager Connie Mack, but Averill entered the game as a pinch-hitter for pitcher General Crowder in the bottom of the sixth and delivered an RBI-single to score shortstop Joe Cronin with the final run of a 4-2 AL victory.
Averill would make six straight All-Star teams, but his Indians record for most All-Star appearances in a Cleveland jersey would be short-lived. Bob Feller would string together a total of eight trips to the Midsummer Classic, passing Averill with his appearance during the 1948 season before adding one more in 1950.