Monday, February 25, 2008

Indians Uniform Number - 6 (Part 2 of 3)

Today, I continue looking at the players who wore the Number 6. We have some serious contenders for the All-Time Number 6 in here, and I'm looking forward to seeing who else is left in the Number 6 countdown! This is part 2 of 3:

Eddie Robinson - 2 full seasons and 3 partial seasons (1942, '46-'48, '57) - Robinson previously appeared in our All-Time list wearing Number 3. During his brief appearance in 1957 with the Tribe, he sported Number 6. As reported before, he played for three teams in 1957 (Tiger, Indians, Orioles) but his best run during that time was during his 19 games in Cleveland (batting .222 versus batting .000 for the other two teams). Here is a recap of the rest of his Indians career: He played in 8 games each for his first two seasons with the Indians. In '47, he hit 14 homers and brought in 52 total RBIs. He then went on to help the Tribe win the World Series in '48 after batting in 83 RBIs and 125 hits in 134 games. He is most notoriously known for not lending Larry Doby his first baseman's mitt (according to snopes and other internet sources).

Ever Magallanes - 1 season (1991) - Magallanes batted in three games, though only appeared at the plate twice. He was sent to first on balls and had a strike out, netting him a .000 average yet a .333 OBP. In 1995, after several years in various minor league systems, the Indians re-signed him in 1995, only to drop him two months later (no pro-appearances).

Harvey Kuenn - 1 season (1960) - The story goes that Kuenn was booed often during his time in Cleveland. Evidently the fans blamed him for Colavito's leaving town. So much so in fact, that he is solely responsible for what Tribe fans called, "The Curse of Colavito," which even earned its own Wikipedia page (here). Despite the not-so-warm reception, in 474 at-bats, he knocked 65 runs on 146 hits with 24 doubles and 9 homers. He also managed to bring in 54 RBIs and only 25 strikeouts. He left Cleveland fans with a .308 average to mull on...

Jack Kubiszyn - 2 seasons (1961-62) - In 1961, he wore Number 6, but switched to Number 2 in 1962 (which ironically together gives him the final year of his major league career - 62). He is another Triber who we have seen before. He played in 25 games each year his baseball career. He averaged 214 the first year and fell off to 164 during his second. His 50-game stint in the Bigs netted him 1 home run.

Jim Thome - 12 seasons (1991-2002) - It is no secret that Thome is one of my all-time favorite players. In his rookie year, he wore the number 6 briefly before switching to his preferred Number 25. Thome's career with the Tribe set home run records, including the farthest hit in a Cleveland stadium (511 feet, thank you), strikeout records (while maintaining .265+ averages), and base-on-balls records (often having as many walks as hits during many seasons). His Indians career gave him 4640 at-bats in which he got 917 runs on 1332 hits with 259 doubles and 20 triples as he knocked in 334 home runs, resulting in 927 RBIs. His Indians-career average of .278 includes 997 walks and 1377 strike outs. Not only did he knock the ball around, he also swung at a LOT of balls, but also laid off more than a fair share (for which he was often criticized). He made three All-Star appearances as a Triber, helped the Tribe in six division series seasons, three league championship series, two World Series showings. While doing some research, I found this little ditty: "Thome, who wears his socks high to honor his late grandfather, grew up a Cubs fan in Peoria, Illinois. At the age of ten, he jumped onto the Wrigley Field turf to get Dave Kingman's autograph, only to be hoisted back into his seat by Chicago backstop Barry Foote." Though not a contender for Uniform Number 6, he certainly has a shot at Number 25, so we'll see him later in the countdown (count-up!?).

Joe Altobelli - 2 seasons (1955, 1957) - Another number-jumper, Altobelli wore 45, 6, and 5 during his Indians days. In fact, he wore 45 and 6 during his rookie year. In 1955, his 75 at-bats earned him 8 runs on 15 hits, with 3 doubles, 2 homers, giving him 5 RBIs. He also walked 5 times, ending the season with a .200 average. We saw him recently in the Number 5 list, and here is what we uncovered then: Most notable known for managing the O's to their 3rd World Series championship, Altobelli barely squeaked out .200 averages during his time in a Tribe uniform. One area he was scarily consistent? How about this: In his 3 years as an MLB player, he struck out 14 times EACH YEAR...

Joe Azcue - 7 seasons (1963-1969) - Azcue wore the Number 6 for his entire Indians career except for 1967, in which he wore Number 7. Azcue's 100 hits, 23 runs, and 42 RBIs earned him a spot on the 1968 All-Star team. He came to the Tribe in '63 from the A's, and he finished his first year in Cleveland with a .284 average. During his Indians career, he only had one season below .250, and five of his Indians' seasons were better than .270! His career in Cleveland gave him 1904 at-bats with 506 hits, 229 RBIs, 132 walks, and an overall average of .269. A couple of his interesting career facts include catching two no-hitters, and being the first person to hit into an unassisted triple play since 1927 (41 years) (July, 1968) - ouch.

Joe Vosmik - 7 seasons (1930-1936) - Who says looks don't mean anything? According to, Indians' manager Billy Evans asked his wife what she thought about the tryouts. She reportedly chose "the good-looking blond boy," and what a choice she made. Vosmik grabbed a spot on the 1935 AL All-star team with his incredible .348 batting average: 620 at-bats, 93 runs, 216 hits, 47 doubles, 20 triples, and 10 homers, grabbing 110 RBIs with only 30 strike outs. During his Tribe time, he nailed FOUR .310+ avg seasons. His others? .231 (rookie), .263, and .287 (his final with the Tribe). He batted 3207 times with 1003 hits, 312 walks, and only 147 strike outs. His overall Indians career average? How does .300 sound?

Johnny Gray - 1 season (1957) - Gray pitched in 7 games. In his 20 total innings pitched, he managed to give up 17 runs (including 1 homer) and walk 13 players. His 3 strikeouts couldn't save him from a 5.85 ERA. He also managed to have 4 at-bats, which amounted to a .000 average.

Jolbert Cabrera - 4+ seasons (1998-part of 2002) - In '98, Cabrera batted in only one game, which netted him a goose-egg average for the year. The next season, he came up to .189. His strength lies in his ability to play anywhere on the field except pitching and catching. In 2000, he brought his average up to .251 and in 2001, he helped the Tribe during the LCS by getting on base in his only at-bat. His average that year was .261. In 2002, his .111 average in 72 at-bats got him traded to the Dodgers.

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