Monday, March 31, 2008

Indians Uniform Number - 8 (Part 2 of 3)

Heya folks! Welcome to the second installment of All-Time Triber Uniform Number 8! We have some potential candidates in here, and some folks that probably feel lucky enough to have ever played the game at all. Such is the mistress we call the Majors!

Jason Michaels - 2+ seasons (2006-Current) - Michaels came to the Tribe from Philly. In his first season with the Tribe, not only did he bat .267, but he was also selected by Indians as the Roberto Clemente Award winner in 2006. He donated the money to a local charity (the award comes with a $2500 check). Last year, he batted .270 will hopefully be able to keep it going.

Jeff Liefer - 1 season (2005) - In 19 games, Liefer had 5 runs on 11 hits with 8 RBIs. He also racked up 15 strikeouts, leaving the Tribe and his MLB career with a season finale .196 average.

Joe Becker - 2 seasons (1936-37) - Becker wore #8 one season, then #10 the next. His entire MLB player career consists of 40 games with 83 at-bats. He had 20 hits, 13 RBIs, 5 doubles, 2 triples, and a home run. His .180 average in 1936 rose to .333 the next year for a career playing average of .241. After he left the Tribe, he went on to coach minor league and then serve as pitching coach for the Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers and other teams.

John McDonald - 6 partial seasons (1999-2004) - McDonald wore the #8 his entire career with the Tribe except for the 2000 season, during which he became the ONLY player in Indians history (so far) to wear Number 72. So, when I finally get to #72, we already know who wins by default. But, for the sake of discussion, and since he mostly did play in the #8, let's take a peek at his stats. In 6 seasons, he batted in only 285 games. In his 623 at-bats, he scored 76 runs and 33 RBIs on 144 hits. He has 26 doubles, 5 triples, and 4 home runs. Getting struck out 103 times did not help his case, as he watched his seasonal averages fluctuate between career-high .444 (though that was in 9 at-bats in 2000) to his career-low the next year (.091 in 2001). He was a utility player who bounced around the infield during his Indians career. He won't win #8, so the single-season swap to #72 was a smart move when it comes to an All-Time list...

John Powers - Part of 1 season (1960) - Powers batted in 8 games after coming to the Tribe from the Orioles in 1960. He had 12 plate appearances and got 2 runs with 2 hits and he struck out twice. He had 1 double and 1 triple. As you can see, his final season seemed to center around the numbers 1 and 2... perhaps he should have chosen those as his jersey number....

Ken Keltner - 12 seasons (1937-44, 1946-49) - We first met Keltner wearing Number 6, and we will see him again wearing Number 9 for one season and Number 25 for 4-1/2. Keltner is recognized as the all-time greatest team third baseman. Remember, he is the one credited with the list of questions that "should" be asked of potential Hall-of-Fame inductees (the Keltner List)... While sporting the Number 8, he made four All-Star appearances (1941-44). Since we've already seen his overall stats in the Number 6 countdown, let's take a peek at his #8 playing days. In four seasons, he stepped up to the plate 2,205 times. He smacked 615 hits, scoring 276 runs with 292 RBIs. He also happened to get 137 doubles, 29 triples, and 46 home runs. We also have to take into account the 160 walks, 5 bean balls, and 141 strike outs. His batting average never fell below .260 and during the time he wore #8, his overall batting average comes to .278. Now, you don't become the greatest third baseman by just hitting the ball. During the same time period, he had 628 put outs with 1296 assists. That's 1296 assists in the 556 games in which he played. That's 2.33 per game. Oh, he also managed to get 135 double plays, while only committing 75 errors. All tolled, that's a 4-year average .963 fielding percentage. In case you've forgotten by now, this covers just PART of his career.

Kenny Kuhn - 3 seasons (1955-1957) - Kuhn spent his entire MLB career wearing Number 8 for the Indians. In 1955, he had 6 at-bats in 4 games. He had 2 hits and was walked once, netting a "career high" .333 average. The next season, he batted 22 times, getting 7 runs on 6 hits with 2 RBIs. But, 4 strike outs helped bring him down to a still-respectable .273. Unfortunately, in 1957, his average fell to .170 with 53 at-bats garnering 9 hits with 5 runs and 5 RBIs. The 9 strikeouts helped sink him, though was walked 4 times. He left the Indians with a career .210 MLB average.

Les Fleming - 5 seasons (1941-42, 1945-47) - Fleming wore Number 23 for the first two seasons, then switched to Number 8 for the last three of his Indians days. He played in 2 games in 1941 and in 8 at-bats, he managed a .250 average. The next year, he served as the full time first baseman, batting in 156 games. His 160 hits with 71 runs and 82 RBIs, while getting 27 doubles, 4 triples, and 14 homers raised his average to .292. According to "," he took a job in a 'war-related industry' in '43 and '44. His return in 1945 brought him 140 at-bats in 42 games for a .329 batting average. In 1946, he played in more than twice as many games, and essentially doubled many of his stats. Unfortunately, he increased his strikeouts nearly ten-fold, bringing his average down to .278. By 1947, his average had fallen further (to .242), and the Tribe sent him down the river to Pittsburgh.

Luke Sewell - 13 seasons (1921-1932, 1939) - I am a nerd, and I freely admit it. One of the appeals of Sewell for me as a kid was the fact that he shared his first name with Darth Vader's love-child. We previously talked about Sewell's amazing Indians career in the #2 uniform, for which he was chosen the All-Time Tribe #2. He played the majority of his career in Cleveland before uniform numbers were even used. Though he has already won spot on the All-Time list, I wanted to remind you of just why he was chosen in the first place: Sewell entered the major leagues with the Indians, playing in 3 games and amassing a .000 average. Unlike other Indians who had accomplished the same feat, the Tribe stuck with Sewell. Sewell was not a full-timer until 1926, and he came out swinging - 103 hits, 46 RBIs, but no homers, netting him a .238 avg. The next year, he smacked for a .294 avg with 53 RBIs, 138 hits, 27 doubles and six triples. One of his greatest accomplishments came due to his ability to keep strikeouts to a minimum. In fact, he never struck out more than 27 times in any one season, even with 430+ at-bats in several! He was also very dangerous on the base-path. His LOWEST percentage for the Tribe was .333 whenever he tried to steal. In fact, the only .000 stolen base seasons (with the Tribe) were the ones where he did not even ATTEMPT a steal. His overall stolen base avergae is just under .500 whenever he attempted to steal during his Indians career, and he had several seasons in which he was attempting 10 or more steals per season. He holds the MLB record for playing 20 seasons as an active catcher. That's what I'm talkin' about!

Manny Trillo - Part of 1 season (1983) - For some reason, I have it in my head that Manny Trillo played a stint for the Pirates when I was a kid, but his stats do not reflect that. I guess I have him confuzzed with another Trillo, perhaps? Oh well, Manny played in 88 games with the Tribe, getting 33 runs on 87 hits with 13 doubles, a triple, and a homer while scoring 29 RBIs. He was traded to the Expos, but he managed to get himself a spot on the AL All-Star team that year. He left Cleveland batting .272.

Mark Salas - 1 season (1989) - Salas served as part-time catcher for the Tribe in '89. He score 4 runs on 17 hits (77 at-bats) with 7 RBIs, 4 doubles, a triple, and 2 home runs. He was walked 5 times, and struck out a very unlucky 13 times. He hung up his Indians uniform, trading it for the stripes of a Tiger, leaving a .221 batting average behind. I thought it was cool that he played for the Arkansas Travelers, since I live here and all... :-)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tradin' with Ben

Ben Henry (Baseball Card Blog) posted a trade request some time ago. For pre-1980 Topps, he'd send out a stack of cards. I sent him a handful or so of Pre-80 Topps I had laying around, and he sent me about 50 cards in return. I can't help feel like he got the short end of the stick, so I plan to take care of that!

I believe most of the 'vintage' Topps I sent were Indians I had, but I think there was a 1978 Mike Schmidt, if memory serves. Don't worry Ben, there will be some more Pre-80's coming your way to help balance what you sent me!

Ben sent me: Two 1999 Topps '98 All-Topps Outfielders (Manny Ramirez), 1992 Topps Kids Sandy Alomar, 1993 Score Gold Rush Kenny Lofton, Dover Reprint Goudey Big League Bob Feller, 2003 Upper Deck Vintage Jim Thome, 1987 Fleer All-Stars Joe Carter, 1988 Topps '87 Record Breakers (Phil Niekro), 2008 Topps Opening Day Josh Barfield, 2006 Topps Turkey Red Grady Sizemore, 2008 Upper Deck Series 1 Rafael Betancourt, 2006 Topps Gold Bob Wickman (1693/2006), Topps Archives Ultimate 1954 Bob Kennedy, 2006 Topps Turkey Red C.C. Sabathia, 1984 Donruss Broderick Perkins, 2006 Turkey Red Victor Martinez, 2006 Topps Turkey Red Brian Slocum (that name has serious innuendo implications), 2006 Topps Turkey Red Casey Blake, 2006 Topps Turkey Red Cliff Lee, 2006 Topps Turkey Red Jake Westbrook, 2007 Upper Deck Series 1 Casey Blake, 2006 Upper Deck Jason Davis, 2006 Topps Turkey Red Fausto Carmona, 1985 Donruss Julio Franco, 1992 Topps Kids Mark Whiten, 1992 Topps Kids Greg Swindell, 1992 Topps Kids Albert Belle, 2007 Fleer Rookie Sensations Jeremy Sowers, 2000 Topps Tradition Continues Jim Thome, 1995 Fleer Pirate All-Star Game Kenny Lofton, 1993 Upper Deck Youthful Tribe, 2008 Topps opening Day Jason Michaels, 2008 Topps 50th Anniversary All-Star Rookie Team Kenny Lofton (AR50), 2008 Topps Own The Game Fausto Carmona (OTG25), 1978 Topps Indians Team Checklist, 2008 Upper Deck Series 1 Grady Sizemore Team checklist, 1996 Fleer Post-Season Glory Jim Thome, 2006 Topps (Opening Day?) Vicrot Martinez, 1983 Donruss Diamond Kings Andre Thornton (did you know the agreement with the MLB and Donruss required EVERY team have a DK, even if they didn't deserve to have one!?), 1987 Fleer Tony Bernazard, 1982 Donruss Diamond Kings Len Barker, 2007 Upper Deck Series 1 Joe Borowski, 1989 Donruss Diamond Kings Pete O'Brien, 1989 Ames Joe Carter, 1988 Topps Julio Franco, 1990 Score "Joey" Belle, 1992 O-Pee-Chee Premier Kenny Lofton, 1986 Donruss Diamond Kings Brook Jacoby, 1993 Upper Deck Top Prospects (Minor Leagure set) Brian Giles, 2002 Fleer Jim Thome (Did YOU know - "Jim scored 36 points in the High School Conference basketball championship while attending Limestone (IL) High School?")

I have not run the cards through my database yet, but I know from looking at them that there are at least several that I need for my collection! There are many that I already have, but that is the fun of trading - you never know what you're going to get! Plus, many of ones I *do* have, I haven't looked at in quite a while, so it is fun 'waxing nostalgia.' Thanks a TON, Ben!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lofton turns down a cool mil to play for Rays...

According to, Kenny Lofton turned down an offer from the Devil Rays for a million bucks to play part-time ball for them. I am a huge Lofton fan, but unless he plans on retiring, he should seriously reconsider the Rays offer. Seriously. I mean, yeah he is still in great physical shape at 41, but he IS 41. He already has a pretty good shot at getting into the Hall when he retires, so why not bow out gracefully now? As the article says, his pride may force him to retire before any lack of interest does....

Monday, March 24, 2008

Indians Uniform Number - 8 (Part 1 of 3)

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter with their friends, families, and baseball card collections! Today, I begin the look at Indians Uniform Number 8. We have some big guns and some big mouths in the "Number Eights," and this is just Part 1! Hang on for the ride, and thanks for stopping by!!

Alan Ashby - 4 seasons (1973-1976) - His first two years in the majors provided two of the worst seasonal averages of his career (.172 and .143 respectively). The next two years fared better for him, but his best years came with the Blue Jays and the Astros. Ashby wore #8 for his entire Tribe career. He played 200 games with the Indians. In his 537 at-bats, he got 122 hits for 63 runs, 16 doubles, 2 triples, and 10 home runs for 67 RBIs. Unfortunately, he left the Indians with an overall .194 average. The Indians traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays in '76, thus making him the first player ever traded to the Blue Jays.

Albert Belle - 8 seasons (1989-1996) - In 1989, Belle wore number 36, then switched to jersey #8 for the rest of his Indians career. Belle introduced himself to the MLB as "Joey," but soon opted to use his real first name. For whatever reason, I had not really paid much attention to Belle's antics until after he was long gone from the Tribe. In fact, I had always thought of him as one of the Indians best players. And, statistically, he was up there. He had five 100+ RBI seasons, five 30+ home run seasons, five 80+ run seasons, and six .250+ average seasons (with five of those being .290 or better). Overall, he score 592 runs on 1014 hits garnering 751 RBIs. I mean, shoot, we're talking roughly 75% of hits were RBIs for Pete's sake! He made four consecutive AL all-star teams (1993-1996), two division series (1995-1996), an ALCS (1995), and a World Series appearance (1995). Unfortunately, his list of crazy antics is longer than his list of on-field achievements. Things were so bad, that Wikipedia has an entire section devoted to the controversy that was Albert Belle (read it all here folks). I will state here and now, that regardless of the stats, I cannot in good faith put him the running for All-Time Triber #8. If the need arises, I may him an asterisk... LOL, yeah, right.

Alfredo Griffin - 3 seasons (1976-1978) - Griffin played in the Number 16 for his rookie season, then switched to #8 for the last two years of his Indians days. He did not play any full seasons with Tribe, but managed to pull his career high and career low averages during his tenure. In '77, he pulled a .146 in 14 games and the next year he batted .500. Sorry to burst any bubbles, but he only had 4 at-bats that year, so one would HOPE for at least a .500 average. In 49 appearances at the plate with the Tribe, he had zero triples and zero home runs, with 3 RBIs. Only because of his .500 "season," he was able to pull a .299 overall average.

Bill Brenzel - 2 seasons (1934-35) - Brenzel came to the Indians by way of the Pirates through the Pacific Coast League. He played in 67 games for the Indians, scoring 16 runs (17 RBIs) on 42 hits with 8 doubles and a triple. He had a .216 average his first year with the Tribe and ended his major league career with a .218 the next year.

Bob Hale - 2 seasons (1960-61) - Hale played part of the 1960 season wearing #8, but then switched to #9 for the rest of his playing days in Cleveland before being picked up by the Yankees. Because he spent only part of a season in #8, I am going to "save" his info for when we look at Uniform Number 9.

Carmen Castillo - 7 seasons (1982-88) - Castillo played his first year at Number 52, but then switched to Number 8 for the remainder of his Cleveland career. Of his 7 seasons, five of them were .250 average or better and one was a .245. His worst as a Triber was his rookie year, when he batted .208 for the season. I don't know why, but this was one of my favorite Tribe cards in the 80's. To me, he looked like we was ready for some serious baseball action. It seems weird to look at his stats and then realize he was only a part-time player who never batted in more than 89 games per season. In seven seasons, he played in 464 games with 1152 at-bats, getting 295 hits (156 runs with 152 RBIs), 54 doubles, 4 triples, and 47 home runs. He left the Indians with a .256 overall average and went to Minnesota. It'll be interesting to see how he fares against some of the other "Number Eight-ers" in the list.

Duke Sims - 7 seasons (1964-70) - Like Hale before him, Sims started out in Number 8 but switched to Number 9 after his rookie year. Because the name "Duke Sims" often evokes the glazed over look of waxing nostalgia, I find it sadistically wonderful that his rookie year netted him 6 at-bats (in only 2 games) with 2 strike outs, while garnering nothing else. His rookie year started him out at the bottom with a .000 average. As we will see in the Number 9's, he did not stay there.

Ed Fitz Gerald - Part of 1 season (1959) - Fitz Gerald (yes, that is two names) ended his major league career in a Tribe uniform. He made 129 showings at the plate, getting 35 hits with 12 runs (4 RBIs). He hit 6 doubles and a single triple and a single home run. He ended his career with a .271 season, .343 on-base percentage and a "magnum" slugging percentage (.357).

Frankie Pytlak - 9 seasons (1932-1940) - Pytlak spent the first five seasons of his career wearing Number 11, then switched to Number 8 for the last four years of his Tribe days. While wearing Number 8, he had 307 hits on 1,093 at-bats while getting 33 doubles, 19 triples and 2 homers, bringing in 117 RBIs. He also managed to get walked 125 times while getting plunked by the ball an unlucky 13 times. He was so unlucky at this that he actually led the AL in 1935 in hit-by-pitches for a season (5 times). Ouch. He did manage to earn a .258 average while wearing Number 8, though.

Hank Foiles - Multiple partial seasons (1953, 55, 56, 60) - If Foiles doesn't have a nickname, I'd like to offer up "Froggy" because of all the team-jumping this did during his career. Not only did he change jersey numbers, but he changed teams several times as well. In 1953, he came to the Tribe from the Redlegs, played all of 1955 in a Tribe uniform, then in 1956, he played for a while before going to Pittsburgh. In 1960, he came to the Tribe from the A's, played 24 games, then went to Detroit. Are you with me so far? Well, these only cover his INDIANS days! Maybe his nickname should be U-Haul for all the moving he did throughout his major league career! Yeesh! For the Number 8 list, I will give you a look at 1960, during which he wore #8 for the Tribe. In the 24 games he played for the Indians, he got 19 hits, 1 double, and a home run while bringing in 6 RBIs. He left the Tribe with a .250 average for the Cleveland portion of his 3-team season. I have to give major kudos to for even trying to keep all this straight, let alone actually managing to pull it off...

Jack Brohamer - 5 seasons (1972-75, 1980) - We first saw Brohamer wearing Number 7, and we will see him again wearing Number 10, since he only wore the Number 8 during the 1980 season. He played in 53 games (142 at-bats), getting 32 hits with 13 runs (15 RBIs) with 5 doubles, 1 triple and 1 home run. He left the Tribe and the majors that year, batting .225 for the season. The card pictured is something of a weird composition. It appears the Brohamer is about to be tagged out, right? Perhaps, but then what is the while blur in the lower left near the trophy? It looks like a ball to me... Is there some kind of "Bad News Bears" switcheroo going on here!?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Indians Uniform Number - 7 Kenny Lofton

Choosing All-Time Triber #7 was even more difficult than I imagined it would be. While there were a lot of players who sported the Number 7 during their careers, in truth, only three wore #7 for an extended period of time: Al Rosen, Hal Trosky, and Kenny Lofton.

As I mulled over the top three, I eventually narrowed it down to Rosen and Lofton. Rosen is a perennial favorite of many Indians fans (including myself). Lofton is a player that fans generally love, as his repeated returns to Cleveland have shown.

So, how did I choose a guy who is still playing over a guy who has Cleveland written all over him? It was not easy. After all, Rosen played in roughly 240 FEWER games, yet had more than 100 MORE home runs and roughly 200 more RBIs. Lofton has a better overall average. His other stats also generally run much higher, but I feel that is related to the fact he played in more games. What swayed the choice in Lofton's favor for me though was the fact that he is still playing after 10 seasons, and playing WELL at that. Add to that the fact that Rosen was 33 when left baseball and Lofton is 40+. During last year's World Series showing, he was not only the guy who gave leadership, support and encouragment to his underlings (in terms of experience and age), but who also went out there to get a job done. It is unfortunate that the Indians could not bring him the championship ring he so richly deserves.

I have to admit I was dismayed when I found out the Tribe was not keeping him around. I had high hopes that Lofton would retire in an Indians uniform. Despite what the back office does, Lofton is a fan favorite, one of MY favorites, and one of the all-time great Indians players.

(Number 7 Part 1) (Number 7 Part 2) (Number 7 Part 3)

A great question!

nmboxer asked a great question: Why DO players wear different jersey numbers anyway?

There are a couple reasons that I can think of, but I welcome anyone to share their thoughts on the subject!

For players that played around the time uniform numbers were first introduced, the POSITION of the player determined their uniform number. So, if a player was moved around the field, they may have worn a different number just because of that.

Some players (like Thome, for example) have an affinity for a particular number (his is 25), but when they join a team, someone else may already have the number they want and for whatever reason, the other player will not swap numbers. Once that number comes open, then a player may switch.

In a similar vein, if a player wears one number then leaves, another player may get his number. If he returns to the team, that number might not be available any longer, so he must choose a new one.

If someone can think of other reasons, please feel free to comment.

Great question!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Indians Uniform Number - 7 (Part 3 of 3)

Today, we are looking at the third and final installment of the contenders for All-Time Indians uniform Number 7. Check these guys out and tomorrow I will present my pick for All-Time Number 7:

Joe Azcue - 7 seasons (1963-1969) - Remember, Azcue was one of the three finalists for the Uniform #6. Here's the replay: He 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 Inglett - 1 season (2006) - Inglett played in 64 games with the Tribe, getting 57 hits on 201 at-bats. He scored 26 runs, 8 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 homers. Add to that 21 RBIs, 14 walks and 39 strikeouts, and you have a very respectable .284 rookie year. He left the Indians for the Blue Jays last year (2007).

John Ellis - 3 seasons (1973-1975) - Ellis came to the Tribe from the Yankees. He batted .270 his first year, .285 his second, and .230 in his final year with the Indians. I remember a friend of mine having a catcher's glove with his signature on it as a kid (He served on the Spalding Sporting Goods advisory staff in the 70's). 1974 is often considered to be his best overall season: 136 hits with 477 at-bats, 58 runs, 64 RBIs, 10 homers, 23 doubles, 6 triples and a .285 average. In 1987, he founded the Connecticut Sports Foundation Against Cancer (, which provides financial assistance to patients and families of those with cancer (He has lost a brother, sister, and sister-in-law to cancer, and is himself a cancer survivor).

Johnny Romano - 5 seasons (1960-1964) - Romano wore Numbers 11, 9, 5, and 7 while with the Indians. 1967 was the only season in which he wore the Number 7. But, as with many of the Tribers in our look at the All-Timers, he will appear again. In case you have forgotten, here is what we saw at the Number 5: Romano scored 40 runs, 12 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs, with 52 RBIs on 86 hits during his first year with the Tribe (.272 avg). In both of the next two years, he played for the AL all-star team (21 homers in 1961 and 25 homers in '62). During his Indians career, he maintained a .460+ SLG except for one season ('63) which he had fractured his hand. It'll be fun to see where he stands in the #11 spot, since that's the number he wore the most often.

Jonah Goldman - 3 seasons (1928, 1930-31) - Technically, Goldman only wore #7 in 1931, since there were no Indians uniform numbers before that. For the sake of argument, I'll include all the years he played. His three years with the Tribe were also the extent of his major league career. Overall, he scored 33 runs on 87 hits with 389 at-bats. He only had 1 home run and scored 20 doubles while bringing 49 RBIs and getting walked 35 times. He struck out 31 times, which means only 10 times per season on average. He left the Tribe with a .129 average in his final season and a .224 overall.

Ken Suarez - 3 seasons (1968-69, 71) - Suarez did not play any full-time seasons with the Tribe. In '68, he batted in 17 games, then 36 in '69 and finally he batted in 50 games in '71. His highest career average was a .294 in 1969. Unfortunately, that was bookended by a .100 first Tribe season and .203 final season before being traded to the Rangers. In both '69 and '71, he had 25 hits, a home run, and 9 RBIs in each season. I'm not sure if there is a significance there, but back-to-back seasons where a player repeats stats in three different categories is pretty cool in my book.

Kenny Lofton - 9+ seasons (1992-1996, 1998-2001, Part of 2007) - Lofton is not quite two years older than I am, and the fact that he is the Tribe's all-time base stealer and has played in more than 80 post-season games amazes me. How's this for an interesting tidbit: In his first year with the Tribe, he hit .285 and in 2007, he hit .283 - Not too bad for a career that has spanned more than 15 years. I'll get to his batting stats in a sec, but his stolen base stats are impressive. For starters, during his Tribe career alone, he attempted more than 550 stolen bases. Of those, he was only picked off 104 times. That gives him a whopping 76% success rate. If you look at his overall major league career, the average goes UP to 79.5% - Eight in ten times, if he's stealing on you, he's succeeding. Ouch. In order to steal bases, you have to get ON base. Now, here is where things kinda get weird. In 5,045 at-bats, Lofton got 1,512 hits and was walked 611 times and hit by the ball 20 times. So, out of those 5045 at-bats, he was actually on base 2,143 times. That means when he got a hit, he has been on base about 42% of the time. Not too shabby in itself, but looking back at the stolen base stats, he was taking off 25% of the time he got a hit. Those are not good odds if you're the pitcher... Of course, that is not exactly right because he also has 244 doubles, 66 triples, and 87 home runs throughout his Indians career. Oh, have I mention the 518 RBI's? So far, as a Triber, he has a .299 batting average, a .373 on-base average and a .424 slugging percentage. He also managed to set the MLB record for stolen bases in playoff action with 34 career post-season steals. The man he overtook? The legendary Rickey Henderson. In addition to all of that, he has at least 6 all-star appearances and 4 World Series showings (2 with the Tribe). And though at the peak of his career he was paid more, in 2007 he really was the six million dollar man....

Mike de la Hoz - 4 seasons (1960-1963) - Wearing the Number 7 in '61 and '62, de la Hoz was first seen wearing Number 1 in our countdown. Throughout his Indians career, he posted near or above .260 average for each year with the Tribe, except for 1962. In 1962, he only had 12 at-bats and had one hit, posting just a .083 average.

Odell Hale - 9 seasons (1931, 1933-1940) - Hale was seen in our Number 4 uniform spot, and will show up again wearing #'s 25 and 34. He only wore Number 7 during his rookie year. He played in 25 games with 92 at-bats that season. His 26 hits, 14 runs, 2 doubles, 4 triples, and single home run earned him a .283 average his first year in the majors. Not a bad start at all! Feel free to re-visit Number 4 for a review of his career.

Pete Center - 4 seasons (1942-43, 45-46) - Center was just as fickle with his uniform number as many of the Tribers we've seen so far. In 42-43, he wore Number 7, then #40 in 1945, and in '46 he sported #29. I have to wonder if the idea that someone would someday do an "All-Time Uniform Number list" crossed their minds, so they changed numbers in order better their odds... You never can tell... I digress. Center, whose name might suggest an outfielding position, but Center was a pitcher. In 1942, he pitched in one game for 3.1 innings. He walked four batters and gave up SIX runs on 7 hits. In his only game of his rookie year, he managed to earn a staggering 16.20 ERA. He managed to settle down the next year (frankly, it amazes me had had a 4-year baseball career at all after his rookie showing), ending his 2nd season with a 2.76 ERA. Unfortunately, his ERA kept climbing (3.99 then 4.97). The Tribe saw a pattern developing and cut him loose in 1946. He was a batting pitcher (as they had not officially started using DHs yet), and he lived up (down?) to the general stereotype of batting pitchers: they can't hit for...squat. In 31 career at-bats, he struck out 12 times, had 2 runs and 2 hits and was walked once. In 4 seasons, he actually only managed to have an average above .000 in one of those seasons (1945). His average that year was .091, and his major league career batting average was just .065. Regardless, he still got say something I never can: He played for the Indians. :-)

Phil Roof - Part of 1 season (1965) - Roof came to the Indians from the Angels after batting .136 in 9 games. Unfortunately, he did fare much better with the Tribe. In 52 at-bats (in 43 games), he ended his Indians-playing days with a .173 average, and was unceremoniously traded to the Athletics. While not very good while standing at the plate, he did very well while crouched behind it. In 41 games for the Tribe, he had 162 put-outs with 17 assists while keeping his number of passed balls to two. He left the Tribe with a .994 fielding percentage.

Ron Pruitt - 5+ seasons (1976-part of 1980, 1981) - Pruitt only wore the Number 7 for part of the 1978 season. His preferred Tribe uniform number was 13, so we'll see him again down the road a bit. In '78, he had 44 hits on 187 at-bats, getting 17 runs, 6 doubles, a triple, and 6 home runs with 17 RBIs. He was walked 16 times, so a "plus" that could taken from that is that he was just as likely to be walked as to have an RBI. I know, not much to go on, but remember we are only talking about one season for now. Unfortunately, he struck out 20 times as well, so he was actually more likely to strike out than to get an RBI or be walked. Bummer. He ended the season with a .235 average. As we will see during the Number 13 run-down, he managed to do better than that with the Tribe, and in fact his 1978 season proved to be his lowest seasonal average. Those of you not familiar with the Indians during most of their existence, this little exchange sums it up: "When Indians catcher Ron Pruitt met Cleveland mayor Dennis Kucinich he said, 'I'm glad to meet you, Mr. Mayor, because I've been wanting to talk to you about the condition of your streets.' Kucinich, mindful of Cleveland's low standing in the American League, responded: 'That's good. I've been wanting to ask you about the condition of the Indians.'" - Baseball Digest (December 1978) (as quoted on

Monday, March 10, 2008

Indians Uniform Number - 7 (Part 2 of 3)

Tonight, I offer you the second group of players to have donned the Number 7 uniform. As you'll see, several of them wore other numbers during the same year they wore #7... And, in all honesty, there is probably only one person in this Part 2 that might qualify for the final vote of All-Time Number 7. After this, we have one more set of players to review for #7:

Ed Wheeler - 1 season (1945) - Selected by the Indians in the Rule 5 Draft (winter), this is not the Wheeler that played with the Superbas. He batted in 46 games (72 at-bats) resulting in 12 runs on 14 hits with 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 8 walks and 13 strikeouts. His single year in the majors netted him a .194 average.

Fred Hatfield - Part of 1 season (1958) - Hatfield, reportedly a direct descendant of the Hatfields and McCoys family feud, batted 8 times as an Indian. He got 1 hit, 1 RBI, 1 walk, and 1 strike out. He was traded to the Reds for a player and $10,000. I'd have to say with a .125 average, the Tribe made a good deal....

Gene Leek - 1 season (1959) - Leek came to the Tribe as a free agent and played in 13 games. He got 8 hits which resulted in 7 runs. He brought in 5 RBIs and hit a home run. He was walked only twice in his 36 at-bats, but struck out 7 times. He did not play in 1960, getting picked up by the Angels in the expansion draft. He left the Tribe with a .222 average and a .389 slugging percentage.

George Case - 1 season (1946) - Case wore two uniform numbers during his single season with the Indians (#15 and #7). After a lengthy career with the Senators, he came to the Tribe after batting a .294 season. He batted 484 times in 118 games, grabbing 109 hits, 23 doubles, 4 triples, and a single homer. The Indians obviously had high expectations, but Case's .225 season sent him back to the Senators in 1947. (Shown in Senators uniform)

Granny Hamner - Part of 1 season (1959) - Granville "Granny" Hamner had one of those names that may have been either cool or a flat-out slam. Given his multiple all-star appearances in addition to a World Series appearance (all with the Phillies), I'd say it was a 'cool' name. Unfortunately, that coolness came to an abrupt halt in 1959. While batting .297 with the Phillies, he was sent to Cleveland where he fumbled his way to a .164 average. He was given a right-out release at the end of the season. (shown in Phillies uniform)

Hal Jones - Parts of 2 seasons (1961-62) - Jones wore #7 in 1961, then switched to #15 in '62. In '61, he batted 35 times, getting 2 runs on 6 hits with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs. Unfortunately, he struck out 12 times, and his rookie average barely climbed past .170. At least the next year, he batted half as many times and raised his average to .313.

Hal Trosky - 8+ seasons (1933-1941) - Troksy batted in 11 games his rookie year (wearing #21), knocking 6 runs on 13 hits with a double, two triples, and a home run, bringing in 8 RBIs. He hit for a .295, so the Tribe put him in full-time after that. The next two years, Trosky batted in all 154 games, grabbing a .330 average and a .271 respectively. In 8+ seasons, HALF of those were .330 or better, and three of the remaining four were better than .290! In SIX of his seasons with the Tribe, he drove in 100+ RBIs per season. He was the "close buy no cigar" guy when it came to the all-star games throughout his career. He just never could muster up enough votes to get into the all-stars. Over the course of his Indians career, he knocked 1365 hits in 4365 at-bats. He scored 758 runs with 911 RBIs (216 home runs), while being walked 449 times and being beaned by the ball 15 times (that's almost twice a season). He also struck out 373 times. It is next to impossible to talk about Trosky without at least mentioning the "Crybaby" incident in which 10 players went to the owner to complain about the manager (Vitt). Trosky was not happy with Vitt, but believed confronting the owner about the situation was not warranted. Nevertheless, Trosky was pulled into the fiasco on the day of his Mother's funeral. The owner finally admitted that the accusations were well founded. His career suffered greatly because of his migraines. All that said, he retired early, after suffering years of intense migraine headaches. He left the Indians with a career batting average of .310, and on-base percentage of .376, and a .539 slugging percentage (remember, that's over an 8+ season career).

Harley Boss - 1 season (1933) - Now, THAT'S a baseball name! Elmer (his first name) batted in 112 games in 1933. In 438 at-bats, he had 118 hits with 53 RBIs and 54 runs, 17 doubles, 7 triples, and a home run. He struck out 27 times and was walked just about as often (25 BB and hit by a pitch once). He left the major leagues with a cool name and a .269 average.

Harvey Kuenn - 1 season (1960) - Kuenn may sound familiar to you. He appeared in our countdown wearing #6. In case you forgot, he was the one booed often during his time in Cleveland. Many 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). Of course, the Tribe of the mid-late 90's and of much more recent years has all but squashed the curse (now if we could just win the big one!). 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 Brohamer - 4+ seasons (1972-'75, 1980) - Brohamer was one of my favorites as a kid. He wore the #7 during his rookie year, then the #10 until 1976. When he came back in 1980, he donned #8. So, we will see him again throughout the countdown. As for his rookie year, he batted 527 times, getting 123 hits. He scored 49 runs with 13 doubles, 2 triples, and 5 home runs, driving in 35 RBIs. He finished his rookie year with a .233 average. We'll see how he stacks up as the countdown goes on.

Jack Conway - 3 seasons (1941, '46-47) - We first saw Conway wearing #4, and we will see him again wearing #18. He sported the #7 during his last season with Cleveland. His 9 hits in 50 at-bats netted 3 runs with 5 RBIs. He was also walked 3 times and whiffed out 8 times. He left the Tribe that year batting .180, a long way from his 2 at-bat .500 rookie year.

Jeff Juden - Part of 1 season (1997) - Juden pitched in the World Series for the Tribe in two games. He pitched in 2 innings over those two games, and racked up a whopping 4.50 ERA. Ouch. Before that, the Indians should have had a clue. After all, in the 5-game, 31-inning season he had with Cleveland, he gave up 6 home runs, walked 15 batters, gave up 32 hits and 21 runs. Holy smokes, people... This does not look good. The envelope, please: 5.46 ERA... I can't even talk about it... I'm too verklempt. Here's a topic: Name the 1st and only Indian aside from C.C. Sabathia to win the AL Cy Young Award? (first to answer correctly wins a prize)

Jim Mahoney - 1 season (1962) - Mahoney (not related to the character in the "Police Academy" movies) wore #16 and #7 during his one-year stint with the Tribe. He had 74 at-bats in 41 games. Of those, he got 12 runs on 18 hits with 5 RBIs, 4 doubles, and 3 home runs. Striking out 14 times did not help, though. His Indians career average was also the highest of his four years in the majors, a .243 avg.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Layout Blues

Well, I had added a bunch of links to my "Places I Frequent" list, and now those are gone, and I am left with an old version of the list. I don't knwo what happened, but it is one of my biggest complaints about Blogger - I have no way to backup my site offline in order to recover from Blogger disasters. Nice.

Well, I'll find the addresses for those site and post them back again. My apologies to the sites that got lost. AUGH....

(Update, most of the newly added sites have been added back!)

Indians Uniform Number - 7 (Part 1 of 3)

After a bit of a delay due to illness and technical issues, I finally present the first of three posts for Tribe Uniform #7:

Al Rosen - 10 seasons (1947-'56) - Rosen wore the Number 7 throughout his career, except for one (in which he wore #17). His career began slowly as he batted in 7 games his rookie year and ended up with a .111 average. His next season brought him a .200 average in 5 games and his third year netted him a .159 in 23 games. Things were not looking good, but the Tribe stuck with him and put him on the roster full time in his 4th year. He answered by batting .287 with a .405 OBP, and things proved solid from then on. Over the next 6 seasons, his average stayed at or above .265, with 3 of those seasons batting .300+. In fact, in 1953, he batted .336 and was unanimously elected MVP that year. During his career, he played in four all-star games and played with the Indians during their 1948 and 1954 World Series appearances. After injuries suffered in a car wreck and his treatment by the Indians management and fans (salary cuts despite great playing, and booing from fans), he retired in 1957 at the age of 32.

Alan Bannister - 3 seasons (1981-'83) - Comedian Jimmy Pardo once said Bannister was his favorite player. Bannister averaged .265 over his three-year stint with the Tribe. He played in 286 games for the Indians, batting 957 times. During that time, he got 254 hits, 10 home runs, and 103 RBIs on 52 doubles and 6 triples. He struck out 103 times and was walked 89 times. He also had 40 stolen bases (16 in 1981, 18 in 1982, and 6 in 1983).

Bernie Carbo - part of 1 season (1978) - Until now, I did not realize that Carbo only played part of one season with the Tribe (batted in 60 games). I always thought he had one of those cool baseball names. In his very short time with the Tribe, he racked up a .287 average, getting 21 runs on 50 hits with 4 home runs and 16 RBIs. He did manage to steal a base during that half season as well. He was so well liked in Boston, where he played before and after his time in Cleveland, that fellow player Bill Lee QUIT the Sox when Carbo was sold to the Tribe! Talk about friendship.

Billy Hunter - Part of 1 season (1958) - Like Carbo, Hunter was with the Tribe for only half a season (76 games). Unlike Carbo, however, Hunter only managed to hit a .195 average in 190 at-bats. One of his "now, that's weird" stats include his 37 hits and 37 strikeouts in the same time period. Even though he only got 37 hits, he did manage to score 21 runs on those 37 hits, and he had been walked 17 times. Doesn't really make it any easier to swallow, does it? Dang.

Blas Monaco - Parts of 2 seasons (1937, 1946) - Now, you talk about a cool name, "Blas Monaco" sounds more like a movie actor than a baseball player, but it's still a great baseball name. In 1937, Blas wore the Number 7 while batting 7 times in 5 games. He got 2 hits with 2 RBIs. He struck out twice and was hit by a pitch. He ended the season with a .286 average and then was traded to Buffalo. I have no idea what happened, but he came back to the Tribe in 1946, he batted 6 more times. He scored 2 runs in '46 without any hits or stolen bases (he was walked once). I'm not quite sure how that happens.

Bob Lipski - 1 season (1963) - Yes, we have yet another Triber who made a very, VERY brief appearance with the Indians. How brief? In two games, he batted one time, and managed to whiff. At least defensively, he managed to post a perfect 1.000 with 3 put-outs in 2 innings over 2 games...

Brandon Phillips - 4 seasons (2002-2005) - Brandon split his Indians career between numbers 7 and 61. In 2002-2003, he sported the Number 7, which also happen to be his two best seasons with the Tribe. In truth, he only had one complete season (2003). In his rookie year, he had 31 at-bats, netting a .258 average with a .343 on-base percentage and a .419 slugging percentage. The Indians put him in full-time in 2003, and his batting slipped (208 avg/242 obp/311 slg). In 2004, his baseball days were numbered. He batted in 6 games for only a .182 average, and the next year, the Tribe had seen more than enough. Phillips again appeared in 6 games, but this time his average hit the bottom. His .000 season sent him to Cincinnati.

Bubba Phillips - 3 seasons (1960-1962) - Phillips appeared previously in our countdown wearing Number 5. 1960 brought Phillips his worst season (.207 average). In 1961, though, he hit two grand slams (the only ones of his career) and batted his highest Tribe-based average (.264). In his three years as an Indian, he had 151 runs on 353 hits with 32 homers in 1412 at-bats, getting 159 RBIs.

Buck Frierson - 1 season (1941) - Buck played in 5 games with 11 at-bats in 1941. He got 2 runs on 3 hits with 2 RBIs. He also struck out once and was walked once. He had a .273 average before being released. I could not find any specific information, but I can only assume Buck went off to fight in WWII and never returned to baseball.

Cam Carreon - 1 season (1965) - Cam played in 19 games with 52 plate appearances. He got 6 runs on 12 hits with one homer. He had 2 doubles, a triple, was walked 9 times and struck out 6 times. Nearly 40 years later, Cam's son Mark (who appeared in our #4 countdown) would also don a Tribe uniform.

Chris James - 2 seasons (1990-'91) - A utility DH for the Tribe, James batted .299 in his first year as an Indian and a .238 his second year before being sent to the Giants. His career in Cleveland netted 262 hits on 965 at-bats, scoring 93 runs with 17 homer runs, scoring 111 RBIs, leaving him with a .265 Tribe career average.

Del Crandall - 1 season (1966) - Crandall came to the Tribe from the Pirates, playing in what would be his final season in the majors. He batted in 50 games, scoring 10 runs on 25 hits with 4 homers and 8 RBIs. He ended his only AL-playing season with a .231 average.

Ed Montague - 4 seasons (1928, 1930-'32) - Montague had a respectable .262 career average with the Tribe. He wore #7 only in '32, but part of that comes from the fact that the Indians did not use uniform numbers before '31. Montague's lowest average was during his rookie year as he batted .235. His next two years netted .263 and .285 averages, respectively. He left the majors with a .245 in his last season. Overall, he had 105 runs on 161 hits while being walked 85 times and being hit by the ball 6 times. He was not a home run hitter, only knocking two of them during his 4 season career. Though his son with the same name is a major league umpire, baseball buffs may recognize the name as the scout who "discovered" Willie Mays and brought him to the major leagues.