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 "baseballlibrary.com," 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... :-)