It has been some time since I've created a post regarding the countdown. I took one look at the FORTY-ONE players that have worn the Number 9, and it took me a bit to get rolling with it. But, without further delay, I bring to you Part 1 of the list of Tribers who have worn the Number 9. There are some greats in here (and to come) and some rather forgettables or unknowns, but that is what makes baseball great in the first place!
Billy Sullivan, Jr - 2 seasons (1936-37) - Billy Jr wore #14 when he came to the Tribe from the Reds, and then switched to #9 his 2nd year before heading to the St. Louis Browns. In his 1st year with the Tribe, he had 112 hits on 319 at-bats for a .351 average. Since we are looking at his season wearing #9 right now, we can focus on this: 48 hits in 168 at-bats with 29 runs scored. He had 12 doubles, 3 triples, and 3 home runs with 22 RBIs. He only struck out 7 times that season, leaving the Indians with a .286 average that season.
Bob Feller - 18 seasons (1936-1941, 1945-1956) - There is no doubt that Feller will show up as a top pick in this countdown. But, he only wore the #9 during his rookie season (He also sported #14 and #19). We will visit the HOF'er Feller later, but for his rookie year, he went 5-3 in pitching with a 3.34 ERA, only giving up one home run. He would, of course, go on to so much more. And, we'll take a look at his career in #14 and #19 later.
Bob Garbark - 2 seasons (1934-35) - Garbark played only 11 games in an Indians uniform. In his rookie season, he scored a run without getting a hit (he one walk) at all, netting him a 1-run .000 average. The next season, he had 6 hits on 18 at-bats with 4 runs and 4 RBIs, netting him a .333 average. After that, he was sent to the Cubs after a year off from baseball.
Bob Hale - 2 seasons (1960-61) - We first saw Hale last go 'round wearing #8. He only wore that number for half a season, then switched to Number 9. In his first year with the Tribe, he had 70 at-bats in 70 games. Now, if he 70 hits, that would have been something. He managed 21 hits with 2 runs and 12 RBIs. He scored a .300 average so the Tribe kept him around for another season. Unfortunately, his next season netted him just a .167 average with 6 hits on 36 at-bats. The Indians let him go part way through the '61 season.
Brady Anderson - Part of 1 season (2002) - Anderson is best known for wearing Number 9, all right. But, for wearing it in an Orioles uniform, not a Tribe uniform. In fact, when I saw his name on the list, I was sure it was a different Brady Anderson. Turns out, Anderson played his final season in an Indians uniform. He batted in only 34 games, scoring 4 runs on 13 hits in 80 games. His .163 average was enough to effectively end his ML career for good.
Buddy Bell - 7 seasons (1972-1978) - The Indians all-star, fan favorite and fellow Pittsburgh-raised player only wore #9 during his rookie year. He had 199 hits in 466 at-bats, scoring 49 runs with 21 doubles, one triple, and 9 home runs. He brought in 36 RBIs while getting walked 34 times and striking out 29 times. His .255 rookie-year average turned out to be his LOWEST as a Triber (things will only go up for him!). We'll see him again wearing uniform #25.
Butch Benton - 1 season (1985) - Benton played in 31 games for the Tribe. He only had 12 hits in 67 at-bats, but scored 5 runs on those 12 hits. Plus, he brought in 7 RBIs. Unfortunately, he ended his major league career with a .179 seasonal average for the Indians.
Cal Dorsett - 3 seasons (1940-41, 1947) - "Preacher" Dorsett changed uniform numbers ever season, only wearing Number 9 during his last season. He pitched in 2 games during that season and managed to snag a whopping 27.01 ERA (4 ER, 4 R, and 1 HR) in just 1.1 innings! Ouch... We'll see how his other years fared as we look at the other numbers he wore during his ML career.
Carlos Baerga - 8 seasons (1990-1996, 1999) - Baerga has always been one of my all-time favorite Tribers. This 3-time All-Star (92,93,95) and one-time World Series player (95) has one of those names that you cannot help but roll the "R" in his last name. In his first stint with the Tribe (7 seasons), his average was never below .260 and that came in his rookie year. In 1992 and 1993, he became the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby in 1922 to have back-to-back 200+ hit, 20+ home run, 100+ R.B.I., and .300+ average seasons. And, in 1993, he became the only batter in history to hit homers from both sides of the plate in the same inning. Overall, Baerga had 3666 at-bats with 1097 hits and scored 549 runs. He also hit 190 doubles, 15 triples, and 104 home runs and brought in 565 RBIs. One of Cleveland's all-time fan favorites ended his time with the Tribe with a .288 overall batting average. He provides color commentary for EPSN Deportes. I do find the positioning of his head in the SLU packaging a bit reminiscent of a pea soup-related movie scene...
Chad Allen - 1 season (2002) - Allen only played in 5 games as a Triber, and that's probably a good thing. In his 10 at-bats, he got 1 hit (a double), which netted him a .100 average. It was the worst seasonal average of his career, and at least he did manager ONE hit as an Indian...
Chris Turner - 1 season (1999) - Turner, yet another very short-termer, only played in 12 games for the Indians. He got 4 hits on 21 at-bats. His 8 strike outs helped him leave the Tribe with a .190 average.
Damian Jackson - 1+ seasons (1996-part of 1997) - Jackson wore Number 9 his rookie year then he switched to Number 11. As we'll see when we get to number eleven, maybe he should have kept his uniform at number 9... In his rookie year, though, he played in 5 games with 10 visits to the plate. He got 3 hits with 2 runs and an RBI. His rookie season netted him a .300 average. Too bad his next season wasn't even close...
Duke Sims - 7 seasons (1964-1970) - Despite wearing Number 8 and netting a .000 average his rookie season, Sims proved to be a homer-run ready catcher for the Tribe. Between 1967 and 1970, he hit no fewer than 11 homers per season, with '69 and '70 producing 18 and 23 respectively. It would be about ten years after Sims left the Tribe before I would even have a clue who he was (since that was about when I started really collecting), and he became one of my favorite "old time" players (funny what a 10 year-old's perspective is). Overall, Sims played in 536 games as a Triber with 369 hits on 1561 at-bats. He had 51 doubles and only 4 triples, but hit 76 home runs with 216 RBIs (he had 4 37+ RBI seasons). Not including his rookie season, he left the Tribe with a .232 Indians-career average.
Eddie Phillips - 1 season (1935) - There have been at least THREE players with the name "Eddie Phillips" (not to mention a boxer as well) and getting the stats for the one that played with the Tribe took some effort... LOL! This Eddie Phillips wore both #9 and #15 in his one season with the Tribe, which turned out to be his final season in the majors. He came to the plate 220 times and hit 60 times with 18 runs, 41 RBIs, 16 doubles, one triple, and one home run. He ended his final season in "the Bigs" with a .273 average.