Friday, May 30, 2008

Indians Uniform Number 9 (Part 3)

Well, I managed to finish up the "Part 3" quicker than I had anticipated (as I alluded to in my previous post). There are a LOT of folks in this list, so I'll give you time to digest these (along with those in parts 1 and 2) and I will post my selection for All-Time Triber Uniform Number Nine by the end of the weekend. Enjoy the read!

Luke Easter - 6 seasons (1949-54) - Easter came from the Homestead Gray's swinging a killer bat and never looked back. He had knee surgery, but was still hitting so well, the Tribe decided it was time to bring him up. Many people consider 1950 to be his 'rookie' season because it was his first full season. No matter how you cut it, in 1950, he knocked the longest home run ever hit in Cleveland Municipal Stadium (477 feet). He also managed to hit 27 others in addition to that one during that season (1 shy of teammate Larry Doby). Easter is considered the 2nd greatest first-baseman in baseball history by some. You may or may not agree, but here are some numbers that definitely make a strong case: 472 hits on 1,725 at-bats with 256 runs, 54 doubles, 12 triples, and 93 home runs during his career, bringing in 340 RBIs. He struck out 293 times and was hit by 28 pitches. Getting hit may not amount to much, usually, but in 1950, he led the league in "hit by pitches" (10). Offensively, he racked up a .274 career average. And defensively? How about a .986 fielding percentage while serving as 1st baseman, and a 1.000 average as a right-fielder!? That's what I call sssssssmokin'!

Matt Williams - 1 season (1997) - Well, if you're going to play for the Tribe for just one season, then joining the team for a World Series appearance ain't a bad way to do it. He played in 151 games as an Indian and got 157 hits. He scored 86 runs, made 32 doubles, 2 triples, and 32 home runs, driving in 105 RBIs. He left the Tribe for Arizona, batting .263.

Mickey Rocco - 4 seasons (1943-46) - Rocco wore #9 for two seasons then switched to #10 for two seasons. While wearing #9, he made 1,058 trips to the plate which netted him 271 hits with 130 runs, 43 doubles, 11 triples, 18 home runs with 116 RBIs, giving him a two-season average of .253. He also managed to keep an overall .994 fielding percentage!

Minnie Minoso - 4 seasons (1949, 1951, 1958-59) - We first met Minnie wearing #6, and we will see him again wearing #18. But, in 58-59, he sported #9. In '59, he was selected as an AL all-star. Interestingly, his two seasons at #9 were nearly identical - so much so, in fact, that he ended each of the seasons with a .302 average! Check this out (I'll list 58 stats/59 stats) - Games: 149/148, At-Bats: 556/570, Runs: 94/92, Hits: 168/172, Doubles: 25/32, Triples: 2/0, Home Runs: 24/21, RBIs: 80/92.

Otto Denning - 2 seasons (1942-43) - According to, "Lou Boudreau asked, 'Otto (Denning), have you ever seen Niagara Falls?' Denning replied, 'No.' Boudreau responded with, 'Good, we just traded you to Buffalo.'" I guess that was Boudreau's way of saying that Otto's 2-year .222 average just wasn't cutting it. In his Major League career, Denning batted in 129 games with 343 at-bats. He scored 23 runs on 76 hits, 20 doubles and one home run (32 RBIs). Then, he was sent to Buffalo.

Pete O'Brien - 1 season (1989) - O'Brien came to the Tribe in a multi-player deal that gave (yes, GAVE) Julio Franco to the Texas Rangers. Don't get me wrong, O'Brien held his own in the AL during his career, but the Indians have a knack for sending their greats to other teams and getting little in return. O'Brien, though, at least left the Tribe batting .260. In 554 at-bats, he scored 75 runs on 144 hits with 24 doubles, 1 triple, and 12 homers. And, he was walked 83 times! Still, he managed to bring in 55 RBIs. One of his complaints was that he often got on base, only to be left standing there...

Ralph Kiner - 1 season (1955) - The Hall-of-Famer played his final Major League season with the Tribe (forced out by a back injury). His .986 fielding average complemented his .243 batting average (his career low). He averaged nearly 3 at-bats per game with a total 78 hits, 13 doubles, and 18 home runs which earned him 56 runs and 54 RBIs.

Rico Carty - 4 seasons (1974-77) - Carty came to the Tribe from the A's and batted .363 his first season in an Indians uniform. Yes, that's .363 (91 at-bats, 33 hits). The next year, his average 'fell off' to .308 but he brought it up to .310 the next year. In 1977, his average dropped once again (to .280) and he was traded for Dennis BeBarr (please refer to earlier comment regarding knack for trading star players).

Rollie Hemsley - 4 seasons (1938-41) - Hemsley made the AL all-star twice (1939 and 1940) while wearing an Indians uniform. Though he made the '39 all-star team, he did not get any playing time - this was, after all, in the days when the coach did not let every all-star team member actually play in the game. In 1940, he caught for Bob Feller's no-hitter, becoming the only catcher to accomplish the task (opening day no-hitter). His four-year endeavor with the Tribe netted him 1,302 plate appearances in which he got 344 hits, 58 doubles, 17 triples, and 10 home runs. He scored 160 runs and drove in 130 RBI's. In 1941, the Indians sold Hemsley to the Reds. I hope they got a good deal....

Ron Hassey - 6+ seasons (1978-part of 1984) - Hassey was always one of my favorites. He played during the time I was really into collecting Tribe cards as a kid. Throughout his Indians career, he switched between playing catcher and first baseman. He played in 25 games his rookie year and ended the season with a .203 average. That turned out to be his lowest career average. While with the Indians, his post-rookie year average ranged from .232 to .318. He is the only player in MLB history to have caught two perfect games (one of which was one of Len Barker's in 1981). Hassey's Tribe stats include 1,690 at-bats with 168 runs on 458 hits, 80 doubles, 5 triples, and 26 homers. He drove in 226 RBIs while being walked 196 times. He ended his time with the Indians batting .259 overall. In 2006, Hassey joined former teammate Mike Hargrove (they played together from '79-'84) to help coach the Mariners.

Rudy Regalado - 3 seasons (1954-56) - He wore Number 8 for the first two years of his career, then was given Number 9 in his last ML season. He played first base and third base, but only played in 16 games during that final season. He had 47 at-bats, scoring 4 runs on 11 hits with 1 double and RBIs. He ended his career in the Bigs with a .234 batting average his final season.

Shawon Dunston - Part of 1 season (1998) - During the '98 season, Dunston played for the Indians before being traded to San Francisco. Before going, he managed to bat in 62 games with 156 plate appearances. Of those, he got 37 hits, 11 doubles, 3 triples, and 3 homers. He scored 26 runs with 12 RBIs while being walked only 6 times and striking out 18 times. Well, he did manage to get beaned once, too. He came to the Tribe batting .387 from Pittsburgh, but was quickly dispatched as his average fell to .237 under the watchful eye of Chief Wahoo...

Torey Lovullo - Part of 1 season (1998) - Honestly, I had never heard of the guy before this countdown. Then, I understood why. He played in 6, count 'em SIX, games as a Cleveland Indian. How I managed to find a picture of him on eBay is a wonder! Well, in his six games as a Triber, he got 4 hits on 19 at-bats with a run, a double, and RBI and a walk. He struck out twice. He came to the Indians from the A's, batting .220 and he left Cleveland for Philly batting .211... Had you heard of him? There should be a good chance, since he played in the Majors for 11 seasons... I just never had heard of him, which is sad since he is currently the manager of the Buffalo Bisons... LOL, shows how much I do not follow minor league play, huh?

Ty Cline - 3 seasons (1960-62) - Cline wore #26 his rookie year, then played out the remainder of his Indians career wearing #9. He served as outfielder all three years, though he did not play the position full-time until his last season in Cleveland. His rookie year harvested a .308 batting average, which took a freeze in his 2nd year, as he dropped to a .209. He brought the average up to .248 before being traded to the Braves. In all, as a Triber, Cline made 444 trips to the plate, scoring 64 runs on 110 hits, 18 doubles, 7 triples, 2 home runs, and knocking in 31 RBIs. He was walked 34 times and struck out 55. Unfortunately, in his last season as a Triber, he was hit by the ball FIVE times! Someone was gunning for him... He was sent to the Braves after batting an Indians-career .255 average.

1 comment:

  1. I read your blog daily just to see what Indians you come up with next. Great stuff! I have plenty of Tribe cards I'd be willing to deal out for any Grady cards you may have.