History of Cleveland Baseball
I. It is Game 7 of the ALCS. The
Red Sox are leading 3-2 in the top of the seventh. Kenny Lofton is on second
thanks to an error by shortstop Julio Lugo. Franklin Gutierrez hits a shot down
the third base line. It ricochets of the wall into short left center where
Manny Ramirez picks it up. Kenny Lofton is held at third for fear of being
thrown out at home. Casey Blake, one of the best clutch hitters in the league
steps in. He hits into an inning ending double play. Can the Tribe come back in
the late innings and pull off a Game 7 victory and make it to the World Series
for the first time in ten years?
II. Cleveland has a long and rich
baseball history dating all the way back to 1869.
III. Cleveland’s early years range
from the worst in baseball to the best in baseball. Cleveland baseball teams
have won two World Series Championships: 1920 and 1948. However the Curse of
Rocky Colavito has kept them from another championship ring for sixty years,
the second longest unbroken championship drought in baseball. The future of the
Cleveland Indians is bright and filled with rising stars.
The early years of Cleveland baseball saw baseball in Cleveland rise from the
worst to the best.
Cleveland’s owner sent its best players, including Cy Young, to St. Louis
to popularize baseball there causing the Cleveland Spiders to achieve
the worst record in baseball history, 20-134.
B. In 1901 Ben Johnson, the creator of the
American League, founded his
league and created a team in Cleveland making the Cleveland Indians
one of the four charter members of the American League.
Early Cleveland stars included Napoleon Lajoie, giving the team their
first nickname The Naps, Addie Joss, and Joe Jackson of Black Sox Scandal
Cy Young returned to Cleveland in 1909 to finish his career where he
got his start.
After the 1914 season the nickname Indians was chosen for the team.
The Indians have won two World Series Championships in their history.
In 1920 the Indians played the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series.
They beat the Dodgers five games to two.
The road to the Series was a tough one. The shortstop of the Indians
was fatally hit by a pitch while playing the Yankees in August.
Joe Sowell replaced him and began his own All satr career.
The Indians’ Elmer Smith hit the first grand slam in World Series
history in game 5.
The Indians won their next World Series in 1948. They beat the Boston
Braves in six games.
The Indians led the league in batting average, earned run average,
and fielding percentage in the 1948 season.
The road to the World Series included a historic one game playoff
for the pennant against the Boston Red Sox.
The Indians have not won another World Series in over sixty years giving them
the second longest unbroken Championship drought in baseball behind only
the Cubs. Like the Cubs the Indians have a curse which has supposedly kept
World Series wins from them, the Curse of Rocky Colavito.
Colavito was one of the Indians’ top young players in 1955.
In 1960 the new management of the Indians traded Colavito to the Indians’
biggest rival, the Detroit Tigers.
The Cleveland Indians’ future looks bright despite 2008’s struggles with the
emergence of young, rising stars.
The 2008 season marked a year of struggle and disappointment for the
The Indians’ designated hitter, Travis Hafner, and star catcher,
Victor Martinez, were sidelined early with injuries.
Without the bats of Hafner and Martinez the Indians had trouble
adjusting and could not get their offense going.
With the exception of Cliff Lee the Indians pitchers suffered without
the foundation of a strong bullpen and starter Jake Westbrook who was out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Midseason saw the Indians trade away their Cy Young Award
winner CC Sabathia to the Brewers.
Despite being last in the division the Indians climbed to third in
the division with an 81-81 record during the second half of the season.
Grady Sizemore is the Indians’ centerfielder.
He has been to three consecutive All Star Games.
He has won three consecutive Gold Glove Awards.
Last year he won his first Silver Slugger Award.
Last year he also became only the second Indians player and sixth
American League player to steal thirty bases and hit thirty home runs in one season.
He is incredibly humble and shy and shuns the spotlight and is
consequently believed by experts to be one of the most underrated players in the game.
Cliff Lee is the Indians staff ace.
In 2007 Lee battled through injury issues and never found his
Last season he came back and won twenty-two games and lost
only three to become the American League Cy Young Award winner.
In Cleveland baseball’s early years Cleveland saw the worst team in baseball grow into the best. The nickname of Indians was also chosen during this
time. In 1920 and 1948 the Indians won the only two championships the franchise
has ever won. In 1960 the Curse of Rocky Colavito is said to have taken
affect and has allegedly kept the Indians from winning a Championship since.
Although 2008 saw the Indians stumble the Indians appear to have bright
future with young stars like Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee.
So did the Indians manage to come back and beat the Red Sox in Game 7 of the
2007 ALCS? Well in the bottom of the seventh Rafael Betancourt comes on
in relief of Jake Westbrook. Casey Blake makes an error allowing Jacoby Ellsbury
to get on base and bringing Dustin Pedroia up to bat. Betancourt gives
up a two run home run to Pedroia giving the Red Sox a five to two lead to
end the seventh. The Indians were unable to figure out Boston’s closer Jonathan
Papelbon in the next two innings but the Red Sox managed to score six
more runs to give the Red Sox the eleven to two win and send them to the World
Series. However these struggles have not stopped Cleveland fans from believing,
“It’s Tribe time now!”
The Indians forced a tie against the Royals in… SURPRISE!, Arizona. Sorry. It had to be done and no one else has so yeah I went there.
The Indians will have their first full official workout today from 10-1 in Arizona. So in about 2 hours all of the 60 spring training invitees will be on the field in Goodyear. I am so excited. I am actually very upset right now that they are not in Florida because if they were they would have started already. Instead I have to wait an extra 3 hours for everything to happen in Arizona. Pacific time zone stinks!