The Cleveland Indians are a Major League Baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of the American League.
Founded: 1901 (charter American League member)
Formerly known as: the Cleveland Blues (1901), Broncos or possibly Bronchos (1902) and Naps (1903-1914). They were called the Blues because they wore blue uniforms. When reporters referred to them as the "Bluebirds", which the players hated, the players chose the name Broncos or Bronchos. The name was changed to the Naps when Napoleon Lajoie was the team's star player.
Home ballpark: Jacobs Field, Cleveland
- Uniform colors: Navy blue and red with silver trim
- Logo design: "Chief Wahoo," a smiling Indian caricature.
- Wild Card titles won (0): none
Division titles won (6): 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001
League pennants won (5): 1920, 1948, 1954, 1995, 1997
World Series championships won (2): 1920, 1948
Contrary to popular belief, the team was not named for Louis Sockalexis when it assumed its current name in 1915. Rather, when the Naps needed a new name after Napoleon Lajoie was given to the Philadelphia Athletics after the end of the 1914 season Charles Somers , the team owner, asked the local newspapers to come up with a new name for the team. They chose "Indians" as a play on the name of the 1914 Boston Braves, who were known as the "Miracle Boston Braves" after going from last place on July 4 to a sweep in the World Series. This was also a reversion to a name of an earlier National League club. The name was meant to be temporary. (Pluto, 1999)
The Indians fielded a competitive team through the late 1940s and early 1950s, featuring pitching stars Bob Feller, Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, and Mike Garcia (also known as the Big Four). They appeared in the World Series in 1948 and 1954, and were in regular contention for the pennant with the dominant New York Yankees. However, poor trades and a weak farm system caused the team to slump badly in the 1960s through the 1980s.
The Indians non-competitiveness was a subject for humor. This was compounded by an unfortuate event. On June 4, 1974 the Indians hosted "Ten Cent Beer Night", but had to forfeit the game to the Texas Rangers due to drunken and unruly fans. A standard joke of the time had the judge asking a child in parental custody battle which parent he preferred to live with. The child says neither one, they both beat me -- the judge then asks who he does want to live with and the answer is "the Cleveland Indians, they don't beat anybody."
The Indians were the subject of a 1989 movie, Major League, which starred Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger. Sequels followed in 1994 and 1998.
In the 1990s a new owner and new stadium brought a new competitive spirit and success. The Indians won several division titles in the 1990s, and pennants 1995 and 1997. 1995 was a particularly spectacular year for the Indians, as they won a remarkable 100 games out of a strike shortened season of 144, and led Major League Baseball in batting average and ERA. They lost the World Series in both years, however, falling to the Atlanta Braves in 1995 and to the Florida Marlins in 1997 in a dramatic game seven ninth inning loss. Jose Mesa is largely blamed by fans for the 1997 loss, and is directly blamed in Omar Vizquel's autobiography.
The team's most notable fan, comedian Drew Carey, poked fun at the rest of baseball while he promoted his new sitcom The Drew Carey Show in 1995. In the promos, he often uttered the now-famous line:
- Finally, it's your team that sucks!
Players of note
Current 25-man roster (updated on April 17, 2005)
- 22 Eric Wedge
- 4 Luis Isaac (bullpen)
- 33 Eddie Murray (hitting)
- 25 Buddy Bell (bench)
- 57 Carl Willis (pitching)
- 35 Joel Skinner (third base)
- 29 Jeff Datz (first base/outfield/base running)
- 43 Dan Williams (bullpen)
- 96 Ruben Felix (bullpen catcher)
Not to be forgotten
- Pluto, Terry (1999). Our Tribe: A Baseball Memoir. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-84505-9
- Cleveland Indians. Indians History Overview: The early years. http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/cle/history/cle_history_overview.jsp. Retrieved Sep 2, 2004.
Last updated: 08-23-2005 21:30:49