The Tribe may have fallen just short of being World Champions last year, but that’s nothing to be ashamed about. It was an amazing run.
Also amazing has been their long history of ups and downs. Here are 12 cool tidbits from their past you may not know:
1. When Cleveland great Bob Feller set the record for strikeouts in a game with 17 in 1936, he was just 17 years old. After the season was over, he still had to finish his senior year in high school!
2. For manager Lou Boudreau, 1948 was a very good year. He not only managed the Indians to 97 wins and the World Series title, he also played shortstop and hit .355, drove in 106 runs, and slammed 18 home runs. That’s a very good year!
3. The year 1948 was also a good year for Larry Doby. He became the first black player in history to hit a home run in the World Series. In fact, he was Cleveland’s best hitter in the series, batting .318 overall.
4. For a time, no team was more popular than the Cleveland Indians. Between 1995 and 2001, they sold out 455 straight games.
5. Cleveland’s Joe Sewell didn’t swing and miss that often. In over 7,100 plate appearances, he struck out only 114 times. Countless players strike out more in a single season! He averaged just one strikeout every 17 games.
6. The Cleveland Indians’ story begins all the way back in 1894. Back then they were the Grand Rapids Rustlers of the Western League. They moved to Cleveland and became known as the Lake Birds, then became the Bluebirds in 1901 when the American League formed.
8. Cleveland had one of the first concrete and steel stadiums in the country, built in 1910, called League Park.
9. In 1920, League Park added a 40-feet tall wall in right field, taller than the famous Green Monster.
10. In 1925, Tris Speaker was one of the oldest players on the Indians at 37, but that didn’t prevent him from hitting .389, a record for someone that age.
11. For a 21-year stretch between 1969 and 1989, Cleveland was one of the worst teams in all of sports, finishing last or second to last in 16 of those 21 years.
12. No one wanted the team for a while, too. Between 1962 and 1978, the team changed ownership six different times.
The Tribe has been a hard-luck team, but have also been winners. So maybe this year will be their year…?