Twenty-five players have proudly worn the Indian uniform and are in the Hall of Fame. They have had a tremendous impact on our wonderful game of baseball. This book not only honors these Hall of Famers, but will bring back to life the many great players of the past as their records are placed in chronological order from the first pitch thrown in 1901.
This is the most complete record book ever written about the Cleveland Indians because unlike other books, which eliminate old records when new ones are created, this book never eliminates records. Instead, all new records are added to existing chronology lists so that no players or their records will ever be forgotten and the history of records will may be preserved.
Four never-before-seen features are offered. First there are the “Chronology Lists,” which begin in the team’s first year of play in 1901 and reveals the first “Record Setters” and subsequent “Record Breakers” to the present record holder. These lists are valuable because they show how long each record lasted before being broken and all unbroken records.
The second feature are the “Record Holders Lists,” which are presented at the end of each chapter and honors the players with the most records.
The third feature includes the “Record Profiles,” which recognize the team’s greatest players by posting all of their records in one profile.
The fourth feature are the “Composite Record Holders Lists.” This is a compilation of every season and career record of every player in the team’s history in batting, pitching, and fielding. Two lists are presented, one for players and one for pitchers. The lists begin with the player and pitcher with the most records and ends with those with the fewest. No one is left out, nothing could be more complete and easy to understand.
The best way to understand and see the value of the chronology lists is to use the season home run record as an example. It looks like this:
Piano Legs Hickman
The above list shows that Erve Beck was the club’s first home run champion in 1901 with six home runs. His record was broken just one year later by Bill Bradley, the first to hit home runs in double figures.
Piano Legs Hickman became the new king in 1903 when he reached the seats 12 times and then 20 years would go by before Hall of Famer Tris Speaker blasted 17 homers to become the new champion.
In 1929, another Hall of Famer, Earl Averill, became the new record holder with 18 dingers but he lost his title to Ed Morgan in 1930. Morgan slammed 26 round trippers but Averill took back his title in 1931, going deep 32 times to become the first two-time home run record breaker.
But Averill wasn’t done yet; he hit another 32 home runs in 1932 to become the only three-time record breaker in home runs.
The new slugger in 1934 was Hal Trosky, and as a rookie he entered the record book by blasting 35 home runs. To prove this was no fluke he broke his own record in 1936 with 42 long balls. His record would stand for 17 years, before Al Rosen became the first Jewish home run champion in 1953 when he crushed 43 homers.
Records would be difficult to break now and 43 years went by before the Indians had their next home run champion. This was Albert Belle, who became the first Indian to reach the seats 50 times in 1995. His marvelous record was broken by Jim Thome in 2002, when this great slugger belted 52 home runs. His record still stands today.
This represents the complete history of the season home run record. Nothing could be more complete and every champion is honored and recognized. This entire book is written using this wonderful chronology concept. This is record keeping at its best.
When the American League was formed in 1901, the Cleveland Indians were one of the original teams. Jimmy McAleer was their manager but the team was light on talent and finished next to last. They were called the “Cleveland Blues” and rightly so.
In 1902, the club added Napoleon “Nap” Lajoie, Elmer Flick, and pitcher Addie Joss. They moved up to fifth place and were called the “Cleveland Broncos.” They changed to the “Cleveland Naps” from 1903 to 1914, in honor of Nap Lajoie, their greatest player. This would be the only time in baseball history that a team would be named after a player. They were not called the Indians until 1915.
The team won more games than they lost for the next 18 years, and won their first pennant in 1920.
Tris Speaker was given the manager’s job in 1919 and was with the team until 1926. The club did not win another pennant until 1948 when Lou Boudreau was the player-manager. He would win more games than any other manager from 1942-50.
Al Lopez took over in 1951 and led them to a pennant in 1954, winning a record 111 games. This record still stands today. Lopez has the highest win percentage of all Cleveland managers.
The team would then suffer a long dry spell until 1995, when Mike Hargrove led them to five consecutive Divisional Titles. He would become the first and only manager to win two pennants but could not bring home a World Series title.
The team remains very competitive and with mostly first division play to the present.