Cleveland Indians: Michael Brantley to be with the team on Opening Day


Michael Brantley has not been officially been named to the Cleveland Indians’ Opening Day roster, but he will be with the team in Texas on Monday. Cleveland Indians fans have been wondering about Michael Brantley‘s Opening Day status for months, and we were all nearly given confirmation that he will be playing on Monday. Indians […]

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Cleveland Indians: Prepare to see Carlos Santana in the outfield in 2017


The Cleveland Indians may not want Carlos Santana’s bat out of the lineup often in 2017, meaning he could be seen in the outfield once again. Cleveland Indians fans are aware of the revolutionary way in which Terry Francona manages his team. From removing bullpen roles to shifting players around the field, he does it […]

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Mike Clevinger: The sixth pitcher in a five-pitcher rotation


Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger struggled in 2016. What adjustments can he make if called upon in 2016? The Cleveland Indians have seen their fair share of bumps and bruises during spring training. But with Carlos Carrasco’s return to the mound, the Indians’ rotation is back to full strength as the team prepares to embark […]

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Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 3 – Earl Averill


Join Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down to Opening Day!

Countdown to Opening Day – 3 days

Former Indians center fielder Earl Averill may have gotten a late start to his Major League career, but it did not prevent him from putting together one of the better careers of any player to wear a Cleveland uniform on the baseball diamond, let alone the number three.

Averill broke into the professional baseball circuit in 1926 at the age of 23, starting a three-year stint with the San Francisco Seals in the Pacific Coast League after previously playing semi-pro ball. After three consistent seasons with the bat, showing both an ability to hit for high average and for power, the Indians purchased him from the minor league club for the lofty sum of $50,000.

When looking at the undersized 5’9” Averill, then-Indians owner Alva Bradley reportedly shared with Tribe general manager Billy Evans, “You paid all that money for a midget.” Evans replied, “Wait until you see him with his shirt off.”

Averill had worked as a logger in his hometown and fit the build, earning the nickname “The Rock” for his physique while swinging a 44-ounce bat. Proving it was money well spent, he homered in his first at bat for the Tribe as a 26-year-old rookie in 1929.

Averill with SF Seals - Everett Public Library

Averill with SF Seals – Everett Public Library

From that moment, Averill became a mainstay on an otherwise bad Indians team for the next decade, continuing to showcase his ability to hit for high average, power, and with a proficiency at driving in runs. In his rookie season in ’29, he appeared in 152 games and hit .332, slugging 43 doubles, 13 triples, and 18 homers while driving in 96 runs in a rookie effort that would have handily given him some attention on a Rookie of the Year balloting, had it existed in his era.

As the 1930s rolled in, he became a force to be reckoned with. Seven different times he finished a season with a batting average over .300 and five times had an on-base percentage over .400. Three times in that decade he exceeded 30 homers, including setting a career-high in homers with 32 in 1931 and matching it the next season. His 143 RBI in ’31 helped land him a fourth place finish in the AL MVP voting and he did the same the following season.

In 1933, he represented the Indians in the first All-Star Game (joined by teammates Wes Ferrell and Oral Hildebrand). He would make six straight All-Star teams for the AL club.

In 1935, it all nearly ended for the outfielder in the prime of his career. At an off day picnic with several teammates, the 33-year-old was playing with firecrackers. Averill threw one that did not go off…until he picked it up and it exploded. Flesh was torn off of his fingers and the palm of his right hand and he sustained burns to his forehead and to his chest.

“It looked bad,” teammate and picnic guest Mel Harder recalled in a story published in The Plain Dealer on August 7, 1996. “There was a lot of blood.”

He missed six weeks in what was to date the worst season of his career.

Averill - Conlon Collection

Averill – Conlon Collection

During his well-rounded 1936 season, he finished third in the AL MVP voting while leading all of baseball with 232 hits and 15 triples. He added 39 doubles, 28 homers, and 126 RBI while hitting .378 with a .438 on-base percentage. Back issues slowed him down during the 1937 season, beginning a gradual decline in the numbers of one of the game’s greats who played with a congenital defect in his back that would flare up on occasion.

His All-Star efforts were impressive against the best in the game. He was the only outfielder elected to each of the first six Midsummer Classics. He singled and drove in a run in a pinch-hit appearance in 1933. He was 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and three RBI the following season. He did not play in the 1935 game at Cleveland Stadium while recovering from the fireworks injury and was hitless in the starting lineup in center the following season. His last All-Star hit came in another start in the 1937 exhibition and he may have ended the career of Dizzy Dean, who took a liner from Averill off of his toe. Dean tried to return from the injury too soon and it negatively affected his pitching delivery.

Averill was the starter in his final trip in 1938, when he was hitless in four at bats. The Indians held an Earl Averill day for him at the stadium that season, attended by 37,000 fans.

He started the 1939 season in an Indians uniform, his eleventh with the organization, but was traded in June to the Detroit Tigers for Harry Eisenstat and cash. His career was slowing down at that point, as he hit a career-low .264 combined on the season in 111 games. He appeared in 64 games for the Tigers the following year, hitting .280 with a notable decrease in his power numbers, and was released prior to the start of the 1941 season, but not before helping Detroit claim the AL pennant.

Averill with Seals - Dave Eskenazi via

Averill with Rainiers – Dave Eskenazi via

He signed on with the Boston Braves for the next season and played in just eight games for the club, hitting .118 with two singles and two RBI in 19 plate appearances and was released before the end of April, less than one month before his 39th birthday. The native of Snohomish, Washington, “The Earl of Snohomish” returned home to Washington state and finished his playing career with time with the minor league Seattle Rainiers in 1941 and later ran a motel for 20 years. His son, Earl Averill, Jr., reached the Majors in 1956 and played there until 1963 and at one time, like his father, was a member of the Indians.

Despite his small size, the elder Averill made his swing work for him. At the time of his retirement, Averill was the Indians’ all-time leader in homers (226), a record that stood for 55 years and could have been even higher had the left-handed hitter not played the majority of his career at League Park, with its right field wall just 290 feet away from home plate, but monstrous in height.

He made a career of using the wall to his advantage.

“When he hit the ball, it looked like a golf ball,” Harder shared in the same August 7, 1996, story. “He’d hit them in any park. League Park wasn’t that easy for homers because of the 40-foot wall. He hit a lot of liners against the wall that would have been homers somewhere else.”

He remains at the top of the list in many offensive categories still, as he is the all-time team leader in RBI with 1,084, triples with 121, runs scored with 1,154, and total bases with 3,200; is third with 377 doubles and 1,903 hits; fourth with 725 walks; and sixth with a .322 career average and .399 OBP.

After several failed bids to reach the Hall of Fame, the Veteran’s Committee elected him in 1975. The Indians honored him later that season by retiring his number three, one that had not been used on the field by a player since 1962. He was the third Indians player to receive such an honor, joining former teammates Bob Feller and Lou Boudreau.

Averill was married to his wife, Loette, for 62 years. He died in 1983 from pneumonia at the age of 81.




Cleveland Indians: 5 players who could regress in 2017


After career years from many members of the Cleveland Indians, production decline is inevitable. But which players are most likely to regress? In baseball, regression is normal and long-term consistency is rare. Those who possess the ability to perform at a high level year in and year out tend to find themselves in the Hall […]

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Indians Finalize Roster with Additions of Diaz and Martinez


With just a matter of days until the Cleveland Indians open up their American League pennant defense, the final roster decisions have been made as the team announced on Thursday that prospect Yandy Diaz and veteran utility man Michael Martinez will be on the club’s Opening Day roster to start the 2017 season. It follows Wednesday’s news that outfielder Abraham Almonte will open the year with the Tribe with right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall set to land on the 10-day disabled list while dealing with a sprained shoulder.

Third baseman Giovanny Urshela and utility man Erik Gonzalez will both start their years back at Columbus, as the Indians announced both have been optioned to Triple-A.

The Indians had one open spot on the 40-man roster after returning Rule 5 selection Hoby Milner to Philadelphia last weekend, but they will need to open up two spaces on the roster to accommodate the additions of Diaz and Martinez. The injury to Cody Anderson, who will be placed on the 60-day disabled list after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Monday, will create one spot. Left-handed pitcher Tim Cooney, who was acquired via waivers from St. Louis in November, could also land on the 60-day DL to create the other spot.

Diaz caught the club’s eye again in camp with a strong spring effort and put the pressure on the Indians coaching staff to dare to leave him off of the roster. In 18 games from Arizona, the 25-year-old right-handed hitter put up a .429 batting average with a .529 on-base percentage over 51 plate appearances. Six of his 18 hits in spring action went for extra bases, including four doubles and two home runs. His 13 RBI were second on the squad to his former Columbus teammate Bradley Zimmer, who also caught plenty of attention with his own positive performance. He also entered Thursday night’s game with a team-high eight walks.

He missed some time early in March with a sore groin, but he did plenty to make up for lost time. Diaz is expected to see much of his time in the first month of the season from the third base position, with Jose Ramirez filling in at second base for the injured Jason Kipnis.

He will wear the number 36 for the Tribe, last worn by former Indians first base prospect Jesus Aguilar.

The 34-year-old Martinez will suit up for the Indians for the third consecutive season. He put up one of the better springs of his career in Goodyear, hitting .357 with five doubles, a triple, one home run, and nine RBI while working in at several positions for the Tribe in the spring.

Martinez, who made two separate appearances with the Indians with a brief stay in Boston in between in 2016, has seen work at second and third base, shortstop, and both left and center field this spring for the Tribe.

Urshela may have hurt his cause some by playing for Team Columbia during the World Baseball Classic, taking him away from spring action with the club. The 25-year-old appeared in 20 games with the Indians in Arizona, hitting .268 with two doubles, two homers, and seven RBI. He showed a much improved strikeout number at the plate, whiffing just six times while drawing just two walks. He was 2-for-14 in the three games that he played in the WBC with two singles, one run batted in, and three strikeouts. He will return to Triple-A for a fourth straight season. Last season with the Clippers, he hit .274 with 24 doubles, a triple, eight homers, and 57 RBI in 117 games.

Gonzalez had hoped to stick on the roster as the team’s utility man, but will instead relocate back to Columbus for his third stint at Triple-A. The 25-year-old hit .308 in the spring in 23 games with two doubles, a triple, and two homers while driving in eleven runs, but he was second on the club in the spring with 19 strikeouts while drawing just one walk. A return to the Clippers lineup will allow him to get consistent playing time, something the veteran Martinez may not need as much of.

The news on Wednesday was far more positive for Almonte, who was staring a similar demotion down despite putting up good numbers in February and March. He was hitting .375 with a .434 on-base percentage in camp heading into Thursday night’s game against Arizona. He had three doubles, three homers, and had driven in 12 runs in 19 games while attempting to make the club as a reserve outfielder, but that spot appeared to be in jeopardy over the weekend when Austin Jackson was awarded a spot on the roster. Chisenhall’s A/C joint injury to his right shoulder occurred after crashing into an outfield wall last Friday and he has not taken the field since, opening up at least a temporary opportunity for Almonte.

“Lonnie is going to start the season on the disabled list,” said Indians manager Terry Francona this week. “We didn’t want to force Lonnie on the DL. He feels much better than he did at this time last year, but he probably was only going to get two at-bats on Friday.”

Chisenhall is expected to be ready by the time the team returns from its season opening road trip against Texas and Arizona to be activated for the Indians’ home opener.

The team’s bullpen battle was resolved earlier in the week when it was announced that right-hander Shawn Armstrong would begin the year in the Tribe bullpen. Left-hander Kyle Crockett and right-handers Carlos Frias and Nick Goody will wait for their call from Columbus.

Photo: Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports



Today in Tribe History: March 31, 1993


The Cleveland Indians acquire pitcher Mark Clark and minor league infielder Juan Andujar from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Mark Whiten.

The Indians were in a desperate place with a tragically depleted pitching staff after the deaths of relievers Steve Olin and Tim Crews and the injury to starter Bob Ojeda in a boating accident less than ten days earlier.

“We didn’t want to trade one of our outfielders,” Indians general manager John Hart was quoted in the April 1, 1993, edition of The Plain Dealer. “But our pitching is so thin that if we get another hangnail, we’d be in trouble.

“We had three or four scouts looking at him. We tried to get him over the winter, but the Cardinals wouldn’t trade him. I think he’ll fit well with our present and future.”

Clark, coming off of a 3-10 season in 20 games in his second season in the Majors with the Cards in 1992, will go 27-15 for the Indians in three seasons with the club. He will be traded to the New York Mets exactly three years to the date of his original acquisition by Cleveland. Andujar spends parts of two seasons in the minors for Cleveland, never advancing above Double-A.

“Hard Hitten’” Mark Whiten, expendable with a crowded Indians outfield already consisting of Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, Glenallen Hill, and Thomas Howard, with Wayne Kirby at Triple-A, will break out for the Cardinals despite not wanting to leave. After hitting .254 with nine home runs and 43 RBI in 148 games in 1992, he hit 25 homers and drove in 99 in 152 games with St. Louis in his first season with the club. He will bounce around the league, eventually returning to Cleveland for three seasons from 1998 to 2000.



Cleveland Indians complete Opening Day infield with Diaz, Martinez


The Cleveland Indians have selected both Yandy Diaz and Michael Martinez to be on the Opening Day roster as the season is just days away. Cleveland Indians fans may have been worried when Jason Kipnis‘ injury was announced, but there will be some excitement about the replacement plan. With Jose Ramirez sliding over to play […]

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Cleveland Indians fall short in MLB the Show 17 simulation


FanSided site App Trigger recently did a MLB The Show 17 simulation for the entire MLB season, and the Cleveland Indians fall short of the ultimate prize. 2017 MLB season previews are nearly behind us as the season begins this Sunday, but a new style of preview was recently done by Daniel George of App […]

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Cleveland Indians: Recapping the 2017 top prospect countdown


We take a look back at the players in the Cleveland Indians organization who made our list of the top prospects heading into the 2017 season. The Cleveland Indians are nearly ready to play some meaningful baseball, and that holds true all throughout the organization. The minor league teams in the system will feature some great […]

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