The Indians joined the American League in 1901 but were known as the Blues that year. In 1902 they were called the Broncos, and in 1902 they were called the Naps. They stuck with that name until 1915, when they were finally branded as the Indians.
From 1901 to 1947, the Indians finished first just once, in 1920, when the won the World Series. They won it again in 1948, and made it but lost in 1954. They then went through a terrible stretch in the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s when they were routinely one of the worst teams in the league (hence why they were the subject of the movie Major League). Come 1994, though, they had a core of good young players. The Indians were the first team to lock up young players prior to free agency, giving them above-market contracts for arbitration-eligible players, and it paid off. After a 2nd-place finish that year, they rung off 5 straight 1st-place finishes (although they made the World Series twice, they lost both times.) Since then, it’s been up-and-down, with additional playoff appearances in 2001 and 2007, but no titles since 1948.
Let’s take a look at who belongs on their monument.
Top 15 hitters by WAR:
|10||Shoeless Joe Jackson||33.6||1910||1915|
Amazing that only Lofton, Ramirez, and Thome make an appearance from the late 1990s teams. Lofton is probably most-associated with the Indians but moved around a lot, and Manny is most-associated with the Red Sox.
Quite a few of these guys spent a big chunk of their time with other teams. Lajoie rose to fame with both Philadelphia franchises. Speaker played 7 full seasons with the Red Sox before the Indians. Thome played quite a few years with the Phillies and White Sox. Speaking of White Sox, when you hear the name Shoeless Joe Jackson, I doubt it’s the Indians of whom you think.
That makes it sort of tough to decide who should go the Indians’ monument, since many of these players are associated with other teams.
Let’s look at the pitchers:
Hmm…a similar story. Lots of names we don’t necessarily associate primarily with the Indians.
I am guessing Boudreau and Speaker will get credit for being both great players and managers of championship teams. Toss in Lajoie and Feller, and maybe this one’s a slam dunk.
Please vote for 4.