1901: During the winter of 1900, Ban Johnson, president of the Western Baseball League, decided the country was large enough for two major leagues, especially after the National League contraction of 1899 removed four teams including the Cleveland Spiders. Johnson decided to make his league a major league, changing the name from the Western League to the American League. Feeling strong that a team in Cleveland would help boost the league’s reputation as a major league, he moved the Grand Rapids franchise to the shores of Lake Erie. However, their first season would not be a success as the Blues finished in seventh place with a 55-82 record.
1902: Using the name Bronchos, Cleveland’s American League team experiences its first winning season with a 69-67 record good enough for fifth place.
1903: The Bronchos continue to improve, finishing in third place with a solid 77-63. However, they would still finish 15 games out of first place.
1904: The Bronchos continue to raise their win total despite finishing in fourth place, posting a solid 86-65 record while coming within seven and a half games of first.
1905: The team undergoes another name change this time, becoming the Naps, in honor of their best player Napoleon Lajoie, who was called Nap for short. The Naps would not find much success finishing in fifth place with a 76-78 record.
1906: The Naps get their first taste of pennant fever, finishing five games back in third place in a three-team race with a solid 89-64 record.
1907: The Naps continue to put together solid seasons finishing in fourth place with an 85-67 while finishing eight games out of first.
1908: The Naps, who posted a record of 90-64, lose what was the closest pennant race in baseball history, being defeated by the Detroit Tigers by only a half a game for the American League pennant. The Naps had played one more game than the Tigers, who failed to make up a rained-out game, and it was a loss. Following that season, a new rule was instituted that required teams to make up any rained out games that might affect the pennant race. The highlight of the failed charge for the pennant comes on October 2nd when Addie Joss tosses a Perfect Game while throwing just 74 pitches.
1909: After barely missing a trip to the World Series, the Naps struggle all season, finishing with a disappointing record of 71-82.
1910: Cleveland Spiders great Cy Young, who returned to Cleveland in 1909 to pitch for the Naps, wins his 500th Career game cementing his record for career wins, which he would end up at 511. However, the Naps would not fare as well, finishing in fifth place with a 71-81 record. However, the story of the season was the strangest race for the batting crown in Baseball history. The competition saw Cleveland’s hero, Nap Lajoie, battle Ty Cobb, of the Detroit Tigers until the final day of the season. What added spice to the race was that the Chalmers Automobile Co. had pledged to give one of its cars to the winner. In early October, thinking he had the car already won, Cobb, skipped the Tigers final two contests to protect his average, claiming an eye ailment. However, driving away, his new Chalmers would not be as simple as Cobb expected. On October 9th, the Naps played a doubleheader in St. Louis against the Browns. Jack O’Connor, manager of the St. Louis Browns, had his infielder playback and told his pitchers to give Lajoie hittable pitches so he could beat Ty Cobb. The latter was universally hated throughout the American League. In the two games, Lajoie gets eight hits in nine at-bats. The only blemish is when he reaches base on an error. When the official averages were announced, The Sporting News cleared the controversy by naming Cobb, the winner with a .3850687 average to Lajoie’s .3840947. In a tremendous public relation move, Chalmers made both Cobb and Lajoie fans happy by awarding each player a car.
1911: Tragedy strikes the Naps when Addie Joss contracts tubercular meningitis and dies before the start of the season. In a forerunner of today’s All-Star Game, stars gathered at League Park for an exhibition against the Naps to benefit the Joss’ family on July 24th. The All-Stars cruise to a 5-3 victory, but the goal of the event is accomplished, as $12,932 is raised for the Joss family. The Naps would go on to have a solid season finishing in third place with a respectable 80-73 record.
1912: The Naps struggle all season as first-year Manager Harry Davis is fired late in the season with a 54-71 record. Under his replacement J.L. Birmingham, the Naps would close the season in a strong fashion, winning 21-of-28 games to finish in fifth place with a 75-78 record.
1913: The Naps play solid baseball all season, finishing in third place with a respectable record of 86-66.
1914: On September 27th, Nap Lajoie becomes the first player to reach the exclusive 3,000 hit mark in a Cleveland uniform. However, it would be Lajoie’s last season with Naps, after the team finishes in last place with a 51-102 record, and decides to rebuild with youth.
1915: With the departure of Nap Lajoie, the team needed a new name, so it decided to revive a name the old 1890’s National League team had once use, Indians in honor of Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot Indian, that played for the team in 1897. In their first season known as the Indians, the club finishes in seventh place with a 57-97 record.
1916: The Indians rebound off two terrible seasons by climbing back to the .500 mark at 77-77 while finishing in sixth place.
1917: The Cleveland Indians continue to improve, finishing in third place with a solid record of 88-66. They climbed to within 12 games of the American League Pennant.
1918: The Indians’ drive of the pennant is short-circuited by a reduced schedule, as the team finishes in second place with a solid 73-54 record. However, at two and a half games out, the Indians were left to wonder if they could have caught the Champion Boston Red Sox under a full schedule.
1919: The Indians fight their way into the pennant race again, but fall short with a solid 84-55 record.
1920: The Indians experienced possibly the worst tragedy in baseball history on August 16th. In the fifth inning of the game against the New York Yankees, pitcher Carl Mays hit Indians shortstop Ray Chapman in the head with a pitch. Chapman got up, walked to first, and then collapsed. He was taken to the hospital but never regained consciousness and died the next day. This is the only time in Major League Baseball that a player died from an incident on the playing field. To replace Chapman, the Indians called up Joe Sewell from their New Orleans farm club. Sewell, who said he played that season with Chapman’s spirit would go to have a Hall of Fame career. The rest of the Indians must have played with Chapman’s spirit, too, as the Indians beat out the Chicago White Sox, and Yankees to capture their first American League Pennant with a 98-56 record. That year the World Series was a best five-out-of-nine affair, and the Indians faced the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Tribe won the first games of the series 3-1 as pitcher Stan Coveleski threw a five-hitter. However, Brooklyn would bounce back by winning the next two. The series went back to Cleveland with the Indians trailing two games to one, as Coveleski had Brooklyn’s number again as he won Game 4 to tie the series up, setting up a crucial Game 5 that was a memorable contest. Elmer Smith hit the 1st World Series grand slam, and Jim Bagby hit the first homer by a pitcher in the World Series. However, Bill Wambsganss outdid those performances by making the only unassisted triple play in World Series history. With two runners on, “Wamby” caught a line drive, stepped on second base for the second out, and then tagged the runner from first base to end the inning. Cleveland went on to win the game 8-1 and would go on to win Games 6 and 7 with shutouts to win their first-ever World Championship.
1921: The Indians follow up their championship, by challenging for the A.L. Pennant again. However, they would fall four and a half games short of a return trip to the Fall Classic with a 94-60 record.
1922: The Indians struggle with mediocrity all season, finishing in fourth place with a 78-76 record.
1923: The Indians finish in third place with a respectable 82-71 record.
1924: The Indians struggle all season as suffering their first losing season in nine years while finishing in sixth place with a poor record of 67-86.
1925: On May 17th, Indians player-manager Tris Speaker collects his 3000th career hit at League Park. Speaker would end his career with 3,516 hits and would be part of the second group selected for the Hall of Fame in 1937. However, the season was not as successful for the Tribe as the team finished in sixth place with a 70-84 record.
1926: The Indians would battle the New York Yankees down to the wire, for the American League Pennant before finishing three games back with a solid 88-66 record.
1927: After coming within three games of first place, the Indians suffer a horrible season and finish more than 43 games out, posting a record of 66-87 while placing sixth.
1928: The Indians struggle all year and narrowly avoid finishing in last place with a disappointing 62-92 record.
1929: The Indians rebound nicely, and finish with a solid 81-71 record, but finish in a distant third place.
1930: The Indians drop a spot to fourth place while posting a similar 81-73 record.
1931: The Indians hover around .500 all season finishing in fourth place with a record of 78-76.
1932: The first game at the new Cleveland Municipal Stadium was one of Cleveland’s significant sporting events with a reported total attendance of 80,184. Initially, Municipal Stadium split time with League Park as home to the Indians, but it took over full-time duties in the 1947 season. It would remain the home of the Tribe until 1993. In its final years, bad Indian teams and small crowds would earn the park the nickname of the “Mistake by the Lake.” An excellent Indians team took the field in the stadium’s first year, finishing with a solid 87-65 record while finishing fourth in a competitive American League.
1933: The Indians unveiled a new logo created by a local newspaper columnist. The logo is named Chief Wahoo, although the Chief has changed his appearance but remained the name of the smiling Indian on the Tribe’s hats and logo until 2018. The Tribe would go on to finish in fourth place with a disappointing 75-76 record in their first year with Chief Wahoo at their side.
1934: The Indians climb to third place posting a solid record of 85-69 along the way.
1935: The Indians finish in third place for the second straight season overcoming a slow start as Manager Walter Johnson is replaced by Steve O’Neal to post a record of 82-71.
1936: Bob Feller makes his Major League debut as the Indians finish in fifth place with an 80-74 record.
1937: The Indians continue to reside in the middle of the pack as they post a record of 83-71 while finishing in fourth place.
1938: The Indians put together a solid but unrewarding 86-66 season finishing in 3rd place, but a distant 20 games back of the New York Yankees.
1939: Despite posting a solid record of 87-67, the Indians finish more the 20 games out of first while landing in third place.
1940: Bob Feller was already established as one of the era’s most dominant pitchers kicks off the season in style by no-hitting the White Sox in Chicago on Opening Day. It is the first and remains the only No-Hitter tossed on Opening Day. The Indians would battle the Detroit Tigers all season for the pennant but would fall short with an 89-65 record.
1941: Indians pitching combines to end Joe DiMaggio streak on July 17th. However, the Indians would struggle down the stretch posting a disappointing record of 75-79 while finishing in fourth place.
1942: With many key players departing for service in World War II, including Bob Feller, the Cleveland Indians struggle. They would finish in fourth place with a disappointing 75-79 record.
1943: The Indians post an 82-71 record while finishing in third place.
1944: The Indians struggle all season finishing in fifth place with a disappointing record of 72-82.
1945: With the war wrapping up Bob Feller returns, but the Indians can only muster a fifth Place 73-72 record.
1946: The Indians continued to struggle, finishing 36 games out of first place while finishing in sixth place with a record of 68-86.
1947: In July, only a few months after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and became the first black player in the Majors in 60 years, Larry Doby becomes the first black player to play in the American League. Doby had previously made a name for himself with the legendary Newark Eagles of the Negro Leagues. He would go on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Indians. In Doby’s first season, the Tribe would finish in fourth place with an 80-74 record.
1948: The Cleveland Indians battle the Boston Red Sox, all season for the American League Pennant and, at the end of the 154 game season, found themselves in a flat-footed tie at 96 wins and 58 losses. To decide the pennant, a one-game playoff was played at Boston’s Fenway Park. The game ended up being no contest as Indians rookie knuckleballer Gene Bearden handcuffs the Sox all day while Lou Boudreau ended hopes of an all Beantown World Series with two Home Runs. In the World Series, the Indians found themselves staying in Boston as they faced the Braves. After the losing Game 1, Bob Lemon shutdown the Braves 4-1 in Game 2 to send the series to Cleveland knotted at a game apiece. The Indians would take the next two games for a 3-1 series lead as American League Playoff hero Gene Bearden hurl a shutout in Game 3, and Game 4 on Larry Doby’s home run. However, the Braves would hammer Bob Feller to take Game 5. Heading back to Boston Game 6 rested in the capable hands of Bob Lemon, who combined with relief efforts from Bearden to give the Indians a 4-3 win, and landed the Tribe their second World Championship.
1949: The Indians follow up their World Championship by finishing in third place with a solid but unrewarding 89-65 record.
1950: The Indians finished fourth in a four-team race with an impressive 92-62 record while finishing a tantalizing six games out of first.
1951: The Indians fall five games short of a return trip to the World Series, posting a record of 93-61.
1952: The Indians battle to the bitter end of the season, falling just two games short of the American League Pennant with a record of 93-61.
1953: For the fourth year in a row the Indians eclipse the 90 win mark with one of baseball best pitching staffs, but cannot catch the New York Yankees for the American League Pennant.
1954: The Cleveland Indians pitching staff puts together one of the strongest seasons in baseball history as they win a, then American League, record 111 games to snap the New York Yankees streak of five straight pennants. Early Wynn and Bob Lemon each win an AL high 23 games while Mike Garcia wins the ERA crown at 2.64, and leads an entire five rotation whose highest ERA belongs to Art Houtterman at 3.35. In the World Series, the heavily favored Indians face the New York Giants. The series would turn in the First Game when Vic Wertz hit a 440 Ft fly ball towards the deepest part of the Polo Grounds. Willie Mays would run down the ball, in perhaps the most famous catch in baseball history, as the game remained tied into extra innings. In the tenth inning, the same fates that cursed the Indians on Wertz 440 foot bomb smiled on the Giants as Pinch Hitter Dusty Rhodes won the game on a line-drive home run to the shortest part of the ballpark some 260 feet. The Tribe would not recover from their stunning Game 1 defeat and would go on to be swept, forever diminishing their great regular season.
1955: Rookie Pitcher Herb Score bursts upon the American League scene, leading the league in strikeouts with 245, establishing a rookie record that would stand nearly 30 years while winning the Rookie of the Year award. However, the Tribe found themselves second place again, with a 93-61 record.
1956: Herb Score was even better in his second season, winning 20 games. However, the fates would not be kind as late in the season, as Gil McDougal of the New York Yankees lined a pitch that hit Score right in the eye. Score would never be the same, and over the remaining five years of his career would not manage even to win 20 games total. The Tribe would go on to finish the season in second again with an 88-66 record.
1957: With the Score feeling the effects of the injury, and their excellent pitching staff showing its age, the Indians see their ten year run of winning seasons come to an end with a sixth Place 76-77 record.
1958: The Indians play mediocre baseball all season finishing in fourth place with a 77-76 record.
1959: Highlighted by a four Home Run game in Baltimore on June 10th, Indians outfielder Rocky Colavito Wins the American League Home Run crown with 42. However, in a tight race for the American League Pennant, the Indians come up short again, losing out to the Chicago White Sox, despite a solid record of 89-65.
1960: Just before the start of the regular season, Indians GM Frank Lane shocks baseball and Tribe fans by dealing away defending home run champion Rocky Colavito for Batting Champion Harvey Kuenn. Colavito would have a few more stellar seasons with Tigers while Kuenn would spend just one season in Cleveland before witnessing his career fade quickly. The controversial trade would mark the beginning of the worst period in Cleveland Indians’ history, as the Indians finished in fourth place with a 76-78 record. The Indians would not contend for the next 35 years, and the trade would eventually be known as” the Curse of Rocky Colavito.”
1961: The Indians remain in the middle of the pack as they finish in fifth place with a record of 79-83.
1962: The Indians continue to play mediocre baseball, finishing in sixth place with a record of 80-82.
1963: Early Wynn, who the Indians dealt after the 1957 season, returns to pick up his 300th and final victory on July 13th. The win would come on Wynn’s ninth attempt at the Hall of Fame milestone. The Tribe would not be as successful finishing in sixth place with a 79-83 record.
1964: The Indians continue to sit just below the .500 mark as they finish in sixth place with a record of 79-83.
1965: The Indians post their first winning season since the Rocky Colavito trade, finishing in fifth place with an 87-75 record.
1966: The Indians play mediocre baseball all season finishing in fifth place with an 81-81 record.
1967: The Indians struggle all season, falling to eighth place with a record of 75-87.
1968: The Indians coming off two mediocre seasons, post a solid 86-75 record, but finish in a distant third place.
1969: The Indians do not take to Divisional Play well, losing 99 games while finishing in last place in the American League Eastern Division, with the worst record the American League’s two expansion teams.
1970: The Indians rebound off their last-place season by finishing in fifth place with a record of 76-86.
1971: The Indians fall from grace continues as they lose 102 games while finishing in last place for the second time in three years.
1972: Despite Gaylord Perry winning the Cy Young with a 24-16 record and a 1.92 ERA, the Indians finish in fifth place with a 72-84 record.
1973: The Indians finish in last place for the third time in five years while posting a record of 71-91.
1974: Desperate to draw fans to watch the struggling Indians, promoters decide to have a Nickel Beer Night. During the promotion, beer would be offered for a nickel apiece. This would lead to one of the largest crowds at Municipal Stadium in years and would be the recipe for disaster the fans ended up getting drunk on the cheap beer and began to riot. This would lead to the Indians forfeiting the game against the Texas Rangers as players had to be rushed off the field to escape the flying beer bottles. The whole fiasco would end up in the cancellation of all future such cheap beer promotions throughout baseball. The Indians on the field were not much better as they finished in fourth place with a 77-85 record.
1975: April 8th marks a great stride for not only the Cleveland Indians, and baseball, but all of America as well when Frank Robinson becomes the first black manager in Major League history. At the same time, Robinson continues his Hall of Fame playing career, and he enters the ranks in grand style, hitting a homer in his first at-bat. The joy would be short-lived, as the Indians suffer another losing season at 79-80.
1976: In Frank Robinson’s second season as manager, the Indians posted their first winning season in seven seasons. They finished with an 81-78 record good enough for fourth place.
1977: In the middle of a disappointing 71-90 season, Frank Robinson’s historic reign as manager comes to an end as he is fired, and replaced by Jeff Torborg.
1978: The Indians continue to struggle as they finish in sixth place with a record of 69-90.
1979: The Indians post just their 2nd winning record of the decade, finishing in fifth place with a record of 81-80.
1980: Joe Charbonneau becomes an instant sensation winning the Rookie of the Year, despite playing on an Indians team that finished in sixth place with a 79-81 record.
1981: In Perhaps the brightest moment in the dark days of the Indians, Len Barker pitches a Perfect Game in front of a small but ruckus crowd in a drizzle on May 15th against the Toronto Blue Jays at Municipal Stadium. In a strike interrupted split season, the Indians fail to be a factor for the Divisional Race finishing around .500 in both halves, with a 52-51 overall record.
1982: The Indians finish in a tie for sixth place with a disappointing record of 78-84.
1983: The Indians come crashing down into last place, posting a horrible record of 70-92 as Pat Corrales takes over as manager in the middle of the season.
1984: The Indians continue to struggle as they finish in sixth place with a record of 75-87.
1985: The Indians losing ways continue as the Tribe loses 102 games on the way to finishing in the cellar of the American League Eastern Division, nearly 40 games behind the first-place Toronto Blue Jays.
1986: Led by young players like RBI Champion Joe Carter and Corey Snyder, the Indians give fans a reason to hope. The Indians were in first place as late as May; the latest they achieved the top spot in 25 years. The Tribe would eventually fade finishing in fifth place with 84 wins, 11 games out of the top spot. However, there was finally a reason for the hope that the Tribe was about to turn things around.
1987: After the Indians encouraging season, there was no reason for fans no to be optimistic about the Tribe’s future. Sports Illustrated even went as far as to put Joe Carter and Corey Snyder on the cover of their baseball preview issue. Saying there would be “An Indian Uprising” as the magazine would pick the Indians to reach the World Series. This would end up being one of the most historical examples of the S.I. Jinx. Not only do the Indians fail to contend, but they also lose 101 games and finish in the American League East cellar.
1988: The Indians continue to struggle as they finish in sixth place with a record of 74-88.
1989: Indians fans finally get to see their team victorious again. However, it is not on the field. Instead, it is on the Big Screen. In the movie “Major League,” a band of ragtag Cleveland Indians put together a fantastic run and defeats the New York Yankees in a one-game playoff for the Division Title. The producers selected the Indians because, over the past 30 years, no team has been consistently worse. It also serves as a painful reminder that a whole generation of Indian fans has grown up without seeing the Indians play an important game for the pennant. The team suffers another poor 73-89 season.
1990: Sandy Alomar Jr., acquired in a trade with San Diego Padres for Joe Carter, makes an immediate impact winning the Rookie of the Year as the Indians finish in fourth place with a 77-85 record.
1991: The Indians finally hit rock bottom with a franchise-worst 57-105 season. However, despite the struggles, the seed was being planted for better days in the future as Mike Hargrove took over as manager, and young players like Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome, Albert Belle, and Carlos Baerga started to become regular parts of the Tribe’s lineup.
1992: The Cleveland Indians begin to show signs of life with a 19-win improvement. They would finish in fourth place with a record of 76-86.
1993: Before the final season in Municipal Stadium, Tragedy strikes the Cleveland Indians again. After a spring game on March 23rd, Steve Olin, the Indians up and coming closer, Tim Crews a middle, and Bob Ojeda, a Left-Handed Starting pitcher, both of whom were recently acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers went out on an early evening fishing trip. The speedboat they were driving in crashed into a low-lying pier. Olin was killed instantly, and Crews died during surgery a few hours later. Ojeda, the lone survivor, also suffered severe head injuries. He would recover fully and would even come back to pitch for the Indians in July. The tragic accident overshadowed a promising season where the Indians’ young talent began to show signs the Indians were about to rise again before finishing in sixth place with a 76-86 record.
1994: A new era of Cleveland Indians baseball begins on April 4th when the brand new Stadium Jacobs Field opens in a revitalized part of downtown. The Indians playing before a sellout crowd of 41,459 fans win the game against the Seattle Mariners in 11 innings 4-3. The move not only revitalizes downtown Cleveland but the long-suffering Indians as well. The Indians find themselves right in the thick of a race for the top spot in the newly formed American League Central Division. However, the season would end abruptly on August 12th because of a player’s strike with the Indians just one game out of first with a 66-47 record, and in Wild Card position.
1995: After a strike stopped their first run at a title, the Indians went out and put an emphatic end to 40 years of frustration. The strike, which ends the previous season, limited the season to 144 games, which was not enough to stop the Indians from reaching the century mark in wins, as the team finishes in first place with an impressive 100-44 record. The Indians are so dominant that they finished the season30 games better than the rest of their division, the largest margin in baseball history. Albert Belle, who hits 50 home runs and 50 doubles and Eddie Murray’s 3000th career hit, also highlights the season. In the Indians’ first playoff series in 41 years, the Tribe find themselves matched up against the Boston Red Sox in the first-ever ALDS. The Indians get kicked started in grand fashion as Tony Peña delivers a Game Winning home run to win Game 1 in 13 innings the Tribe would go on to sweep the deflated Sox. Next up for the Indians was the Seattle Mariners, who, after three games of the ALCS, held a 2-1 series lead. The Tribe would not be denied as they won the next two games at Jacobs Field to head back to Seattle, leading three games to two. In Game 6, they faced an opposing challenge as Randy Johnson, who dominated them in Game 3, tries to even the series and force a Game 7. The game would turn suddenly when Kenny Lofton scores from second base on a passed ball, and Randy Johnson gives up a Homer to the batter during the PB, Carlos Baerga this would earn the Tribe their first trip to the World Series in 41 years. The Indians World Series opponents would be the Atlanta Braves, who were looking to end years of postseason frustration themselves. The Braves stellar pitching would handcuff the Tribe in the first two games as they jumped out to a 2-0 series lead. The Indians would win Game 3 in Cleveland thanks to timely hitting from Jim Thome, and Eddie Murray. After being handcuffed in Game 4, the Indians were backed against the wall down three games to one and would be facing Greg Maddux, who shut them down in Game 1. This time the Indians would gain a measure of revenge and would beat the dominant Cy Young winner to send the series back to Atlanta. In Game 6, pitching was again the story as Indians Orel Hershiser matched the Braves Tom Glavine zero for zero. However, Orel was removed for a pinch hitter, and a solo homer from David Justice victimized reliever Jim Poole, and the Indians’ great season would come to a bitter end 1-0.
1996: The Indians would follow up their first American League Pennant by winning 99 games and cruising to their second consecutive Central Division Title. However, in the Division Series, the Indians would get caught napping and would lose to the Wild Card Baltimore Orioles three games to one.
1997: The Indians would struggle most of the season and would wind up with an average record of 86-75. However, it was good enough to win a weak Central Division for the third consecutive year. In the Division Series, the Tribe faced their historic archrival New York Yankees, who were expected to sweep the Indians. However, the Indians managed to steal Game 2 in Yankee Stadium and sent the series to Jacobs Field knotted at a game apiece. After the Indians lost Game 3, they found themselves down 3-2 in the 8th Inning of Game 4. However, Sandy Alomar Jr. would then revive the Tribe by homering off Mariano Rivera to tie the game. The Indians would go on to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. They also won the deceive fifth game behind the dominant pitching of Jaret Wright to advances to the ALCS. In the ALCS, the Indians faced the same Baltimore Orioles who stymied them in the year before in the ALDS. After being dominated in Game 1, the Tribe was in danger of falling behind 0-2, trailing in the ninth inning of Game 2. However, Marquis Grissom gave the Indians a stunning victory by homering off the Orioles hard-throwing closer Armando Benitez. The Indians would win the series by winning two extra-inning marathons in Games 3 and 6. In the Game 6 victory that won the series 4-2, the Tribe won on Tony Fernandez’s 12th Inning Line Drive Homer to break a scoreless tie. The Indians who had struggled for 40 years were on their way to their second World Series in three years. In the World Series, the Indians would face the National League Wild Card Florida Marlins, who were only in their fifth year of existence. The series went back and forth with Marlins going back to Florida, leading three games to two. The Indians would then force a seventh and deciding game thanks to the dominating shutout pitching of Chad Ogea. In Game 7, the Indians took a quick 2-0 lead, and Jaret Wright kept the Marlins off the board for six innings. After a Bobby Bonilla homer shaved the game 2-1, the Indians went to the ninth inning, leading 2-1. However, it was not meant to be as the Marlins would scrap to tie the game and send it into extra innings. The Indians would wind up heartbroken again in the 11th inning when ALCS hero Tony Fernandez booted the ball and helped the Marlins win their first-ever World Championship.
1998: The Indians continue their Central Division dominance by cruising to their fourth straight division title with an 89-73 record. In the Division Series, the Indians defeat the Boston Red Sox in four games to advance to the ALCS against the New York Yankees. That year the Yankees dominated the entire A.L. and broke the Indians 1954 A.L. record for wins in a season with 114. The Indians would steal Game 2 at Yankee Stadium in extra Innings to send the series to Cleveland knotted at a game apiece. In Game 3, the Indians hammered Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte and looked primed for the upset. Once again, it was not meant to be as Orlando Hernandez, and David Wells dominated the Tribe to send the series back to New York with Yanks leading 3-2 in the series. The Yankees would go on to close out the Indians in six games. However, Indians fans could pride themselves with the knowledge that the two games the Indians won against the Yanks would be the only two the Yankees would lose that entire postseason.
1999: The Indians win the American League Central again with a 97-65 record and appear to be heading for a rematch for the New York Yankees in the ALCS after taking the first two games of the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox. However, the Tribe’s pitching would fall apart, and the Indians would lose the final three games. The Indians would go on to fire Manager Mike Hargrove who was triggered as the scapegoat for the Indians postseason collapse.
2000: The Indians get off to a slow start and fall out of first place early in the season. Despite a strong finish, the early struggles prove too much to overcome, and the Indians’ five-year reign as Division Champs come to an end despite a solid 90-72 record. Despite failing to make the playoffs, the Indians Infield defense continues to sparkle as 2B Roberto Alomar, SS Omar Vizquel, and 3B Travis Fryman each win Gold Gloves and set an American League records for fewest errors, and best fielding percentage.
2001: Despite losing Manny Ramirez to free agency, the Cleveland Indians, reclaim the top spot in the American League Central Division with a 91-71 record. Manny’s replacement Juan Gonzalez drives in 140 RBI. During the season, the Indians would see an end to their incredible run of 455 sellouts at Jacobs Field, which began in 1995. It was quite a fantastic turn around when you consider that at one time, the Indians would play in front of 50,000 empty seats at the cavernous Municipal Stadium. In the ALDS, the Indians would face the Seattle Mariners who tied a Major League record with 116 wins during the regular season. However, throughout the season, the Tribe proved to be a pesky challenger for the Mariners, including a comeback from a 14-2 deficit during a Nationally Televised Sunday Night Game on August 5th. In the ALDS, the Indians would prove pesky again, splitting the first games in Seattle. The Indians would then push the M’s to the brink with a 17-2 rout in Game 3. However, the Mariners would bounce back to take the next two games to advance to the ALCS.
2002: Despite selling out almost every game over eight years, Owner Jim Dolan claims the Indians are losing money, and begins to sell off players. The sell-off started before the season as Roberto Alomar is traded to the New York Mets, while Juan Gonzalez and Kenny Lofton are allowed to sign deals as Free Agent. After playing mediocre baseball in the first three months, the sell-off would continue as Bartolo Colon is traded to the Montreal Expos. The Indians’ struggles would continue as the Indians changed managers, on the way to finishing in third place with a 74-88 record that ends a string of eight consecutive winning seasons. Following the season, the purge would continue as Jim Thome, who hit 53 home runs, is allowed to sign a Free Agent Deal with Philadelphia Phillies.
2003: With the departure of Jim Thome, the Cleveland Indians had one of the youngest teams in the Majors. They took their lumps early winning just 13 of their first 40 games, on their way to a terrible 68-94 record which landed them in fourth place reminding fans of the days when the Indians went 40 years without being in a true pennant race. There was plenty of reason to hope as outfielder Jody Gerut had a solid rookie season with 22 homers and 75 RBI. The young Tribe stars played more competitively as the season wore on playing .500 ball between May and August before fatigue set in and the Indians in September with a 7-18 record.
2004: The young Indians would get off to a slow start as they sat with a record of 18-26 on May 26th. However, as the season wore on, the Indians began to improve as several players had breakout seasons, including Catcher Victor Martinez who blasted 23 homers and drove in 108 RBI and Travis Hafner. They hit 28 homers with a team-leading 109 RBI. While on the mound, Cliff Lee and Jake Westbrook each won 14 games. The Indians would steadily climb their way over .500 and even made a run at the Central Division Title, before a nine-game losing streak in August ended their playoff hopes. The Indians would end up finishing the season in third place with a record of 80-82.
2005: After their strong finish, the Indians were a trendy pick to win the American League Central Division at the start of the season, but another slow start would put them in an early hole as they sat at 9-14 at the end of April. After spending all of May just to reach .500, the Indians found themselves 15 and a half games behind the Chicago White Sox in June. The Indians would begin to make their move in June as they won 12-of-13 games during a stretch of Interleague games as they headed into the All-Star Break with a 47-41 record. Coming out of the break, the Indians were hit with a cold dose of reality as they were swept in a four-game series by the White Sox, who would win 15-of-19 games during the season against the Tribe. Still 15 games behind the Sox and hovering around .500 as August started, the Indians would suddenly become the hottest team in baseball. They would make a run at the playoffs as they ran off a stretch of 44 wins over their next 60 which included an 18-2 stretch in September that saw them cut the White Sox lead to a game and half heading into the final week as they were one of four teams battling for three playoff spots. However, the young Indians would fall under the sudden spotlight as they lost three straight games to the lowly Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Devil Rays to cost themselves the division title. Still, with a chance at the wild card, the Indians with one win could have forced a playoff with themselves the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees for the last two spots. However, their struggles against the White Sox continued as they are swept in three straight games at home, ending the season with 93-69 record.
2006: After the Indians strong finish there, we high hopes on the banks of the Ohio River when the new season began, and the Indians lived up to that as they won six of their first seven games. It would be the only time all season the Indians lived up the hope as they soon found themselves in a season-long rut of mediocre baseball. Grady Sizemore became just the second player to hit 20 homers, with 50 doubles, ten triples, and 20 stolen bases. Travis Hafner, who tied a Major League record with six grand slams in one season, had super seasons, the rest of the Indians fell short of expectations. One area where the Indians suffered was in the bullpen that blew 18 save opportunities led by Fausto Carmona, who blew three 9th inning saves in one week following the trade of Bob Wickman to the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline. The Indians would go on to finish the season in fourth place with a disappointing record of 78-84.
2007: Hoping to rebound off a disappointing season, the Indians concentrated on building a veteran bullpen Aaron Fultz and Joe Borowski to replace Bob Wickman, as Fausto Carmona, who struggled in the bullpen was made a starter. The latter move would be an unexpected boom as Carmona excelled as a starter with a 19-8 record and a solid ERA of 3.06. The only Indian pitcher who had a better year was CC Sabathia, who achieved to potential the Indians had expected for years as he posted a 19-6 record with a 3.21 ERA and 209 strikeouts. Sabathia would go on to win the American League, Cy Young. When the season started, it looked like neither would happen as the Indians spent much of the first week of the season waiting out the weather. Unusual April snowstorms wiped out the first home series against the Seattle Mariners and forced the Indians to play three home games in Milwaukee’s domed stadium. Despite the weather, the Indians had a strong April ending the month at 14-8, with the only blip coming at the hands of a three-game sweep by the New York Yankees on the road, as Joe Borowski and the Indians bullpen imploded in the finale allowing a six-run ninth-inning rally capped by a walk-off home run by Alex Rodriguez. The Indians continued to play well in May as they battled the Detroit Tigers for first place in the Central Division. The Indians stumbled as they posted a losing record in July coming out of the All-Star Break. The struggles continued into August, despite the return of Kenny Lofton, who was acquired in a deadline deal from the Texas Rangers, as the Indians were swept by the Yankees again this time at home. After dropping the next game against the Tigers at home 6-2, the suddenly reeling Tribe turned to the young Carmona to get themselves back on track, and the 23-year old fireballer did not let them down striking out a career-high ten batters. The Indians won 5-2 to tie the Tigers for first place in the Central. That win would be the boost the Indians needed to get back on track as they closed August on a roll winning 12-of-their-last-15 games. In September, the Tribe continued to cruise winning 8-of-their-first-11 games in the season’s final month, as they prepared to face the Tigers one more time with a chance to close in on their first division title since 2001. The Indians would grab the Tigers by the tail and not let go sweeping the defending American League Champs, as they went on to win the division with a record 95-66. In the playoffs, the Indians would face another hurdle as they were matched up against the New York Yankees in the ALDS; during the regular season, the Indians lost all six meetings with the Yankees. The Indians would come out swinging as they roughed up Yankees ace Ching-Ming Wang, led by Kenny Lofton, who had four RBI in a 12-3 win in Game 1. The next game would be a pitcher’s duel as Fausto Carmona kept Yankees bats off-balance, allowing just a third Inning homer by Melky Cabrera. The Indians failed several times to capitalize, leaving runners on base almost every inning. They trailed 1-0 entering the eighth inning facing the Yankees new bullpen phenom Joba Chamberlain when a funny thing happened at Jacobs Field as a swarm of insects known as Mayflies invaded on the unusually warm Cleveland night. At the same time, Carmona was unfazed by the infestation the Yankees were unnerved, as Chamberlain, hurled two wild pitches for the Indians to tie the game. From there, the Indians bullpen continued to handcuff the Yankees, as the Tribe won 2-1 on Travis Hafner’s RBI single in the 11th inning. After dropping Game 3 in the Bronx 8-4, the Indians jumped on Wang again as Grady Sizemore led the game off with a homer as the Indians held a 6-1 lead in the fourth inning, as they advanced to the ALCS with a solid 6-4 win. Game 1 of the ALCS featured a matchup of Cy Young hopefuls as C.C. Sabathia faced Josh Beckett; however, it was not Sabathia’s night as the Red Sox won the opener 10-3. Game 2 would be a battle of the bullpens as the game was tied 6-6 after nine innings; finally, it was the Indians who exploded in the 11th inning as they scored seven times led by former Red Sox Trot Nixon, whose RBI single ignited the Tribe’s offense. As the series shifted to Cleveland, the Indians remained in control as Jake Westbrook kept the Sox off balance in a solid 4-2 win. The Indians would use a big inning again in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead with a 7-3, as they scored seven times in the fifth inning, highlighted by a three-run homer from Jhonny Peralta, as Casey Blake started the rally with a homer, and ended the rally with an RBI single. However, with a chance to close out the series in Cleveland, Sabathia struggled again as Josh Beckett kept the Indians off-balance in a 7-1 win for the Red Sox. It would be the last gasp the Indians would take as they were blown out in the final two games as the Sox advanced to the World Series by outscoring the Tribe 30-5 over the final three games to overcome a 3-1 deficit.
2008: After a heartbreaking loss in the ALCS, the Indians got off to a slow start. Reigning Cy Young winner CC Sabathia, who was in a contract year, struggled early losing five of his first six decisions while posting a 7.51 ERA, while the Tribe posted losing records for the first two months. Injuries would also play a role in the Indians’ struggles as to sluggers Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez, as well as starting pitchers Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona dropped them in a big hole. Sabathia began to turn things around as June began, but with the star pitcher heading toward free agency, and the playoffs not looking like a reality the team decided to trade the 2007 Cy Young winner to the Milwaukee Brewers, for Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson, Rob Bryson, and Michael Brantley. While one ace was lost, another was emerging among the gloom of a disappointing season. Cliff Lee, who a year earlier was sent down to the minors, was almost an automatic win posting a 22-3 record with a 2.54 ERA to win the Cy Young Award. Despite the Indians starting August in last place with 47-60 record. However, the Indians would not go down without a fight as they finished the season on a strong note posting an 18-10 record in August, as they went on to finish in third place with a .500 record of 81-81.
2009: After finishing with a .500 record, the Indians hopped they could rebound and get back to the team that was just one game away from the World Series. However, right from the start of the season, it was easy to tell it was not going to be a good season for the Tribe, as they dropped their first five games, on the way to a dreadful 1-7 start. The Indians would spoil the opening of the new Yankee Stadium, beating the Bronx Bombers. The latter had CC Sabathia on the mound 10-2, as they managed to split a four-game series, with their offense coming alive. However, they would spend all of April in last place, posting a record of 8-14. The Indians continued to struggle in May, as several key players, including Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, and Asdrubal Cabrera, spent time on the disabled list. Down 10-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays on May 25th, the Indians suddenly looked like they were about to turn things around as they rallied to win 11-10, and went on a seven-game winning streak to close the month. However, in June, the bottom fell out as the Indians posted a 9-18 record, leading management to look at rebuilding. As the trade deadline approached the Indians for the second year in a row dealt a reigning Cy Young, trading Cliff Lee to the Philadelphia Phillies, along with Ben Francisco for prospects Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson, and Jason Knapp. They also shipped Victor Martinez to the Boston Red Sox for Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, and Bryan Price. The Indians would go on to finish tied for last place with a dreadful 65-97 record that was among the worst in all of baseball. Following the season manager Eric Wedge, and his entire coaching staff would be dismissed.
2010: Under a new manager, the Indians would stumble out of the gate, losing four of their first six games on the road before coming home and dropping two straight to the Texas Rangers. The Tribe would win the final game against the Rangers, and sweep the Chicago White Sox to get back to .500, but April would have more lows than highs, as they ended the month in third place with a 9-13 record. May would bring more losses to Cleveland, as the Indians slipped into last place as they won just nine games while losing 18. The Tribe would toil in last place over the next two months, as they looked to the future by unloading veterans for prospects at the trade deadline. One player who would leave Cleveland was Jake Westbrook, who was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals, getting Corey Kluber from the San Diego Padres as part of a three-team deal. The Indians would also send Outfielder Austin Kearns and Closer Kerry Wood to the New York Yankees. Meanwhile, Shortstop Jhonny Peralta was sent to the Detroit Tigers for Pitcher Giovanni Soto. After the trades, the Indians continued to struggle, posting an awful 10-18 mark in August. However, with some strong play from September call ups, the Indians ended the season on a strong note, as they had a winning month in September at 15-12, including winning five of seven games against the Kansas City Royals. The strong play against the Royals enabled the Tribe to escape last place, as they ended the season in fourth place with a terrible record of 69-93.
2011: At the start of the season, there were not high expectations in Cleveland as most pre-season forecasts had them finishing in last place. When they started the season with a pair of ugly losses to the Chicago White Sox, it was not hard to blame the Tribe’s fans in anticipating a long season. However, the Indians would bounce back to beat the White Sox 7-1 behind a solid start from Justin Masterson. The win would be the start of an eight-game winning streak that included a sweep of the Boston Red Sox. The eight-game streak would be the spark for the Indians to get off to the best start in franchise history, as they won 18 games in April on the way to a 21-9 start that had them in first place with a seven-game winning streak. The Indians would not be able to keep up the pace in May. However, they had a winning record at 14-12 and held a five-game lead entering June. The Indians’ strong start was done without a significant contribution from Grady Sizemore, who continued to struggle with a bad knee as he was limited to 71 games and batted .224 with just ten home runs and 32 RBI. Meanwhile, the Indians offense was paced by Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and Catcher Carlos Santana, who each had breakout seasons. On the mound, the Tribe was led by Justin Masterson and Chris Perez, who saved 36 games. The Indians would suffer from a June swoon as they won just ten games and lost their grip on first place in the Central Division. However, despite a 10-17 record in June they still spent most of the month in first place and held the lead until the final day of the first half as they entered the All-Star Break a half-game behind the Detroit Tigers with a record 47-42. After the break, the Tribe continued to struggle as they again had a losing record for the month. Hoping to regain their momentum, the Indians were active at the trade deadline landing Pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez from the Colorado Rockies for four prospects Alex White, Joe Gardner, Matt McBride, and Drew Pomeranz. However, Jimenez would struggle to adjust to the American League, as they posted a 4-4 record with a 5.10 ERA. The Indians would play better in August thanks to a spark from Jason Kipnis, who became the first player to hit homers in four straight games during the first two weeks of his Major League Career. However, a three-game sweep at Comerica Park all but ended their pennant hopes. The Indians would struggle again in September, as a four-game season-ending losing streak dropped them below .500 as they finished with an 80-82 record despite landing in second place.
2012: The career of Grady Sizemore, who only a few years earlier became the face of the Indians franchise, continued to remain on hold. He began the season on the Disabled List after undergoing back surgery during spring training. Sizemore, who signed a one year deal worth $5 million to stay in Cleveland, would not come off the disabled list, as he went through a series of setbacks and needed another microfracture procedure on his knee. Another player, the Indians, relied on the past turned out to be not the person they thought he was, as it was revealed that Fausto Carmona was actually named Roberto Hernandez. The use of a false identity delayed his visa and forced Hernandez to miss half the season. After serving a 13 game suspension, Roberto Hernandez would struggle with a 7.53 ERA in just over 14 innings. When the season was over, the Tribe would waive Sizemore, whose career remained on hold. After starting the season by losing four of their first five games at home, the Indians embarked on a nine-game road trip and won seven games, including a dramatic 11-9 extra-inning win in Kansas City, in which the Indians trailed early 7-0. The Indians would go on to finish April in first place with a record of 11-9. For most of May, the Indians would remain in first place as they performed well during a stretch of 21 games in 20 days, posting a record of 13-8. As the month came to an end, injuries would begin to have a negative effect on the Tribe. Travis Hafner went on the disabled list with a sore knee, while Catcher Carlos Santana suffered a concussion. The struggles continued into June as they played poorly against the National League in Interleague action, including a sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds. However, the Tribe would rebound to sweep the Reds at Progressive Field, earning a split of the Ohio Cup as they remained and in the playoff picture up to the All-Star Break. After a 44-41 record in the first half, the Tribe began to go into a tailspin as they went into a team slump. Among the Indians whose bats dried up was Jason Kipnis, who had 46 RBI through the first three months had just nine in July, while Hafner still dealing with knee soreness had only six runs batted in. The pitching was not much better as Jason Tomlin was demoted to the bullpen after a 2-5 record with 7.02 ERA in an eight-game stretch. As July turned to August, the Indians suffered through a winless nine-game road trip, the Indians losing streak would end at 11. It was not the end of their August woes, as they had another nine-game losing streak and posted a wretched 5-24 record that took them from the edge of the pennant race to the depths of the Central Division. As the season came to an end, a sign of changes to come in the off-season saw Manager Manny Acta fired with six games left. Sandy Alomar Jr. would lead the team the final week, splitting the last six games as the Indians finished in fourth place with a record of 68-94. The Indians would move quickly to find a new Manager, hiring Terry Francona, who, as Manager for the Boston Red Sox, won two World Series while ending an 86 year championship drought.
2013: Under new Manager Terry Francona the Indians looked to get off to a strong start and won their first two games on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays as they split their first six games. However, the Tribe would falter in their home opener as they were slammed by the New York Yankees 11-6. Facing a tough early schedule with bad weather postponing four games, the Indians struggled while recording a record of 8-13 in their first 21 games. It would have likely been worse, but Justin Masterson kept any slump from getting too bad as he won four of five decisions in April. The Indians’ fortunes began to turn on April 28th. They swept a doubleheader on the road against the Kansas City Royals and ended the month with a record seven home runs during a 14-2 hammering of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Indians would carry the momentum into May as they climbed over .500 with a six-game winning streak, as they won 13 of 15 overall. They would hit a wall as the month came to an end losing three to the Boston Red Sox and two against the Cincinnati Reds during a Memorial Day weekend road swing that saw them blow a 5-2 lead in the ninth inning and lose Closer Chris Perez for a month with a shoulder injury. With Masterson stopping a losing streak once again, the Tribe would win the next two against the Reds at Progressive Field. With the loss of Perez, the Indians would once again suffer on the road, losing eight straight as they suffered sweeps at the hands of the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees. However, thanks to 2B Jason Kipnis, the Indians got things turned in the right direction as they sprung back above .500 and finished the month with a record of 44-38. Kipnis would be named Player of the Month as he hit .419 with 12 doubles, four home runs, and 25 RBI. Kipnis also stole nine bases and received player of the Week honors twice. Jason Kipnis and Justin Masterson would be named to the All-Star Game as they had a strong July and found themselves in the thick of the pennant race. One highlight came on July 29th as Jason Giambi became the oldest player to hit a walk-off home run at the age of 42 as the Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2. The Indians would sweep a pair of four-game series against the White Sox as they won 14 games against their division rivals. The Indians would not fare as well against the Detroit Tigers, losing 17 of 19 to eventual Central Division Champions. The Tribe also struggled against the Yankees and Red Sox, posting 1-6 records against each of the traditional American League powerhouses. Quality teams seemed to have their way against the Tribe all season. Including a sweep by the Atlanta Braves at the end of August, a month in which the Indians posted a losing record of 12-16. Fortunately, the Indians did not face many top teams in September as they focused on grabbing one of two Wild Card spots in the American League. They would have to do it without their top pitcher as Justin Masterson suffered an oblique injury during a September 2nd loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Without Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez stepped up and posted a 4-0 record with a 1.09 ERA as posted a 21-6 record in September, highlighted by a season-ending ten-game winning streak against the Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox, and Minnesota Twins. The Indians would finish the season with a record of 92-70 clinching the top Wild Card spot on the final day of the season, as Terry Francona was named Manager of the Year.
2013 Wild Card Game: The Indians would host the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Wild Card Game. The Rays came in needing to win a tiebreaker game over the Texas Rangers, giving the Tribe a distinct advantage. However, the Indians would not be able to solve Alex Cobb, who blanked the Tribe over six and two-thirds innings. The Tribe would not fare any better against the Rays pen, as they were unable to push across any runs despite nine hits, losing the game 4-0.
2014: The Cleveland Indians entered the season looking to build off their Wild Card berth. The season would begin with a 2-0 win on the road against the Oakland Athletics. After taking two of three in Oakland, the Indians would beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 in their home opener with a sold-out crowd at Progressive Field. April would be a rough month for the Tribe, as they dug themselves into an early hole with a record of 11-17 as they dealt with a series of injuries. The Indians who ended April by losing six straight in California began to turn things around in May by starting the months with six wins in their first eight games. The Tribe would post a record of 15-13 in May, but remained stuck in last place. Helping the Indians to get their season back on track was Corey Kluber, who became the first Indians pitcher with more than 60 strikeouts in a month since Dennis Eckersley did it in 1976. Kluber, after a slow start, would be the best pitcher in the American League over the second half of the season. He would finish the season with 18 wins, tied for most in the A.L., with an ERA of 2.44 and 269 strikeouts second-most in the majors. Corey Kluber would win the Cy Young Award in a close vote over Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. The Tribe would climb over .500 as June began, by winning nine of ten. However, the rest of the month would be a struggle for the Indians as only managed to further thread water. After posting a 47-47 record at the All-Star Break, the Indians would finally make their move in August, posting a record of 18-9. Strangely the Indians charge came after it appeared; they were waving the white flag by dealing, Asdrubal Cabrera and Justin Masterson at the trade deadline. However, they would never be able to catch the Wild Card leaders, posting a record of 85-77 good enough for third place in the Central Division. One problem was finding another pitcher to back up Corey Kluber, as they had no other starter reach ten wins. The Tribe’s offense was led by Michael Brantley, who finished third in MVP voting with 20 home runs and a team-high 97 RBI as he made his first All-Star team. Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes also had big seasons topping 20 homers, with Santana posting a team-high 27 long balls.
2015: Coming off two straight winning seasons, the Cleveland Indians looked to make a move forward and win the American League Central Division, with reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber leading the way. However, Kluber struggled at the start of the season, losing his first five decisions before shutting out the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 on May 13th. Corey Kluber would have a significant disappointing season, posting a record of 9-16 with an ERA of 3.49, while record 245 strikeouts. While Kluber went winless in April, Trevor Bauer started the season by flirting with history as he came within two outs of a no-hitter on April 9th before giving up a single to Jed Lowrie in a 5-1 win over the Houston Astros. The Tribe had few other highlights in April, finishing the month in last place with a record of 7-14. The Indians’ struggles continued into the middle of May, as they were floundering with a record of 12-21 on May 14th, before finally getting their season on track with a successful road trip against the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox. The Tribe would post a record of 12-5 over their final 17 games in May, with Jason Kipnis leading the way. Kipnis would be named American League Player of the Month in May, hitting .429 with 51 hits and 15 doubles, both of which are the most by any MLB player in a month since 2009. The Indians could not carry the success over to June, as they posted an 11-15 record. Looking for a spark, the Indians called up pitcher Cody Anderson, who allowed just one run in his first 16 innings. Anderson would post a record of 7-3, with an ERA of 3.05 in 15 starts. Despite Cody Anderson’s fantastic debut, the Indians continued to struggle after the All-Star break leading to several trades as the team got set to build for the future and open the door for young prospects to play over the season’s final two months. The youth movement was just what the doctor ordered for Cleveland, as the Indians finished strong, posting a record of 32-21 over their last 53 games to finish the season one game over .500 at 81-80. The Indians youth movement was Francisco Lindor, who hit .313 with 12 home runs and 51 RBI and was named Rookie of the Month in September.
2016: Coming off a disappointing season, the Cleveland Indians looked to get off to a strong start. However, through much of April, the Indians played mediocre baseball as their starting rotation dealt with injuries as Carlos Carrasco was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Corey Kluber, meanwhile, continued to have trouble winning games, dropping his first three starts as the Tribe posted a record of 10-11 in April. The Tribe began to turn things around in May, as they had a solid stretch where they won 12 of 17 games, to briefly move into first place as they won the battle of Ohio by winning all four games of a home and home series against the Cincinnati Reds. As June began, the Indians found their groove, winning six straight to start the month to take over first place in the American League Central Division. On June 17th, the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 on a walk-off home run by Carlos Santana in the ninth inning. With the win, the Tribe went first by a half-game and would remain in first place for the remainder of the season. The Indians would sweep the White Sox over the weekend, starting a franchise-best 14-game winning streak on the way to a perfect 11-0 record at Progressive Field in June. It was a great time to be a Cleveland fan as the Tribe’s winning streak came as the Cleveland Cavaliers were winning their first NBA Championship, ending the city’s 52-year championship drought. Among the stars of June was Danny Salazar, who went 5-0 with an ERA of 1.91 to earn American League Pitcher of the Month honors. Meanwhile, Tyler Naquin was named the A.L. Rookie of the Month after batting .338 with an AL-best 1.219 OPS. The Indians were unable to keep up the pace in July, as they posted a mediocre 12-12 mark. Despite their struggles, the Tribe still held a four-game lead as the month ended as they upgraded their bullpen at the trade deadline, landing Andrew Miller from the New York Yankees in a deal for prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield. Despite struggle on the road at the start of August, the Indians took advantage of an 11-game winning streak to extend the lead in the Central Division seven games on August 22nd. Looking for outfield depth, the Indians picked up Coco Crisp from the Oakland Athletics just before the roster deadline. The Indians started September strong and clinched the division on September 26th win a 7-4 road win against the Detroit Tigers as they finished the season with a record of 94-67. However, not all news was good heading into the postseason as the Tribe lost starting pitchers, Danny Salazar, to a strained elbow. Carlos Carrasco to a broken hand suffered on a comebacker to the mound. Fortunately, Corey Kluber, who struggled early, was back to his 2014 Cy Young form by the end of the season, finishing the year with a record of 18-9, with an ERA of 3.14 and 227 strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Indians’ offense was led by Mike Napoli, who had 34 home runs and 101 RBI, numbers nearly matched by Carlos Santana, who 34 homers and 87 RBI.
2016 ALDS: The Cleveland Indians were matched up against the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series, and considered by most experts to be an underdog. Trailing early 2-1, the Indians got home runs from Roberto Perez, Jason Kipnis, and Francisco Lindor in the third inning to take a 4-2 lead. The Indians went on to win the opening game 5-4 as they got strong relief from Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. In Game 2, the Indians got a nearly flawless start from Corey Kluber, who allowed three hits over seven innings with seven strikeouts. Meanwhile, Lonnie Chisenhall provided the offense with a three-run home run in the second inning as the Tribe won 6-0. Looking for the sweep as the series shifted to Fenway Park for Game 3, the Indians got an extra day off thanks to a rainout. Josh Tomlin pitched into the sixth inning, allowing just two runs as the Tribe grabbed a 4-2 lead with a pair of runs in the fourth and sixth innings, highlighted by a two-run blast off the bat of Coco Crisp. Once again, the Indians got stellar relief from Andrew Miller and Cody Allen to preserve as 4-3 win that allowed the Indians to advance to the ALCS.
2016 ALCS: The Cleveland Indians would move on to face the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS. In the opener, the Indians got a strong start from Corey Kluber, who spread out six hits over six and third innings. At the same time, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen again were flawless in the bullpen, highlighted by Miller striking out five of the six hitters he faced. Meanwhile, Francisco Lindor provided all the offense with a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Game 2 would also be low scoring as the Indians got a home run from Carlos Santana and an RBI double from Lindor to take a 2-1 lead in the third inning. It would go on to be the final score as Miller and Allen again closed the door. Once again, Andrew Miller fanned five batters of the six batters he faced. One key to winning in the postseason is shortening the game. With the outstanding relief effort of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, the Indians were successfully turning each game into seven-inning affairs. In Game 3, in Toronto, the Indians took a 4-2 lead thanks in part to a leadoff home run from Jason Kipnis. This was all the Tribe needed as Miller and Allen again closed the door combining to allow just one hit over the final three innings. Looking for the sweep in Game 4, the Indians got a rough outing from Corey Kluber and lost 5-1. The Indians’ pennant hopes would not be quelled as rookie Ryan Merritt in just his second career start allowed only two hits in four and third innings. Merritt was forced into starting duty after Trevor Bauer’s hand injury suffered while playing with a drone forced an early exit in Game 3 when the stitches opened, causing his hand to bleed on the mound. The Indians meanwhile got RBIs from Mike Napoli, Carlos Santana, and Coco Crisp to build a 3-0 lead. A lead that once in the hands of the bullpen would not change as Andrew Miller and Cody Allen again shut the door to send the Cleveland Indians to the World Series. Andrew Miller would go on to be named ALCS MVP, having completed seven and two thirds scoreless innings, while allowing three hits, no walks and striking out 14 to establish a new ALCS record for a reliever as he was credited with three holds and one save.
2016 World Series: In a matchup of the two teams that have gone the longest without winning the World Series, the Cleveland Indians seeking their first championship since 1948 met the Chicago Cubs who had not won the World Series since 1908. In the opener at Progressive Field, the Indians got a strong start from Corey Kluber, who allowed four hits over six innings while striking out nine as Roberto Perez hit a pair of home runs while driving in four runs to win the game 6-0. Things would not go as well in Game 2, as the Cubs evened the series with a 5-1 win. As the series shifted to Wrigley Field, the Cleveland Indians returned to the formula that enabled them to get to the Fall Classic as Andrew Miller and Cody Allen each struck out three Cubs in an inning and third action. Meanwhile, the Tribe scratched out a run on an RBI single from Coco Crisp to win the game 1-0. Andrew Miller’s postseason scoreless inning streak came to an end in Game 4, but it would not hurt the Tribe as they won the game 7-2, with Jason Kipnis providing the big blow with a three-run homer in the seventh inning. Looking for their first championship in 68 years, the Indians got an early lead thanks to a Jose Ramirez home run. However, Trevor Bauer struggled again, allowing three runs in the fourth as the Cubs won 3-2. Losing Game 5 meant the World Series would return to Cleveland, but the Cubs who were visibly tight early in the series finally exhaled and had a breakout performance winning 9-3 in Game 6 to send the series to a decisive seventh game. Once again, the Indians turned to Corey Kluber, who was seeking to win his third game of the series to bring home the championship. However, it was clear early that Kluber was out of gas as he allowed four runs in four innings. Andrew Miller also appeared to be running on fumes as he yielded a pair of runs to allow the Cubs to build 6-3 lead. After a long postseason and a long World Series, it was not just Indians pitching that was running out of gas. Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman appeared to have nothing as Rajai Davis tied the game with a three-run blast in the eighth inning that brought Progressive Field back to life. Neither team was able to score in the ninth inning as Game 7 needed extra innings to decide the World Championship. Before the tenth inning began, the tarp was rolled on to the field, as a passing showed caused a 17-minute rain delay. The delay was not a friend of the Indians as it allowed the Cubs to exhale once again, as they scored twice off Brian Shaw to take an 8-6 lead. The Tribe would not go down without a fight. After Carl Edwards Jr. retired the first two batters, Brandon Guyer worked out a walk and later took second on defensive indifference. Guyer would come around to score on an RBI single by Rajai Davis once again bring Progressive Field to its feet. Mike Montgomery would come in to face Michael Martinez, who held all of Cleveland’s last hopes in his bat. However, the magic would run out as Martinez bounced to third, allowing the Cubs to win the game 8-7 and celebrate their first championship in 108 years, while the Indians now were given the mantle of the team in MLB with the longest drought.
2017: Coming off their heartbreaking loss in the World Series, the Cleveland Indians looked to take the extra step as the added Edwin Encarnacion in the off-season. April saw the Tribe play winning baseball, as they started 14-10 and held a half-game lead. May would be a rough month for Cleveland as Corey Kluber missed most of the month dealing with a sore back, as the Indians suffered through a 13-14 record. Despite their struggles, the Tribe never felt more than a few games out of first place. Kluber returned on June 1st, pitching six innings in an 8-0 win over the Oakland Athletics at Progressive Field. June would be an excellent month for Corey Kluber, as he was named Pitcher of the Month, posting a 1.26 ERA, with four wins and 64 strikeouts. The Indians were well represented at the All-Star Game in Miami, with Kluber, Michael Brantley, Francisco Lindor, Andrew Miller, and Jose Ramirez on the American League team. The Indians continued to maintain first place through July and ended the month at 57-47. The Indians began to pull away from the rest of the Central Division in August, posting a 19-9 record, as Corey Kluber again was named Pitcher of the Month. When the month came to an end, the Tribe was on a seven-game winning streak after an impressive doubleheader sweep of the New York Yankees, that saw them extend their lead to seven games with a record of 76-56. Cleveland continued to roll in September, sweeping the Detroit Tigers to start the month as they had two doubleheader sweeps on the road in three days. As September continued, the Indians’ winning streak began to make headlines as it reached 20 games on September 12th, with Corey Kluber pitching a two-hitter as the Tribe blanked the Tigers 2-0. A day later, the Indians set the record for the longest winning streak in American League history, surpassing the 2002 Oakland Athletics, by beating the Tigers 5-3 as Jay Bruce, acquired late in the season from the New York Mets provided the offense with a three-run homer in the first inning. The streak reached 22 with a 3-2 walk-off win over the Kansas City Royals as Bruce again was the hero with a double in the tenth inning. The streak finally ended with a 4-3 loss to the Royals, ending at 22 games the longest streak in over a century. During the streak, the Indians had outscored their opponents 142–37, trailing after just eight of a possible 199 full innings. After the streak ended, the Indians won another five games in a row, clinching the Central Division title on September 17th. Corey Kluber would add another Pitcher of the Month award in September, as he locked up a second Cy Young Award, finishing the season with a record of 18-4 with a league-best ERA of 2.25 and 265 strikeouts. Carlos Carrasco also won 18 games, while Trevor Bauer won 17 games as Cleveland furnished the best pitching staff in the American League. Offensively Edwin Encarnacion led the way with 38 home runs and 107 RBI, while Francisco Lindor had 33 homer and 89 RBI, and Jose Ramirez had 29 home runs and 83 RBI. The Indians would finish the season with a record of 102-60, best in the American League.
2017 ALDS: In the Division Series, the Cleveland Indians faced the New York Yankees, who were the winner of the Wild Card Game. Despite his great September, Manager Terry Francona tabbed Trevor Bauer to start Game 1 at Progressive Field. The move paid off, as Bauer was brilliant as the Indians won 4-0, allowing just three hits, as Jay Bruce supplied the power with a home run. Kluber got the ball in game two, and struggled, allowing six runs in two and two-thirds innings. Trailing 8-3 in the sixth inning, the Indians staged a big rally as Francisco Lindor’s grand slam cut the deficit to one run. The Tribe tied the game on a homer by Bruce in the eighth and won 9-8 on a walk-off single by Yan Gomes, scoring Austin Jackson. The Indians would get a great start out of Carlos Carrasco in Game 3 in the Bronx but saw their bats laid silent by Masahiro Tanaka, as the Yankees won 1-0 to avoid the sweep. Trevor Bauer, pitching on short rest, struggled in Game 4, allowing four runs in the second inning as the Yankees won 7-3 to send the series back to Cleveland for a decisive fifth game. Corey Kluber got in Game 5 and struggled again, giving up two home runs to Didi Gregorius as the Yankees built a 3-0 lead. The Tribe got two runs back in the fifth but could get no closer as they failed to get a hit against Yankees relievers David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees would add two runs in the ninth and advanced to the ALCS with a 5-2 win.
2018: After another heartbreaking and disappointing postseason, the Cleveland Indians still were a clear favorite to return to win the A.L. Central and advance to the postseason. The rotation, which was a top-three rotation in baseball, remained the same, except they had a new leader as pitching coach Mickey Callaway moved on to manage the New York Mets. Tito Francona called upon an old friend in Carl Willis to lead this talented group of arms that would only get stronger by the end of the year. The team had lost a huge mainstay in the middle of their lineup as Carlos Santana left in free agency and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. The team signed Yonder Alonso to try to fill the hole left by Carlos Santana. The Indians started the season as the recent seasons of trading wins and losses throughout April and May while still maintaining the mediocre Central Division. Jose Ramirez continued to emerge and gave the Indians two All-Stars on the right side of the infield with Francisco Lindor continuing his rise as the face of the franchise. The rotation turned out to be even better than imagined as Mike Clevinger started to emerge as a reliable starter as he pitched deeper into games. Trevor Bauer had everything going with a 12-6 record and a 2.21 ERA that was among the best in the American League. Reigning Cy Young award winner in Corey Kluber won 20 games, and Carlos Carrasco won 17 games. The staff got even stronger with the promotion of Shane Bieber at the end of May as he posted a record of 11-5 after he was promoted from after he threw a rain-shortened no-hitter for AAA Columbus. There will still hole in the team that was lurking. With the loss of Bryan Shaw and the struggle of closer Cody Allen, the end of games became a minefield for the Tribe. Many times great games pitched by the staff were blown by the bullpen. It did not help that Andrew Miller started to feel the effects of the past postseasons and was injured for parts of the season. The Indians waited until the trade deadline to strike, and the reinforcements started to come in. First, there was the tough decision to part with their top prospect Francisco Meija to bring over relievers Brand Hand and Adam Cimber from the San Diego Padres. Both helped bolster the struggling bullpen, and the Indians began to take off. They also brought in Leonys Martin from the Detroit Tigers to fill their hole in centerfield. As the waiver deadline ended, Chris Antonetti struck again and traded for soon to be free agent Josh Donaldson to come in and add the thunder in the middle of the lineup the Indians needed. The team was peaking at the right time going into the playoffs, winning the Central Division with a record of 91-71.
Written by Nick Galeotafiore
2018 ALDS: The Cleveland Indians went into Division Series as a sizeable underdog as the reigning champion Houston Astros had a pitching staff to match Cleveland. A lineup that top to bottom was the toughest in baseball. The Indians did not match up well with Houston. Making matters worse, Jose Ramirez picked the worst time to go cold as he failed to get a hit in the series. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole completely shut down the Indians in the first two games, winning 7-2 and 3-1. By the time they returned to Cleveland, the series was all but over. Game 3 was ugly, as the Astros won 11-3 at Progressive Field to complete the sweep.
Written by Nick Galeotafiore
2019: The offseason was going to be important for the Cleveland Indians if they wanted to extend their championship window. With the departure of Michael Brantley, Josh Donaldson, and Melky Cabrera, the Indians needed to revamp the outfield completely. They could have used their excess of starting pitching to acquire a top outfielder but chose to hold on to their starters. The bullpen needed bolstering beyond closer Brad Hand. The Indians made two trades that changed the team, sending longtime catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals for prospect Daniel Johnson and Jefry Rodriguez. The more significant trade was a three-team deal in which the team traded away Edwin Encarnacion to the Seattle Mariners and Yandy Diaz to the Tampa Bay Rays. In return, they got back Carlos Santana and Jake Bauers. They then traded away Yonder Alonso as there was no need for him, with the return of Santana. The team went into the season, needing everything to break perfectly for the team to be successful. Things quickly went south as Corey Kluber struggled mightily before hitting the Injured List, making just seven starts. Mike Clevinger pitched great for two games and then hurt his back and was out for a few months. Carlos Carrasco was pulled from the start for fatigue, which later turned out to be Leukemia. Meanwhile. Jose Ramirez turned into a pumpkin and could not get a hit even when he hit the ball hard. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins were running away with the division and looked like the Wild Card was the only route the Tribe had to the playoffs. There were bright spots as the season drudged on: Francisco Lindor was at his old tricks again, with 32 home runs, Roberto Perez emerged as a top catcher with more at-bats, Oscar Mercado looked like the centerfielder of the future, and Shane Bieber became a star. The All-Star Game was at Progressive Field this year, and Francisco Lindor was ready to show the whole league what he has been building. Bieber ended up winning the MVP of the All-Star game after striking out the side in the fifth inning. The injuries to the rotation allowed for the next crop of pitching prospects to emerge. Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale were given their chances and pitched well. Danny Salazar made his first start in three years but went down again. The trade deadline was an essential time for the team. The offense was lackluster and needed some improvement. The rotation was getting crowded as Clevinger returned. Adam Plutko became a reliable starter. As previously mentioned, Plesac and Civale were throwing well, and then Bauer and Bieber leading the charge. The last week of July is one Indians fans will always remember as in what Bauer’s last start, as Bauer, he turned and chucked the ball over the centerfield fence in frustration. Days later, the Indians made a blockbuster three-team trade by sending Bauer to the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres, receiving a haul from both teams. The Indians landed Yaisel Puig, Franmil Reyes, as well as two solid minor league pitchers. After the trades, the Indians took off and erased a double-digit lead from the Twins and briefly held the lead in the A.L. Central. Jose Ramirez returned to his All-Star form, and the team started to look like the previous three years. Carlos Carrasco fought off Leukemia and pitched out of the bullpen later in the year. The moment of him coming out of the bullpen brought tears to eyes around the ballpark and at home. However, the Tribe ran out of steam, and the hole they dug themselves in turned out to be too big. They failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015, despite posting a solid record of 93-69.
Written by Nick Galeotafiore
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Page created on June 14, 2001. Last updated on May 22, 2020, at 12:55 pm ET.