July 29, 2014

The Top Five Tribe Bullpens of the Last 20 Years

Bullpen-Mafia

Which, if any, late-inning units topped the Bullpen Mafia?

No portion of a Major League Baseball team’s roster experiences more in the way of volatility than a bullpen. One year you think you have it perfect, the next, the same guys look like they don’t belong in the same roles. Sometimes its injury; sometimes its just plain ineffectiveness. But year to year, the ultimate success rate of a bullpen is close to impossible to predict.

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Cleveland Sports Life Boat – Indians Closers

Closer Life Boat

I am a huge fan of the Ron and Fez show on Sirius XM Satellite radio. They do a bit on the radio called life boat, and I’m borrowing it for Cleveland sports. Here’s how it works. There are four people and only three seats remaining on the life boat. You must work your way through the list of candidates and, unfortunately, someone is designated to try their hand at long-distance swimming.

A couple rules.

1. You MUST pick three people to ride in the boat. “Let them all drown!” isn’t an interesting answer and frankly, you’re not funny. It’s been done, so skip it.

2. Don’t use an overly silly premise for your answer. Life boat is a silly enough premise where you aren’t going to “wow” anyone with your take that you should “keep the fatter guy because at least when we turn to cannibalism, we’ll have someone tasty to eat!”

So, the second Cleveland sports life boat is Indians closers. The candidates are:

Jose Mesa, Mike Jackson, Bob Wickman, and Chris Perez [Read more...]

MLB News: Lofton, Alomar Jr, Mesa and Franco make 2013 HOF ballot

In what is another sign of the Indians’ heyday of the mid-90s being a distant memory, several members of the teams to make it to the 1995 and 1997 World Series have been named to the latest release of the MLB Hall of Fame ballot.

As notated by The Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes, long-time Indians Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar Jr., Julio Franco and Jose Mesa could potentially be enshrined in Cooperstown, joining Roberto Alomar and Eddie Murray as players from the same era. All first-timers, these four Tribe greats are joined by Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio and Sammy Sosa among the ballot freshmen.

The left-handed Lofton finished his illustrious career having made six All-Star teams, earning the Gold Glove award four times and leading the league in stolen bases on five separate ocassions. Lofton wrapped up a 16-year career tallying 622 stolen bases and was, per Baseball-Reference, worth 65 wins.

Alomar, presently the bench coach for the Cleveland Indians, spent 11 years as a player with the Tribe, representing the team six times as an All-Star. He was Rookie of the Year in 1990 and garnered MVP consideration in 1997. In his 20 seasons at the big league level, Alomar recorded an OPS of .716 and was worth 11.5 wins.

The ageless Franco was arguably one of the best pure hitters to wear an Indians uniform, averaging .298 over the course of his 23-year career. Appearing in three All-Star games and winning the Silver Slugger award each of those three seasons, Franco obtained MVP consideration in 1988, 1991 (where he hit .341)  and 1994. Recording 2,589 hits despite several stints overseas, Franco was worth 39.7 wins.

Mesa, who may be the least popular member of this bunch, was in the league for 19 years, seven of which were with the Cleveland Indians. Saving 46 games in 1995, Mesa was second in Cy Young voting and fourth in MVP voting. He recorded 321 games over the course of his career.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will be announced on Jan. 9, 2013

[Related: Face Transplants, Rebuilds, and the Case for Trading Asdrubal Cabrera]

15 Years Ago: The Team Of (Almost) Destiny

Strap in folks, this is a long one……

I love Twitter for so many reasons. It’s my source for news, sports, comedy, etc. I am a Twitter junkie no doubt. I feel like I’ve read so many articles and stories that I would have had no clue existed if not for my timeline.

Then there are the stats or the pieces of history that you can be alerted to. Take two days ago for example. Our buddy from Indians.com Zack Meisel tweeted out that it was exactly 15 years ago Monday that Tony Fernandez hit a 10th inning, solo home run off of Baltimore reliever Armando Benitez in Game six of the 1997 American League Championship series, vaulting the Indians into the World Series for the second time in three years. [Read more...]

On ESPN, Bias and Cleveland Misery Montages

Last night as the Indians were battling the New York Yankees on the 4th of July, ESPN personality trotted out a little statement about Cleveland.  Predictably, the people of Cleveland on Twitter started attacking.  I actually don’t know who Dari Nowkhah is.  This isn’t to discredit him or somehow make him less of an authority on anything.  I am just being honest when I tell you I wasn’t following him and I didn’t know who he was.  That being said, rather than being one of the masses that foams at the mouth, I thought maybe I would try to educate an ESPN employee about how Cleveland feels and maybe why we feel that way. [Read more...]

100 Wins for the Tribe

100 wins. One-hundred wins. I repeat it so I don’t forget it. I swear, for a person who was born in 1979 and started watching baseball for real in 1986, one-hundred wins never seemed like a remote possibility in Cleveland. Just three years after I started watching professional baseball as a youngster, I learned a lesson about just how horrible my favorite team had been over the years when the movie Major League came out. And yet after not getting to 0.500 in 1993, when Sandy Alomar was 27 and Jim Thome was 22, and scoring a 66-47 record in the strike shortened 1994 season, the Indians won an even one-hundred games in 1995. I know this shouldn’t be too far from our memories, but it is important to make sure it stays top of mind as we go through another rebuilding project.

The 1995 Indians took me and most of my generation from being wannabe fans into being absolute bona fide fanatics. A lot of people put all the onus of being a fanatic on the people who buy the seats and watch the games on TV. Only in places like Cleveland where we endure historic streaks of incapability do we realize that being a fanatic is more of a partnership than that.

After years and years of watching our team falter and refuse to live up to expectations, everything finally came together. The Indians won the central division by 30 games that year over the second place Kansas City Royals. Our Cleveland Indians had 14 more wins than the Boston Red Sox who were second best in the entire American League. The stats the Indians put up were hardly to be believed. [Read more...]

I Can Take It, I’m From Cleveland

Yes, I am fine. (thanks for the “TD, step away from the ledge” email I got from you Denny, 2 minutes after the game. Nice touch). If you read my NCAA Tournament piece from Thursday, you know what I am talking about. See, I am a Kansas grad. Yeah, go ahead, pick me apart. Lets just get it out of the way.

My team was #1 in the country the majority of the year and failed to make it out of the opening weekend. It’s the first time that a #1 seed has had that happen to them since 2004. Many are calling Northern Iowa’s 69-67 win over my beloved Jayhawks the biggest upset in tournament history. Everyone’s national champ pick couldn’t even make it to the Sweet Sixteen. Let me have it. I can take it.

The worst part of it is that everyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about KU basketball and for the most part, I’m the only KU fan that many of my friends know, especially in Cleveland. So now I get to walk around town and everywhere I see people they can give me the obligatory “your team killed my bracket” routine. That should be fun. However, I will be fine. I’ll deal with it. It’s not like I didn’t grow up in Cleveland with losses so brutal they live on by specific names. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Jerome Harrison, NBA Salary Cap, Mark DeRosa with Giants

Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Merry Christmas everyone! WFNY will still be running today with everything to get you ready for the big Lakers/Cavs match-up at 5:00 pm tonight. Hope you are having a wonderful holiday and stick around the site to leave your thoughts on all the action. As always, While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

It’s a shamockery that record-setting RB Jerome Harrison was not player of the week in the AFC: “On Wednesday, the NFL announced the AFC Offensive Player of the Week was Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In Pittsburgh’s 37-36 last-second win over Green Bay on Sunday, Roethlisberger became the 10th quarterback since 1950 to throw for 500 yards or more. He finished 26-for-46 passing for 503 yards and three touchdowns.” [Don Delco/NoLogoNeeded.com]
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Tribe and the Trade Deadline – A History of the Jacobs Field Era – 1994-1999

July 31st is right around the corner and that signals one thing – the MLB trade deadline. In the day and age of parity, there are usually a lot more buyers than sellers. This year is no exception. Remember the days when the Indians were on the other end of the spectrum? Let us look back at some of the memorable and not so memorable moves made by GM’s John Hart and Mark Shapiro during the Jacobs Field era. This is part one in a three part series.

russell-cardJuly 1st, 1994 – Indians acquire RHP Jeff Russell from Boston for RHP’s Chris Nabholz and Steve Farr – The first big trade deadline acquisition came actually came a month before ’94 date when the Indians, looking for a closer, snagged the former Rangers closer from the Red Sox. Russell, then 32,  saved five games and had a spotty 4.97 ERA before the strike ended the season with the Indians and White Sox just one game apart for the AL Central lead. My one memory of the Jeff Russell era was watching him blow a save by being taken deep by the light-hitting Texas SS Manny Lee, who had just one homer entering the game.

Nabholz, a left-handed who was the fifth starter for a stretch in ’94, was certainly not missed. He went 3-4 with a 6.64 ERA in eight starts in Boston and played just one more year in the majors, 1995 with the Cubs. Farr, a longtime veteran reliever who actually began his career in Cleveland, finished out the year in Boston with a 6.23 ERA in 11 appearances and never saw a major league mound again. [Read more...]

Congratulations, Omar

Omar VizquelWe’re a bit late on this one, but I didn’t want to write much about it over the weekend.  But if you were anywhere near a TV or computer over the last 48 hours, you’re likely aware that Omar Vizquel is now the all-time leader for games played at shortstop – with 2,584 games under his belt.

Now 41-years young, Vizquel has returned to the field after missing a large chunk of the season while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, thus allowing him to break the record.  Good news is, for Omar fans, that retirement plans are yet to be decided.  But even if the veteran were to hang them up tomorrow, there would be many of fans lauding his career.

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