The Players: (Click on the player’s names to view their stats)

Sandy Alomar & Tony Pena:
Sandy Alomar arrived in Cleveland in 1990 when the Indians traded Joe Carter to the San Diego Padres. Alomar won the 1990 AL Rookie of the Year and was an a 6-time All-Star. However injuries derailed many of Alomar’s seasons, including 1995.

Tony Pena signed with the Indians in 1994, bringing postseason experience and veteran leadership. Before coming to Cleveland, Pena was a 5 time All-Star and a 4 time Gold Glove winner.

Paul Sorrento:
Sorrento came to the Indians in 1992, when the Minnesota Twins traded him to Cleveland. Sorrento was steady, if unspectacular, in the three years prior to 1995, he averaged 17 home runs.

Carlos Baerga:
Baerga came to Cleveland with Sandy Alomar in the Joe Carter Trade with San Diego in 1989. His debut for the Indians came in 1991. He made the All Star teams in 1992, 1993, and 1995; while also picking up the Silver Slugger award in 1993 and 1994.

Omar Vizquel:
Omar was traded by the Seattle Mariners in 1993 to the Cleveland Indians and the rest is history. Vizquel was already a Gold Glove shortstop before he came to the Indians, but it was with the Tribe that he established himself as one of the greatest defensive players ever. For his career, Vizquel won 11 total Gold Gloves and made 3 All-Star games. When he is eligible for the Hall of Fame, he will most certainly be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Jim Thome:
Thome was drafted by the Indians in the 13th round of the 1989 draft. 1995 was Thome’s first full season in the Major League; however he already had totaled 212 games in parts of 4 seasons. The 1995 season was the unofficial start to a career where he totaled 612 home runs. For his career Thome made 5 All-Star games and won a Silver Slugger. Thome is another player who will most likely be a first ballot Hall of Famer, when he becomes eligible.

Albert Belle:
Belle was drafted by the Indians in the 2nd round of the 1987 draft. By 1995, Belle was the best slugger in the game. He made every All-Star game from 1993 through 1997, and won 5 Silver Sluggers. In 1995, Belle became (and still remains) the only player ever to have 50 doubles and 50 home runs in a season. Unfortunately, Belle had a bad rap with the media, which may have cost him the 1995 MVP award, as he finished second to Boston’s Mo Vaughn. Between 1994 and 1996, Belle either finished second or third in the MVP voting.

Kenny Lofton:
Lofton was traded by the Houston Astros to the Indians for Willie Blair and Ed Taubensee. The rest is history. Kenny Lofton was the best lead off man of the 90s. He led the league in stolen bases 5 consecutive years, made 6 straight All-Star games from 1994 to 1999, and was a four time Gold Glove winner.

Manny Ramirez:
The Indians drafted Manny in the 1st round of the 1991 draft; his first full season would be in 1995. Before “Manny being Manny”, he was a Cleveland Indian and one of the best players in the game. He made 12 All-Star games including eleven in a row from 1998 to 2008, and has won 9 Silver Sluggers. For his career Manny hit 555 home runs and is considered one of the greatest right handed hitters in baseball history.

Eddie Murray:
Murray signed with the Indians in 1994 at the age of 38, having acquired the nickname “Steady Eddie” for consistent production throughout his career. Murray was signed to give the young offense a veteran presence. For his career, Murray played in 8 All-Star games, won the 1977 Rookie of the Year, and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 on the first ballot, with 85.3% of the vote.

Dennis Martinez:
The man they called “El Presidente” came to the Indians in 1994 to help give the Indians a legit number one starter. Martinez was one of the first veterans to come to Cleveland, in hopes of helping them to a Championship. Martinez played for 23 years and was elected to 5 All-Star games, including the 1995 Midsummer Classic.

Charles Nagy:
Charles Nagy was drafted by the Tribe in the 1988 draft and made his debut in 1990. Nagy would go on to pitch 13 seasons for the Indians. He made 3 All-Star teams, and finished in the top ten of the CY Young voting 3 times. From 1995 to 1999 Nagy won 15+ games every year.

Orel Hershiser:
Hershiser was another veteran brought in to stabilize the rotation. Hershiser had a career renaissance in his time with the Tribe, winning 45 games in his 3 years with the Indians. Hershiser was a three time All Star early in his career with the Dodgers, and won the CY Young award in 1988. Hershiser also holds the longest scoreless streak in MLB history. In 1988, he threw 59 consecutive scoreless innings.

Jose Mesa:
Mesa came to Cleveland in 1992 as a starting pitcher, but failed, so the Indians moved him to the bullpen. In 1995, Mesa became the Indians closer, and had arguably the greatest season by a closer ever. Mesa would finish second in the CY Young voting and fourth in the MVP voting. He made the All-Star team in both 1995 and 1996. However his Indians career ended in 1997 for reasons too personal to talk about.

Achievements:

The 1995 Cleveland Indians had a record of 100-44, they were the first team in the history of the American League ever to win 100 games in a season that had fewer than 154 games.  The Indians won the AL Central by a record 30.0 games.  The Sellout Streak of 455 straight games started in 1995.  The Indians offense scored 840 runs on the season, which ranked first in the AL, the offense also ranked first in hits, home runs, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, and total bases.  They scored 10+ runs in 20 games.  They had 5 players hit 20 home runs or more, and 7 players hit .300 or better.  The lineup was so deep that Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez hit in the 6th and 7th spot.  The pitching wasn’t too shabby either, they ranked first in wins, ERA, shutouts, saves, innings pitched, runs allowed, and walks.  Albert Belle finished second in the MVP voting and Jose Mesa finished second in the CY Young voting.  The Indians sent 6 players to the All-Star game, including 3 starters.  Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle, and Kenny Lofton started the game, while Dennis Martinez, Jose Mesa, and Manny Ramirez were reserves.  The Indians had two Silver Sluggers in Manny Ramirez and Albert Belle, and two Gold Glovers in Kenny Lofton and Omar Vizquel.  The list of achievement really goes on and on.  Bottom line is that even though the Indians didn’t win the World Series, the 1995 team is still considered one of the greatest teams ever.  The Lineup stacks up with any other, including the Murderer’s Row lineup.  The Cleveland Indians of the 1990s changed how baseball was played, they brought back the high socks, and started the mobbings at home plate.   They wrote the book on how a small market team can become a perennial powerhouse.  We may never see a team like the 1995 Indians, ever again, so cherish the fact that you were able to witness the greatest team ever…almost.

–Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)

Photo via cbslocal.com

 

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