The Cleveland Indians have been in establishment since 1901. Many Clevelanders and baseball fans have had the pleasure to watch some of the finest ball-players in Major League history dawn the Tribe uniform. Names like Bob Feller, Larry Doby, Kenny Lofton, and Jim Thome are just a select few. Now it’s time to countdown the best of the best starting with number 10…..
10. Albert Belle (1989-1996)
The most controversial Tribe to make the countdown by a landslide. Belle had his good and bad moments, whether it was on the diamond or off it. But without question, Albert Belle was the force behind those powerful Indians teams of the mid 90’s. Belle’s 1995 season is still talked about to this very day. The numbers were never seen before. Belle, at that time, became the first player in MLB history to have at least 50 homers and 50 doubles in a single-season and let’s not forget, the 1995 season was only 144 games.
Belle one was one of the most dangerous hitters when it was crunch time. Belle seemed to homer when the Tribe needed one the most. During that 1995 season, Belle hit some of the most dramatic walk-off homers in Indians history. He even hit back to back walk-off homers against the Blue Jays. Ask any fan who watched that team that year and ask them what was Belle’s signature moment. It came when he faced Lee Smith and launched a walk-off grand slam to comeback and stun the Angels. My uncle, who attended that game, told me “the roar of the crowd and everybody jumping, it felt like the stadium was shaking and the upper deck was about to collapse.”
Belle would play for the Tribe for seven wonderful years, but it came to an abrupt ending. As Belle would bolt to Chicago, from then on, his relationship with the fans would not be the same. As much as Belle’s departure was a punch in the gut to Indians fans, what he accomplished for the team in that span, was spectacular!
Key Stats: Set club homer mark for season (50, 1995). Four-time all-star (1993-96) averaged 39 HR and 119 RBI in last six years with club. Hit career-high .357 in ’94. Led AL in HRs (50) and doubles (52) in ’95.
Grand Slam of Lee Smith
Grand Slam in the ALDS
Homering off Greg Maddux in the World Series
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