Honorable Mention: Omar Vizquel
I felt too bad leaving Omar off this list. Omar is considered possibly the greatest defensive infielder in MLB history. The plays I witnessed from him and Roberto Alomar inspired me try to imitate them at my baseball practices. He amassed nearly 2900 hits and hit .272 in a long MLB career. He received 3 All-Star bids and was awarded 11 Golden Glove Awards as a shortstop.
10. Kenny Lofton
Probably my favorite Cleveland Indian, so I obviously had to squeeze him on the list at #10. In my opinion the fastest man ever, Kenny is ranked 15th all-time in stolen bases and batted .300 for his career. He also scored 1528 runs throughout his career. He was awarded 4 golden gloves and 6 All-Star bids. He was also the king of small ball, considered by some the best bunter in league history.
9. Ricky Vaughn aka “Wild Thing”
Who says I can’t have a fictional player on my countdown. He had enough cultural influence on the Cleveland Indians fan base; I went ahead and put him on it. The Indians recruited him straight out of prison! Vaughn pitched fastballs upwards of 100 mph and was just dominant for 2 feature films after putting on glasses. Who would have thought that’s all it took?!
8. Shoeless Joe Jackson
We had Joe before he started cheating and ruined the integrity of America’s most beloved pastime. But damn he was a good baseball player. Jackson batted 0.374 career when playing for the Indians, batting .408 in 1911. His career was stopped in its prime after being involved in the Black Sox Scandal. He was probably innocent but oh well.
7. Earl Averill
Earl Averill played with the Tribe from 1929-1939. Averill has Indians’ franchise records in RBI’s, runs, triples, extra base hits, and total bases. He has a career batting average of .318. He is a Hall of Famer inductee with 6 All-Star appearances. The Indians retired his #3 jersey as well. The dude is an Indians legend.
6. Larry Doby
Doby started with the Indians in 1947 and played with them until he left for the White Sox in 1956. He was a 7x All-Star with a career batting average at 0.283. He led the AL in home runs in 1952 and 1954. He is a World Series and Negro League champion. Nobody remembers the 2nd player to break the MLB color barrier, but that man was Larry Doby.
5. Lou Boudreau
Boudreau was with the Indians from 1938-1950. He was an 8x All-Star and an AL/World Series MVP during that stint. He has a career batting average of .295 and was the AL batting champion in 1944. He’s a 9th ballot hall of famer and his #5 is retired by the Indians. Yeah he’s boring… but he deserves to be on the list.
4. Jim Thome
I might have ranked him too high, but who cares because this is my list and I liked Jim Thome. He has the most home runs in Indians franchise and won the Silver Slugger in 96’. He was a five time All-Star and an AL Comeback Player of the Year Award winner. He was rated 6th best DH of all-time by Fox Sports and will no doubt be in the Hall of Fame one day.
3. Nap Lajoie
Lajoie was in Cleveland from 1902-1914. He is a part of the 3000 hit club, hitting on to base 3252 times in his career. He is one of 17 baseball players to achieve the Batting Triple Crown (leading the MLB in batting average, home runs, and RBI). He’s a five time AL batting champion. This legend was suspended at one point for spitting tobacco juice into an umpire’s eye. Lajoie was an 83% 2nd ballot Hall of Famer.
2. Tris Speaker
Speaker played for the Cleveland Naps from 1916-1926. He had 3,515 career hits (5th all-time), batting an outrageous .345 over 21 seasons. He was actually a player-manager just like Jackie Moon. That was a Semi-Pro reference. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame as an 82% first ballot.
1. Bob Feller
What do I need to say about the Heater from Van Meter. Bob Feller dominated the majors, starting at age 17, from 1936-1941, left to go serve in the military, and then returned from 1945-1956 to continue right where he left off. He pitched until he was 38 years old. 38. He retired 266-162 with an era of 3.25. He amassed 2,581 strikeouts and was elected to the All-Star team eight times. He’s also one out 38 pitchers to have ever achieved the Pitching Triple Crown (leading the MLB in wins, strikeouts, and ERA. He was a 94% first ballot Hall of Famer with 3 career no hitters. Need I say more?