With the Indians set to kick off their first ALDS postseason series since 2007 against the Red Sox tonight at Progressive Field, we felt it was the perfect time to look back at some of the best players in Indians history and ask you, the fans, to vote on the ultimate Indians lineup.
Here are the results from our 92.3 The Fan Facebook page, as voted by our followers:
1. Bob Feller, P (1936-1941 and 1945-1956)
Feller was a shoe-in at the pitcher position for Indians fans and won 89 percent of the fan vote. Feller is a veritable MLB legend who pitched 18 seasons for the Indians with a final win-loss record of 266-162.
He was an eight-time All Star and a strikeout artist, finishing his career with 2,581 strikeouts before hanging up his cleats. Feller was so good, Ted Williams was once quoted as saying that he was “the fastest and best pitcher I ever saw during my career.”
2. Sandy Alomar Jr., C (1990-2000)
Alomar Jr. was one of only two players to receive at 90 percent of the vote for his respective position and obviously it was well deserved. Alomar Jr. played for nine MLB teams but never made the All-Star game outside of his 10-year career with the Indians. He was an All-Star six times during his stretch with the Indians and was also named Rookie of the Year in his first year with the club in 1990.
3. Jim Thome, 1B (1991-2002 and 2011)
Thome received the highest percentage of votes out of everyone position with 92 percent. Thome was one of the best power hitters ever to play the game and belted 612 home runs in his big league career, good for seventh all time.
In three of his 13 seasons with the Indians, Thome hit over 40 home runs, including a career best 52 home runs in 2002.
Thome was a five-time All-Star as well and a beloved player both on and off the field during his Indians tenure.
4. Roberto Alomar, 2B (1999-2001)
Even though he only played three full seasons with the tribe, he made them count in the eyes of the fans. Roberto Alomar received 54 percent of the fan vote thanks to the monster seasons he put up with the Indians, which wound up being the best of his MLB career.
In both 1999 and 2001 Alomar had over 100 RBIs, over 20 home runs and over 30 stolen bases and received serious MVP consideration in both of those years, placing third in 1999 and fourth in 2001.
Also receiving a fair share of the vote from Indians fans were Nap Lajoie and Carlos Baerga, who received 22 and 20 percent of the vote, respectively.
5. Al Rosen, 3B (1947-1956)
Rosen’s MLB career was shorter than most on this list, but he spent the entirety of his 11 years in baseball with the Indians. Rosen’s role was limited for the first few years of his career with the club, but in 1950 he assumed the starting role at third base and didn’t look back.
That year he set a then-American League rookie record by belting 37 home runs. In 1953, Rosen outdid himself and in an MVP award-winning season he crushed 43 home runs and drove in 145 runs.
6. Omar Vizquel, SS (1994-2004)
Vizquel was another layup for Indians fans in our fan vote as he received 85 percent of the total votes for best shortstop in Indians history. Vizquel was virtually unmatched as a fielding shortstop during his time with the Indians and was awarded a Gold Glove award in each of his first eight seasons with the Indians.
Vizquel also was voted into the All-Star game three times as a member of the Cleveland Indians.
7. Albert Belle, LF (1989-1996)
It was a close vote in left field, but Belle pulled it out by garnering 47 percent of the vote. Belle had his share of issues from time to time, be it corked bats or run-ins with the local media, but he had some of the best seasons as a batter in Indians history.
In 1995 Belle became the first — and still is the only player — to ever hit 50 home runs and 50 doubles in one season. He also had 148 RBIs that season and won his third of five Silver Slugger awards.
8. Kenny Lofton, CF (1992-1996, 1998-2001 and 2007)
Lofton played for 11 different MLB teams during his 17-year MLB career, but will always be remembered most as a member of the Indians. Lofton was one of the most prolific base stealers in the game and stole more than 70 bases twice in his Indians career, making him one of the best leadoff hitters around.
Lofton ranks 15th on the all time stolen bases list with 622.
9. Rocky Colavito, RF (1955-1959 and 1965-1967)
While many fans wrote in Manny Ramirez as the best right fielder of all time, Colativo had two stints with the Indians, both of which were very successful. Colavito was a beloved figure on and off the field in Cleveland and his trade to the Detroit Tigers that ended his first run with the club was a wildly unpopular one — especially considering Colavito’s production on the field.
In his final two years with the Indians in the late ’50s, Colavito received serious MVP consideration after posting back-to-back 40-plus home run seasons and 110-plus RBIs in both those years as well.
When he returned, his production wasn’t quite as high as when he left, but he did make the All-Star game both years he spent with the Indians.