Ghosts of Indians past; Indians All-Time team
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I recently read fellow TTFB writer Mark Moran’s article about his take on an All-Star team compiled of former Florida Marlins players. It made me think of the past Cleveland Indians players who left because of salary cap concerns. Cliff Lee and Jim Thome are just a few of those players. Over the past 15 years of Indians baseball, many talented ball players have put on the Indians uniform. During this time span, the Indians have appeared in seven postseasons, two World Series and yet have not won a single ring. With a limited salary cap per the owners’ request, General Managers John Hart, Mark Shapiro and now Chris Antonetti, have done a marvelous job keeping the Tribe in contention, while also building a quality team loaded with talent. Besides having those players on the field, the Indians have had quality managers including Mike Hargrove and Charlie Manuel. Now, let’s take a look at the gaudy roster of former stars.
The switch hitting catcher is now with the division rival Detroit Tigers and producing at a high level. Since leaving in 2007 for the Boston Red Sox, Martinez has consistently been productive in the middle of the lineup for a contending ball club.
Jim Thome, 1B
Thome recently hit his 600th home run, assuring himself a spot in Cooperstown. After leaving the Indians for more money with the Phillies and then the White Sox, Thome was hitting 40 home runs and driving in 100 RBIs regularly. A sure-fire Hall of Famer is surely missed by Cleveland fans who adored him.
Brandon Phillips, 2B
Although Phillips left because of arguments with then-manager Eric Wedge, he has been hard to replace up until this point with the arrival of Jason Kipnis. Phillips has played six seasons in Cincinnati and has been productive and reliable each time by bringing Cincy to the playoffs.
Omar Vizquel, SS
The sure-handed shortstop was a fan favorite in Cleveland when he abruptly left in 2005. He has gone on to win two more Gold Gloves and consistently hits near .300 for a contending ball club.
Matt Williams, 3B
A blast from the past, but man could he hit. Williams hit over 30 home runs and 100 RBIs for the Indians in 1997. Williams went on to Arizona to help them claim their first World Series title in 2001.
Manny Ramirez, LF
What isn’t there to say about Manny? This man did it all. Through all the drama of Manny being Manny, he consistently put the bat on the ball and carried an entire ball club on his back. He helped the Red Sox to their first World Series win since 1918. Although his career came to an abrupt and sad end this season, Manny is a Hall of Famer. Ramirez is also considered by many to be the best hitter of the past 15 years.
Kenny Lofton, CF
Another fan-favorite in Cleveland, Lofton was known for his speed, defense and clutch hitting. After leaving the Indians, Lofton went on the help the Braves, Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers to the postseason.
David Justice, RF
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