One of the greatest Indians right fielders ever, Bruce Campbell (not to be confused with Soup Campbell, who played for the Indians from 1940 through 1941) played just a short time with the Tribe at an extremely high level. After a decent start through the first five years of his career (including 16 home runs and 106 RBI in 1933), Campbell was traded from the St. Louis Browns to the Indians in exchange for Johnny Burnett and Bob Weiland at the end of the 1934 season.
In his first season in Cleveland, Campbell fought a bout of spinal meningitis, playing just 80 games, but batting an impressive .325. The following year he was even better, batting .372, but played even less, just 76 games after fighting a third bout with the disease. In the 1930's the disease was often fatal and in fact, was the cause of Addie Joss' untimely death. The fact that he beat the disease on three separate occasions is amazing enough, but the fact that he became a full time player in 1937 and was an impressive talent throughout the rest of his career was truly tremendous.
In the next three seasons, Campbell played in at least 130 games per year, knocked in at least 60 and scored at least 80 runs. While none of these teams were really competitive, they did have some great offenses and Campbell was a strong part of that, teaming up with Earl Averill and Jeff Heath to become of the greatest outfields in team history. The best of these years, offensively, was 1938 when Hal Trosky, Heath and Ken Keltner in his rookie year, each knocked in more than 100 while Campbell was one of the major recipients of that production, scoring 90 times.
Campbell played his final season with the Tribe in 1939 and was traded at the beginning of 1940 to the Tigers for Beau Bell. Bell played just two years for the Indians at a level far below they had learned to expect from Campbell. Campbell himself only played three more years and had one more great season in 1941 before retiring after the 1942 season with Washington. Despite his bouts with a very deadly disease in his 20's, Campbell lived a long life, dying at the age of 85 in 1995.
1961 All-Star, 2nd Place 1959 Rookie of the Year, Top 21 1960 MVP
Best Season (1974)
There have been three brother combinations to play for the Indians where one of the players ended up in the Hall of Fame; the Alomars, the Sewells and the Perrys. In these groups Roberto Alomar, Gaylord Perry and Joe Sewell get all the credit for being the superior brother, but even the halves of each pair that didn't make the Hall of Fame have all contributed greatly to Indians history. In this case, Jim Perry was actually the first to be born, make his Major League debut and win an American League Cy Young, all about three years before his brother, Gaylord.
Jim Perry went undrafted and signed as a free agent in 1958 with the Indians and made his MLB debut just a single year later at the age of 23. He burst on to the scene, posting a 2.65 ERA in 153 innings pitched. While this was incredible, he was beaten out for the Rookie of the Year by Bob Allison of the Washington Senators who hit 30 home runs and had made the All-Star team.
The following year, Perry became the staff ace and lead the league in wins (18) and shut outs (4). He again posted a solid ERA, this time a 3.62 and struck out 120 batters, more than he would in each of the next five years. He earned his ace role for another season and lead the team in starts again in 1961, but was no longer the top starter as Mudcat Grant was the only starter with an ERA under 4.00. Perry was significantly worse with a 4.72 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP in 223.2 innings. As often happens, he was recognized for his accomplishments the year before and was elected to the All-Star game despite his struggles.
After another down year in 1962, Perry was traded to the Twins at the beginning of 1963 in exchange for Jack Kralick, who ended up being a similar starter for the Tribe the next few years. With the Twins, Perry reemerged as a star, posting ERAs under four for the next eight seasons (including four seasons under three). In 1969, Perry took third in the Cy Young voting and won the award outright in 1970.
After a few more seasons of a less impressive nature, the Indians brought Perry back in a three way trade with the Tigers and Yankees in exchange for Rick Sawyer and Walt Williams in 1974. By this time, his brother Gaylord had already arrived in Cleveland and won the 1972 Cy Young. After more than a decade playing apart, the brothers were together for the first time and did something extremely special. The pair were the top two starters on the team and totaled 38 wins and 287 strike outs in 73 starts. Both Perry's held ERAs below 3.00, with Gaylord posting the better 2.51. Unfortunately, the Indians had no other decent starters and little offense, holding the brothers back during the best combined season of their careers.
Just two months into 1975, Perry was traded again, this time to Oakland in exchange for Blue Moon Odom (who only pitched 10 innings for the Indians before being traded to Atlanta). This would be Jim Perry's last season pitching in baseball as he was released and subsequently retired at the end of the 1975 season.
Despite a short time with the Indians, Jim Perry is still one of the greatest pitchers in team history and is one of just 29 players with at least 70 wins. Interestingly, his brother also finished with 70 wins and just one less inning in twenty less starts. The real difference between the two is obvious in the strike out totals (Gaylord: 773, Jim: 452) and overall efficiency (Gaylord: 2.71 ERA, Jim: 3.76). Despite the obvious comparisons to his younger brother, Jim deserves credit for his own accomplishments both as a member of the Indians and of the Twins.
Cory Snyder had a short career which was never acknowledged awards, but his accumulated time with the Cleveland Indians is rather impressive. He was originally the fourth overall pick in the 1984 draft by the Indians, the start of a long line of great draft picks that included Greg Swindell in 1986, Albert Belle in 1987 and Charles Nagy in 1988. Snyder was a big part of the reformation of the Indians in the 1980's, changing from the Andre Thornton and Rick Manning based late 70's teams to a more successful, defense based team.
After a short stint in the minors, Snyder joined the Tribe in June of 1986. Unlike most 23 year old rookies, Syder was thrust into the starting role, taking over the right field role from Joe Carter, who moved to first. Snyder then started all but three games for the rest of the season, putting a very impressive Rookie of the Year campaign together. Interestingly enough, it was actually the Indians great, Thornton that saw the biggest decrease in playing time with Pat Tabler moving from first to DH. Despite playing just 103 games that year, Snyder came in fourth for the award, ultimately losing to Jose Canseco, who hit 33 home runs and knocked in 117.
While the Indians were never truly competitive with Snyder on the roster, they did put together something pretty special in 1987 with one of the greatest outfields in team history. With Brett Butler in center and Mel Hall in left, the Indians had speed all around and one of the best arms in Indians history with Snyder in right. In his career, Snyder's 63 assists in 587 games in right gives him more assists per game than any Indian since 1920. Overall, he has to be considered not only among the greatest offensive right fielders in team history, but possibly the single greatest defensive player. In addition to his great arm, the trio combined for a .986 fielding percent while playing together.
In addition to his defense, Snyder set career highs in 1987 that he never would match again in home runs (33), RBI (82) and runs scored (74). His one big drawback that season was his 166 strike outs that lead to a .236 average. In 1988, he turned that around as well, still hitting 26 home runs, but dropping his strike out rate to just once every five at bats, successfully raising his average to .272.
Snyder played just two more seasons for the Tribe and did so at a much lower level than his first three years. His rate stats dropped as did his playing time, pushing him to a career low each season in home runs, RBI and runs scored. In the end, he had a short career in Cleveland, but still ranks 18th in club history with 115 home runs. In fact, he hit 100 home runs with the least amount of games played of any Indian in team history with the exception of Joe Gordon.
With just one year of team control remaining, Snyder was traded after the 1990 season to the White Sox for Shawn Hillegas and Eric King (two pitchers who played a total of 76 games for the Indians). Snyder didn't stay in Chicago long as he was traded again to the Blue Jays before the season was through. With quickly deteriorating skills, he played just two more years before playing his final Major League game in 1994. Although he attempted comebacks with the Padres and Red Sox in 1995, he never made it back to the Majors. In 2011, Snyder joined the Mariners minor league coaching staff and remains a hitting coach in their system, currently at the AAA level.
This is the most subjective top ten list ever for Burning River Baseball and it is certainly something that people are passionate about. The Indians have had quite a few memorable announcers including former player favorites (like Bob Feller  and Rocky Colavito ), professional speakers (Mel Allen ) and some guys that just grow on you (Matt Underwood ). None of those announcers are in the Indians top ten.
It's really impossible to say who the best are as it is up to personal opinion and most of the candidates retired long before the oldest available recordings. There are no statistics for announcers, but amount of time spent with the team and awards won will be largely considered in the rankings. There may be a slight emphasis on more modern announcers because of familiarity, but also remember that these men called many more games per season and were under much more scrutiny as their broadcasts reached many more people than ever before.
10. Nev Chandler: Radio 1980-1984
Chandler only called five seasons in the 80's for the Tribe, but won the award for Ohio Sportscaster of the Year in each of those seasons. Of course, he also had the advantage of being the Sports Director for WWWE. He was the radio partner of Herb Score during that time and was celebrated as a very enthusiastic, fan favorite announcer. He left the Indians in 1985 to become the full time Browns announcer, a job he is more remembered for.
9. Ken Coleman: TV 1954-1963
Coleman is most famous as a Red Sox announcer, for which he has been inducted into their team Hall of Fame, but he got his start in Cleveland. Initially, he just called Browns games, but he quickly caught on with the Tribe and called the final Indians World Series appearance from 1954 to 1995 on television. After ten years with the team, Coleman went on to become a beloved announcer for both the Red Sox and Reds.
8. Jack Corrigan: TV 1983,1985-2001
During the 1980's Corrigan was the voice of Cleveland sports on television. In addition to calling Indians games on WUAB, he called a majority of Cavaliers games as well. Like many on the list, Corrigan is from North East Ohio and is a professional broadcaster, getting a degree from Kent State. His 18 years on TV for the Tribe is second most to just Rick Manning. Unlike most of the recent announcers on the list, Corrigan continued calling games after he left Cleveland and is now a radio announcer for the Rockies.
7. Bob Neal: TV 1949,1952-53,1961-63, Radio 1932-44,1947-53
Neal was another multi-sport announcer, as he called Browns games in the 1940's and 1950's while also calling games for the Indians. Neal was another professional, using a very affected voice, which can be heard here. Neal called twenty seasons on and off between TV and radio more combined years than all but four other Indians announcers.
6. Mike Hegan: Radio 1998-2011, TV 1989-2006
Mike Hegan was the son of Indians legend Jim Hegan and the fourth longest tenured announcer in Indians history, calling 23 seasons between the TV and radio. He is most remembered as the broadcast partner of Tom Hamilton, as the two worked together from 1998 through 2011. There he was a great complement to Hamilton, who did the play-by-play.
5. Rick Manning: TV 1990-Active
Telling players where to put their sunglasses for the last 24 years (on their face, not on their hats), Manning has called more seasons as a TV analyst than any other announcer in Indians history by more than six years. Likely the greatest player on this list, Manning is also a stellar color man on the broadcast. Unlike many "professional" announcers, Manning brings his calls to the people, using his natural voice and keeping a very down to Earth style. A talented man all around, Manning was not only a player and announcer, but has also been used as a base running coach by the Indians.
4. Herb Score: Radio 1964-67, TV 1968-97
Score was the Indians longest tenured announcer and even though he went a little wacky at the end, he should be remembered for his great years like this call in 1981:
Score quickly made the transition from superstar pitcher to announcer, then quickly progressed from TV to radio, where being a great announcer is so much more important (each of the top four announcers were radio broadcasters). Score called games along the greats, like Neal, Chandler and Tait and stuck around longer than all of them. While he never got to the World Series as a player, he did get to call two for the Indians, in 1995 and before retiring in 1997.
3. Jack Graney: Radio 1932-44, 1947-53
Graney was the Indians first official radio announcer in 1932 and was the longest tenured (at 20 years) until Score surpassed him in the 1990's. In addition, Graney was the first player that became a broadcaster after a successful career with the Indians as outfielder and lead-off hitter. He was beloved by those who listened to games in the forties and considered one of the greatest radio announcers of all time. He was the first announcer elected to the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Cleveland Press Hall of Fame in 2010.
2. Jimmy Dudley: Radio 1948-1967
In an age when former players were taking over the airwaves, Dudley was a professionally trained radio man and a great one. Dudley had the advantage of calling games for the Tribe during the most exciting time in Indians history, from 1948 through 1955. His 19 seasons as the Indians primary radio announcer are the seventh most in franchise history and he had more than a long tenure. In 1997, Dudley was given the Ford C. Frick award, inducting him into the broadcasting wing of the baseball Hall of Fame. He is the only full time Indians announcer to receive this honor. He is also one of just two announcers in the Indians Hall of Fame and the only one that was never a player. He won the Ohio Sportscaster of the Year award in both 1959 (it's inaugural season) and 1967.
1. Tom Hamilton: Radio 1990-Active
There is little question of who is the current greatest Indians broadcaster and most likely the greatest in Indians history. Unlike many of the announcers on this list, Hamilton was never a player and is a very professional broadcaster. Bringing something extra because he is on radio, Hamilton can make any play exciting, no matter what team it benefits. He is universally recognized as a fantastic radio personality and has won more Ohio Sportscaster of the Year Awards (6, including the one for 2013) than any other Indians announcer, impressive as his career has run alongside Marty Brennaman of Cincinnati who has won 15 over his career. If ever there was a reason to mute the TV and put on the radio, it was Tom Hamilton.
Borderline: John Sanders (1990-2006), Harry Jones (1961-1977), Joe Tait (1973-1987), Matt Underwood (2000-present), Tom Manning (1929-31, 1956)
Stan Williams was already a seven year veteran when he came to Cleveland in 1965 after being purchased from the Yankees. To that point he had been an above average starter with the Yankees and Dodgers, but those days were over when he joined the Tribe. After just 4.1 innings and a 6.23 ERA in 1965, Williams spent all of 1966 in AAA in the Pacific Coast League with the Dodgers affiliate the Spokane Indians. He stayed in the minors in 1967 until July, when he finally rejoined the big league squad.
Despite only playing half a season, he still racked up 79 innings between starting and relieving while holding a 2.69 ERA. It was his largest percentage of playing time as a reliever since 1958 with the Dodgers. In 1968, Williams had a resurgence posting a 2.50 ERA in 194.1 innings. That season, he was mostly a starter, but also relieved in 20 games including a career high nine saves. Despite his greatness as a starter, his future was switching from the beginning to the end.
In 1969, Williams took over as closer for Vincente Romo and finished out 23 games. In addition to his 12 saves, he started 15 games, pitching 178.1 innings in total. His ERA jumped some to 3.94, but was about to see another improvement as over the rest of his career he would only start two more games after starting 206 over his first 11 years. He would not make those relief appearances for the Indians however, as he was traded during that off-season to the Minnesota Twins along with Luis Tiant in exchange for Graig Nettles, Dean Chance, Bob Miller and Ted Uhlaender.
Williams and Tiant had both been with the Indians for awhile and been successful, but that was nothing compared to what Tiant had in store for the future. The names coming to the Indians were huge as well, but didn't help the Indians as much as it would seem. Dean Chance was a Cy Young winner earlier in his career, but was pretty much used up by the time he came to Cleveland. Miller also played just a single year of his 17 year career with the Tribe. Future All-Star and Gold Glover Nettles was the steal of the trade, but only played three years with the Indians before being sent to super-stardom in New York in exchange for a bunch of nothing. Finally, Uhlaender was the worst player of the group and ended up playing just two years with Cleveland of little success before retiring with the Reds after 1972. In the end, this trade was bad at the start and even worse in the end as the Indians wasted the one great player they received.
Williams didn't stick with the Twins very long, but he did cement his legacy as a top reliever with 15 saves and 10 wins alongside a 1.99 ERA in 1970. He quickly flamed out after that and finished his career just two years later with Boston. In 1974, he attempted a comeback, but never made it past AA Bristol. He wasn't done with the Red Sox however, as just a year later he was named their pitching coach. On and off, he was the pitching coach for different teams all the way through 1999 with the Mariners. After this, he became a scout for the Tampa Bay Rays until 2006, then later became a scout for the Washington Nationals, where he remains to this day.
Jimmy McAleer was an Ohio guy, all the way. He was born in Youngstown, died in Youngstown and played all but four games of his 1,021 games for Cleveland baseball teams including the first year of the Cleveland Spiders, the only year of the Cleveland Infants and the first year of the American League Cleveland Blues.
McAleer made his debut in 1889 with the Spiders at the age of 24 and was immediately an integral part of the Spiders lineup. The team had just moved into the National League and already had a pretty potent pitching staff and was beginning to assemble an offensive core to match it. After just one season with the Spiders, McAleer joined the short lived Infants of the Players League. In 1891, he came back to the Spiders, rejoining players like Ed McKean and George Davis who never left. The Spiders offense was far advanced from a few seasons earlier as the young players matured and McAleer himself had his best season to date. That year he became an elite base stealer, nabbing 51 bases.
The following season was something special for the Spiders. A young starter named Cy Young lead the way with one of the greatest seasons in Cleveland history while McKean and Hall of Famer Buck Ewing lead the offense. For his own effort, McAleer set career highs in RBI (70) and doubles (26) as the Spiders went to their first and only championship series. In the series they were swept 5-0-1 and McAleer went just 4 for 22.
The rest of his career with the Spiders, McAleer kept accumulating and ended up building up some pretty gaudy numbers. Only two players played more games in Cleveland (McKean and Patsy Tebeau) prior to 1901 and McAleer's numbers show that. He ranks second all time ins teals and in the top five in walks, hits and runs. Even his 11 home runs rank in the top ten as do his RBI, doubles and triples.
When the Robison brothers sold the greatest Spiders players to their other team, the St. Louis Perfectos in 1898, McAleer left baseball rather than be part of the travesty, but he came back in 1900 to play for the minor league Cleveland Lake Shores, the American League team that would eventually become the Indians. When the Blues made the jump to the big leagues in 1901, McAleer stayed on and became the team's first manager at the age of 36. He was called a player/manager, but his playing career had all but ended and he made his way into just three games that season.
In 1902 he left Cleveland for the first time, joining the St. Louis Browns as their manager. He spent the next eight seasons there, before ending his career with two seasons with the Washington Senators. While there have been many superior players in the history of Cleveland baseball, McAleer should be remembered by all Indians fans as not only one of the greatest Spiders hitters of all time, but as the first manager of the Indians franchise and the only player to have played for the Spiders, Lake Shores and Blues.
Every Indians fan knows Larry Doby and most baseball fans are aware of Satchel Paige, but far fewer know about Luke Easter, the third player to make the jump from the Negro Leagues to the Cleveland Indians, just two years after Doby broke the American League color barrier. Like most NLB players, Easter made his MLB debut late in his career and had just a short time with the Indians, but he should not be shortchanged because of racism in the 1940's and earlier.
Easter started with the Homestead Grays in 1947 at 31 and actually used the Negro Leagues as a kind of minor leagues in preparation for becoming a Major League star. After seeing the success of Doby and Paige first hand, the Indians took advantage of the other teams moving slowly in grabbing the NLB stars and prior to the 1949 season, they signed Easter. He made his debut later that year and played sparingly in right field behind starter Bobby Kennedy. It was the following season where he made it big, however.
In 1950, the Indians needed a first baseman and Easter made the switch from right to first. In his new position, he excelled, becoming a top offensive producer, joining Al Rosen and Doby in knocking in more than 100 runs that season. In what was essentially his rookie season, he came in second in RBI and home runs on the Indians.
From 1951 through 1952, Easter continued his prime, despite the fact that he was well into his 30's. Each year from 1950 through 1952 Easter knocked in about 100 runs, hit 30 home runs and batted better than .270. The Indians hadn't had a solid first baseman since the late 1930's and Hal Trosky, but finally Easter had taken over that mantle. Despite just three seasons starting at first, Easter trails just two Indians in home runs (Trosky and Jim Thome) at the position and is unquestionably one of the best first basemen in Tribe history.
In 1952, Easter finally got some recognition for his three straight excellent seasons and received 40 vote points for MVP that year, which would have been much more impressive if the Indians didn't have seven other players receiving votes that year, including five getting more votes than Easter. Things flamed out as quickly as they ignited and Easter played just 68 games in 1953 and then just six the following season. The Indians were returning to the World Series again, with Rosen and Doby leading the way this time, but Easter wouldn't be making the trip. He played in his final game that season on just May 4th and never returned to the Majors again.
Despite being out of the Majors at 38, Easter wasn't done playing baseball. First, he played for the independent San Diego Padres, the team Easter made his MiLB debut with in 1949 when they were affiliated with the Indians. He continued playing, generally in the International League (AAA) until 1964 when he finally retired for good. Luke Easter died just 15 years later at the age of 63.
There is always a guy before the guy and for the Indians and Bob Feller, that guy was Johnny Allen. Allen originally came up with New York and in a case that would be reversed in the future, the Yankees were a farm system for the Indians. Allen came to Cleveland in exchange for Monte Pearson and Steve Sundra and immediately became the Tribe's ace in 1936.
That season, Allen showed his uncanny ability to win games without amazing stuff or an incredible team behind him. The Indians in 1936 were barely above a .500 team and yet, Allen won twenty and lost just ten of his 36 games. This was a time of transition for Cleveland as they were past the great pitching teams of the 1920's and were reloading for another run at the World Series. Behind Allen in the rotation were Mel Harder, Oral Hildebrand, Lloyd Brown and George Blaeholder with a young starter making his debut named Bob Feller.
In addition to leading the team in wins, Allen also lead the team in ERA with a 3.44. In the following season, he turned it up a notch. Allen dropped the ERA to a career low 2.55 and set a Major League record for winning percent (.938) by winning 15 games to just one loss. This record has since been surpassed by Roy Face, who went 18-1 in 1959, but it remains an Indians record (Cliff Lee is second with a 22-3 record from 2008). For his efforts, he was awarded the Sporting News MLB Player of the Year Award, despite the fact the Indians finished in fourth place. Even with Allen's poor later seasons, he still remains third all time in career winning percent as well.
Feller took over as ace in 1938, breaking a record for most strike outs in a single season and pushing Allen out of that role all the way back to the third most used starter, behind Harder as well. Even though it was Allen's worst season as an Indian, the team was actually better off as the rest of the rotation had been improved. Those three starters combined for 43 wins and the Indians moved into third place in the American League.
Allen was further overshadowed by Feller in the next two seasons, both because Feller was quickly becoming the greatest pitcher in Indians history and because Allen was only a shadow of his former self. Far from his first two seasons when he went 35-11, he finished his Indians career going 18-15. With Feller, Al Smith, Jim Bagby, Jr. and Al Milnar set to go in 1941, Allen was no longer needed in Cleveland and he was sold to the St. Louis Browns for $20,000. He played just a partial season with the Browns before being released and never really regained his prime, although he did have a decent season in 1942 with the Dodgers. After a short 1944 season and an attempted comeback with Philadelphia in 1945, Allen retired from baseball for good. He died less than ten years later in Florida in 1954.
2000 All-Star, 2000 Gold Glove, Top 20 MVP (1998,2000)
Best Season (2000)
Post Season Career
In the year 2000, Travis Fryman helped the Indians do something they never had accomplished before and something that had not been done in the American League since Bobby Grich, Brooks Robinson and Mark Belanger did it from 1973 through 1975. Along with Omar Vizquel and Roberto Alomar, the Indians won the Gold Glove for second, short stop and third base. This is especially impressive as each of these players are the only one in franchise history to win a Gold Glove at their position.
Fryman played the first half of his career for the Tigers, from 1990 through 1997, after being drafted by Detroit in the first round of 1987. This was terrible timing, as the Tigers were entering into more than a decade of futility and despite four All-Star appearances and a Silver Slugger, he never came close to the play-offs and never would as long as he stayed in Detroit.
In the off-season between 1997 and 1998, two new franchises were created, the Diamondbacks and Devil Rays and the Tigers shipped Fryman off to Phoenix in exchange for Gabe Alvarez and Joe Randa. The D-Backs then immediately flipped Fryman to the Indians less than a month later in exchange for power hitting third baseman, Matt Williams. Interestingly enough, both players were veterans joining their last team, and both players would make the play-offs multiple times in the next few years.
In his first season, 1998, Fryman had a career year. At 29 years old, he hit a career high 28 home runs and batted .287, earning him two MVP vote points (four other Indians received votes that year as well). After playing on very poor teams his entire career, Fryman was finally in the perfect position where he didn't need to be a run producer, protected in the lineup by Manny Ramirez, David Justice and Jim Thome. While his numbers were impressive, they didn't really stand out on a team that saw Ramirez hit 45 home runs and knock in 145. In his first play-off appearance, Fryman looked like someone who hadn't been there before. He went just 6/36 against Boston and New York before the Indians ultimately lost in the ALCS against the Yankees.
The following season, Fryman missed half the year due to injury, but still hit 10 home runs and had the best play-off series of his career that included four RBI and a .267 average against the Red Sox. Everything to this point had just been leading up to his peak, an amazing 2000 season. In addition to the already mentioned Gold Glove, Fryman set career highs in RBI (106) and average (.321). This time, he was an offensive leader, coming in second on the team in both these stats, but it wasn't quite enough as the Indians missed the play-offs for the first time since 1993.
Fryman's peak came and went very quickly. After his tremendous 2000, he missed much of 2001, hitting just three home runs while batting just .263. The Indians made the play-offs that year, but Fryman's contribution was more like 1998 than 1999. The next season was his final one, but wasn't much better than 2001. He batted just .217 through 118 games, although he did hit 11 home runs, bumping his career total to 223.
Despite just four seasons with the Tribe, Fryman is easily one of the top ten Indians third basemen in franchise history with 343 RBI and a .779 career OPS in Cleveland, despite his poor two final seasons being with the team. After retiring in 2002, Fryman spent a few years away from baseball before coming back to Cleveland. In 2008, he joined the Indians as a special infield instructor before becoming the manager for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. Currently, he remains with the team in a different role. Fryman is now the hitting instructor for the entire Indians minor league system.
In 1949, the Cleveland Indians signed a 20 year old starting pitcher with giant ears named Don Mossi as an amateur free agent. Just five years later, with a change of role to relief pitcher and the Indians had a superstar reliever, just when the needed him. In 1954, the Indians went to the World Series on the strength of a good offense (featuring Larry Doby and Al Rosen), a Hall of Fame rotation (inlcuding Early Wynn and Bob Lemon) and one of the best bullpens in team history. In his rookie year, Mossi was the star of that bullpen, leading all relievers in ERA, innings pitched, BAA and WHIP. As the primary set-up man, Mossi pitching into or after the eighth in 26 of his 35 relief appearances including a stint as the closer in August.
In the World Series (that saw the Indians get embarassingly swept by the Giants), Mossi was excellent, throwing four innings in three games without allowing a single run and just three hits. While the Indians didn't fare well against the Say Hey Kid, Don Mossi had cemented his legacy in just one year.
The following season, 1955, Mossi continued his great start with an ERA of 2.42, a decrease in walks and increase in strike outs. These changes could have been caused by a decrease in use as starter to just one game as the Indians have found his strength. Mossi also picked up a couple more saves (9) that season and finished 27 games overall. His 57 appearances that year were the most ever in his career. Some combination of his great 1955 and his World Series appearance the year before helped Mossi earn an MVP vote as a set-up man, a very rare feat in baseball.
Things never got better for Mossi as he peaked incredibly early, dropping off slightly every year after 1954. In 1956, his ERA jumped to 3.59, but his veteran status earned him a few more opportunities and he set a career high with 11 saves. In 1957, with the struggles of Herb Score, Wynn and Lemon, the Indians couldn't afford to keep as great of an arm as Mossi's in the bullpen any longer. As a starter, Mossi found himself in his first and only All-Star game, where, ironically, he was used as a reliever and picked up a hold in the American League win. He finished the season with the worst ERA in his career to that point (4.13), but set career highs in innings pitched (159), strike outs (97) and wins (11).
After his below average entrance into the rotation, the Indians replaced him with the former closer, Ray Narleski and moved Mossi back into the bullpen. Despite the fact that Narleski was no longer keeping him out of the closers role, it was Hall of Fame closer, Hoyt Wilhelm, selected off waivers by the Indians the season before, who took the job. This would be Mossi's final season in Cleveland and he returned to form as a serviceable reliever, throwing 101.2 innings in 43 games.
At the end of the 1958 season, Mossi became the latest victim of the Indians extreme over haul as he was sent, along with his bullpen partner Narleski, to the Tigers in exchange for Al Cicotte and Billy Martin. This was one of many terrible trades in the late 1950's that also saw the departure of Score and fan favorite Rocky Colavito. After leaving Cleveland, Mossi pitched five seasons in Detroit, mostly as a starter. He threw two final years in Chicago and Kansas City as a reliever, before finally calling it quits in 1965. While he was a very good starter during his tenure in Detroit, nothing compare to his amazing rookie season when he became one of the greatest relievers in Indians history.