The Cleveland Indians lineup is one of the more interesting ones throughout this entire All Time Lineups/ Roster series. For once, they’re a team that doesn’t have any superstar players that jump out. Tris Speaker and Jim Thome are by far the biggest names though not exactly recognizable by the average fan. Bob Feller is another big name in pitching history though he surely doesn’t stack up to the likes of some of the elite pitchers in MLB history. The rest of the lineup features great hitters though none of them will particularly stand out significantly above the rest.
1. Tris Speaker, CF (L)
2. Nap Lajoie, 2B (R)
3. Jim Thome, DH (L)
4. Manny Ramirez, RF (R)
5. Albert Belle, LF (R)
6. Al Rosen, 1B (R)
7. Carlos Santana, C (S)
8. Lou Boudrea, SS (R)
9. Bill Bradley, 3B (R)
Bob Feller, P (R)
Manager: Lou Boudrea
2010-17, 19: 662 Runs, 203 HR, 665 RBI, 44 SB, .253 BA/.370 OBP/.456 SLG
While Carlos Santana does primarily play first base and designated hitter nowadays, the slugger did debut as a catcher and that’s exactly where Cleveland needs him. The switch hitter makes for a great bat in the #7 spot and divides up the lengthy group of righties perfectly at the bottom of the lineup. While not the best hitting catcher, Santana does draw a surprisingly high number of walks and has generally had good plate discipline over his career. The home run numbers are great for the hard hitting switch hitter and there’s great appeal to his ability to do a bit of everything. The only thing to be concerned about is the defensive ability for Santana as it ultimately prompted the switch away from that position.
Honorable Mentions: Steve O’Neill
1947-56: 603 Runs, 192 HR, 717 RBI, 39 SB, .285 BA/.384 OBP/.495 SLG
Al Rosen played only 10 years in the league but those were a memorable 10 years. He won MVP honors in 1953, took home a World Series ring, led the league twice in both home runs and RBI, and was selected to 4 All Star games. He was one of their best RBI machines and a valuable part of the 1948 World Series team. Rosen was a great bat in the middle of Cleveland’s lineups and will fill a similar role here. In his prime, you could expect a great hitting season from Rosen with excellent power numbers.
Honorable Mentions: Hal Trosky, Travis Hafner
1902-14: 865 Runs, 33 HR, 919 RBI, 240 SB, .339 BA/.389 OBP/.452 SLG
While you won’t find any awards next to his name besides a lone Triple Crown achievement during his time with Philadelphia, Nap Lajoie was one of the best players you’ve never heard of. A great on base getter, Lajoie was one of the best at making contact and producing runs his entire career. He’d also draw a bunch of walks and actually led the league in RBIs three separate times in his 21 years in the MLB. His base stealing ability and defense defense also makes him very value to this Indians team as an ideal five tool player.
Honorable Mentions: Jose Ramirez, Bobby Avila
1938-50: 823 Runs, 63 HR, 740 RBI, 50 SB, .296 BA/.382 OBP/.416 SLG
While the hitting numbers might not stand out so much with Lou Boudrea, he was a great leader in the clubhouse and the best defender Cleveland has ever seen. He leads the franchise in defensive WAR at 22.7 and would’ve likely been awarded with several Gold Gloves if that was in play at the time. He’s likely not going to be a huge bat for the Indians but expect superb defense and the ability to knock in some runs near the bottom of the lineup.
Honorable Mentions: Francisco Lindor, Omar Vizquel, Ray Chapman
1901-10: 649 Runs, 27 HR, 473 RBI, 157 SB, .272 BA/.317 OBP/.373 SLG
Third base is one of the tougher positions to pick a player from not because there’s too much talent but, quite the opposite. Terry Turner was a fairly useful utility man for Cleveland though he predominantly played third. He was a great base stealer though the hitting ability, with the exception of a few seasons, left a lot left to be desired. On the other hand, Bill Bradley was a better hitter during his prime and great run scorer early on in his career. However, he tailed off in the latter years and really didn’t do much after leaving Cleveland. Nevertheless, having a few good consistent years is better than a few scattered around a career so Bradley is our pick here.
Honorable Mentions: Terry Turner, Ken Keltner, Buddy Bell
1989-96: 592 Runs, 242 HR, 751 RBI, 61 SB, .295 BA/.369 OBP/.580 SLG
While Shoeless Joe Jackson would be ideal for this spot, he’s already on the White Sox team due to history with the whole Black Sox Scandal. Instead, we’ll have a less controversial player manning left field for the Indians. That player is Albert Belle who was one of the most consistent bats in the Indians lineup. He was great at scoring, hitting home runs, knocking other guys in, and getting on base. In fact, the only skill he lacked was his defense. Belle makes for another excellent power bat in the middle of the lineup though he might be a bit of a question mark in left field defensively.
Honorable Mentions: Shoeless Joe Jackson, Jeff Heath, Charlie Jamieson
1916-26: 1,079 Runs, 73 HR, 886 RBI, 155 SB, .354 BA/.444 OBP/.520 SLG
After coming over from Boston, Tris Speaker became one of the greatest hitters in Indians history and was notorious for his hitting ability. His career record of 792 doubles actually still holds today. While it’s arguable he had his best days with the Red Sox, Speaker was a very impressive on base getter and would often find himself in steal situations early in his career. However, when the legs gave out, he became more of an RBI machine and would lead the league in that category in 1923. He’ll make for a speedy outfielder who’s probably the most likely to get on base on the whole team.
Honorable Mentions: Kenny Lofton, Earl Averill, Larry Doby
1993-00: 743 Runs, 274 HR, 868 RBI, 7 SB, .312 BA/.411 OBP/.588 SLG
At the right field spot will be none other than Manny Ramirez. While his most iconic moments took place in Boston, his career started in Cleveland where he split time between right field and designated hitter. During his time with the team, he developed a reputation as a fierce competitor and began his career as a great source of home runs. He brings a great bat and power skills to the Cleveland lineup and will find a great place in the middle of the lineup.
Honorable Mentions: Elmer Flick, Rocky Colavito
1991-02, 11: 928 Runs, 337 HR, 937 RBI, 18 SB, .287 BA/.414 OBP/.566 SLG
Throughout his career, Jim Thome was one of the best power hitters of MLB. His 612 career home runs ranks him 8th all time. The Hall of Famer was known for his class and love of the game and the numbers he put up only reflects the hard work he put in. He slowly began developing more home runs after a few seasons of not doing a ton at the major league level. Eventually, his walks per year were up in the hundreds and the home runs were flying out of the park every few days. From the age of 23 in 1994 until the age of 40 in 2011, Thome would hit double digit home runs every full season in the bigs.
1936-56: 266-162 Record, 3.25 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 4.1 BB/9
There’s no doubt who the starting pitcher of the Indians should be on this All Time team. He was an excellent pitcher that often baffled opposing hitters with his fastball and great strikeouts. While his stuff did go down later in his career, he led the league for 4 straight seasons in strikeouts. However, the nation called and Feller served his military service right in the middle of his prime. While he definitely lost some great years in his career, he was very effective early in his career and would eventually earn Hall of Fame honors in 1962.
Honorable Mentions: Eppa Rixey, Bucky Walters, Dolf Luque
If this is the second time you’re seeing Lou Boudrea’s name on this list, you’re eyes aren’t tricking you. In addition to being one of the best shortstops of his time, Boudrea also enjoyed success as the manager of the Indians in just his fourth year in the bigs. He was appointed player-manager for the next 9 years before moving to become a member of the Red Sox. He played a key role in the 1948 World Series and was technically the second manager to win a title for the club.
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