The Cleveland Indians have officially retired the number 25 worn by Hall of Fame slugger, and franchise career home run leader, Jim Thome on Saturday.
Thome was honored in a pregame ceremony, prior to the Indians game against the Baltimore Orioles, who Thome also played for during his long career, in which they lost 2-1.
During the ceremony, Thome took his familiar home run trot around the bases one final time, this time accompanied by his son, Landon, and was mobbed by his former teammates as he crossed home plate.
Thome’s retired jersey number will now be permanently displayed in the upper deck of Progressive Field between fellow Hall of Famers Bob Lemon’s 21 and Larry Doby’s 14.
Thome mashed 337 homers to become Cleveland’s career home run leader, and it will be fun to see if any player can catch, or surpass Thome’s number, making it fun for betting sites, such as bettingsites.ltd , to track in the years to come.
Many of Thome’s former teammates and managers were on hand for the celebration, including Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga, Charlie Manuel and Mike Hargrove.
Current Indian players also paid homage to Thome, by wearing high socks that mimicked Thome’s look during his playing days.
“To have my jersey retired gives me the chills,” Thome said, according to ESPN News. “To see my number hanging in the rafters in the company of Bob Feller, Lou Boudreau, Jackie Robinson, Mel Harder, Larry Doby, Earl Averill, Bob Lemon and Frank Robinson, I don’t really know what to say. That’s some ‘Field of Dreams’ stuff right there.”
“To this day, these guys are my brothers, and I’m so touched that you all would take the time to come today,” Thome said.
Thome, who spent 13 years with the Indians organization, batted .276 and hit 612 home runs, eighth on the all-time home run list, during his MLB career.
“The ’90s were exciting times in baseball, and there was no place better than the corner of Ontario and Carnegie,” Thome continued. “This organization from top to bottom is first-class all the way. I was so proud to go into the Hall of Fame as a member of the Cleveland Indians.”
Additionally, Thome is the Indians’ career leader in walks (1,008) and is second in career RBIs (937).
Indians Exercise Contract Option on Corey Kluber
The Cleveland Indians made a move to address a key player’s status with the team for the 2020 season when they officially exercised the $17.5 million contract option for pitcher Corey Kluber next season.
The move doesn’t come as a surprise as Indians’ team president Chris Antonetti said last month that the Indians would pick up Kluber’s option.
In a corresponding move, the Indians declined the options on second baseman Jason Kipnis and relief pitcher Dan Otero for the 2020 season.
Kluber, 33, wasn’t able to pitch for the Indians after May 1st due to a broken arm he sustained due to a comebacker. Kluber was working his way towards returning later in the season before his comeback was derailed in the minors when he suffered an oblique injury, shelving him for the rest of the season.
Kluber is a former two-time Cy Young award winner.
Kipnis, who has spent his entire career with the Indians, had a $16.5 million option for next season, and while the team did decline to exercise it, the team has not ruled bringing him back.
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Reds Acquire Trevor Baeur, Indians Land Yasiel Puig
The Cincinnati Reds have acquired starting pitcher Trevor Bauer from the Cleveland Indians in a three-team deal that was executed late Tuesday night.
As part of the deal, Bauer heads to Cincy, while outfielder Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes will head to the Indians. Cleveland also lands mire league pitcher Scott Moss from Cincinnati.
Furthermore, the San Diego Padres will ship left-hander Logan Allen and minor league infielder Victor Nova to Cleveland, while receiving top prospect Taylor Trammel from the Reds.
Bauer posted a 9-8 record with a 3.79 ERA and 185 strikeouts for the Indians this season.
Puig is once again on the move, having already been traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Reds back in December, and left the Reds dramatically when he was involved in a benches clearing brawl during the ninth-inning which led to his ejection, along with several other players.
Puig is hitting .252 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs so far this season.
“I’m going to miss all my teammates here,” Puig said (h/t ESPN). “This part of the year is amazing for me, being on this team and the city. Now it’s time to move forward and go to my new team and help my team go to the playoffs. … I want to say thank you to all the city, Cincinnati. We stay next door — we’re going to Cleveland.”
Winsanity: Cleveland Indians Win 21st Straight Game To Set American League Record
First there was Moneyball in 2011.
Now, you gotta believe there’s a sequel in the works.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) September 13, 2017
The Cleveland Indians won their 21st straight game Wednesday afternoon, completing a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field with a 5-3 victory. The win set a new American League record, exceeding the Oakland Athletics’ 20-game run in 2002—which of course was the subject of Moneyball.
Take a listen to the memorable call from Indians play-by-play announcer Tom Hamilton as history unfolded:
— Glenn Moore (@GlennMooreCLE) September 13, 2017
With 21 wins and counting, the Indians are tied with the 1935 Chicago Cubs for the second longest win streak in Major League Baseball’s modern era (since 1900). The 1916 New York Giants hold the record with 26.
Fellow Cleveland athlete and superstar LeBron James took to social media to praise his hometown Indians:
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) September 13, 2017
Tristan Thompson was also pretty excited:
21 21 21 @Indians !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
— Tristan Thompson (@RealTristan13) September 13, 2017
During their 21-game win streak, the Indians are outscoring opponents 139-35 and hitting .305 (226 for 741) as a team with 97 extra-base hits. They’re also pitching out of their minds. Of course you can pretty much assume that with 35 runs allowed in 21 games. Duh. Get this—starting pitchers are 19-0 with a 1.70 ERA (132 IP, 25 ER) during this historic run. Insane. Relievers have also been lights out, posting a 1.26 ERA. All without Andrew Miller too, arguably the best left-handed reliever in baseball. Imagine when he gets back.
Overall, the Indians have a 1.57 ERA during the streak. That’s the fourth best mark for a team in a 21 game span in the divisional era (since 1969). They also have seven shutouts during the streak. That’s more than 14 teams in the majors have all season.
Emerging AL Cy Young favorite Corey Kluber, Mike Clevinger, and Carlos Carrasco have led Cleveland’s rotation during this run. In 12 starts between them (four each), they’ve combined to go 11-0 with a 0.85 ERA (84 2/3 IP, 8 ER).
What about the offense?
Shortstop Francisco Lindor and third-baseman Jose Ramirez have been the Indians’ hottest hitters during their streak. Lindor’s batting .370 (30 for 81, .790 slugging %) with nine homers and 19 RBIs, while Ramirez’s batting .388 (26 for 67, .910 slugging %) with eight homers, nine doubles, and 14 RBIs.
Other notable offensive players during Cleveland’s streak are designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (.574 slugging %, five homers, 15 RBIs), first-baseman Carlos Santana (.357 batting average, five homers, 13 RBIs), and catcher Roberto Perez (14 for 37, four home runs, 11 RBIs).
This article provides some additional facts about the Indians’ torrid run, my favorite one being that they’ve hit more home runs (41) than allowed runs (35) in the 21 games. I’m not even sure if that’s possible to achieve in a video game.
Here’s a graphic per ESPN Stats & Info that compares Cleveland’s first 20 games of this streak to Oakland’s 20-game tear in 2002:
Here's how the 20-game winning streaks in the AL stack up. Indians have thrown 7 shutouts in this span (A's had 2 during their streak). pic.twitter.com/l8tSzvD34F
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 13, 2017
What an unbelievable story. The Indians have polarized Major League Baseball with their streak and are looking like the team to beat in the playoffs each time they win. They’re a young group clicking on all cylinders and playing with the highest level of confidence, and that should be a problem to whatever team(s) they face in the postseason.
Since the beginning of the streak, Cleveland has gained 9.5 games on the Houston Astros to overtake them as the team with the AL’s best record. Houston’s currently down 8-0 in the fifth inning to the Angels, so if that holds up, the Indians will have gained a full 10 games since August 24 and will have a 2.5 game edge in the AL’s best record race.
Coming off a World Series loss last year to the Chicago Cubs in seven games after leading the series 3-1, you gotta believe the Indians are a hungry team. Hungry as ever. Their last championship was 1948, and it looks like they’re on a mission to end that drought.
It also doesn’t help when you’ve got this guy running things:
Why’d you have to let him go, Red Sox…
The Indians (90-56) will look to extend their historic streak as they begin a four-game home series against the Kansas City Royals beginning Thursday night.
(Update: Cleveland lost to Kansas City on September 15, snapping their 22-game win streak.)
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