Tito’s streak with Tribe one of team’s best
Sometimes I’m accused of being too hard on Cleveland teams. It’s either, "The Indians don’t deserve your criticism," or "The Cavs don’t deserve your criticism," or "The Browns don’t deserve your criticism." Wait. Come to think of it, I’ve never heard that last comment. Sorry, Jimmy, I got carried away.
Anyway, while listening to the Tribe games on the radio during recent seasons, Indians announcer Tom Hamilton has talked of how the Indians haven’t had a losing season since Terry “Tito” Francona has been manager, starting in the 2013 season.
Big deal, thought I. A few years of better-than-average performance doesn’t assure a team of anything, especially in this town. Okay, maybe in politics, but not sports. Take a chill pill and stick to calling the game, Hammy.
Yet, it got me to thinking (unto itself a rarity) about the impact of a successful stretch of winning baseball on a team’s overall success. I scurried (which, at my age, means I moved at a pace similar to that of when I wake up at night to visit the bathroom) to the baseball record books in search of relevant data.
After hours upon hours of diligent investigation (I always wanted to be a private investigator when I grew up), I came up with the following data:
- The best stretch of baseball the Indians have had in almost 120 years of playing (defined as years at or above .500) was from 1947 through 1956, which was 10 years of non-losing baseball. The Indians won the World Series in 1948 and lost it in 1954, an impressive run.
- Second-best was a stretch of 8 consecutive winning seasons, between 1916 and 1923. The Indians were World Champs in 1920, which highlighted a good stretch of ball by the Tribe. This was the first of only two championships the team has captured, which automatically puts them in second place. Bummer that no one today was around to witness it.
- Third was also 8 years in a row, the Jacobs Field/consecutive sellout “glory years,” between 1994 and 2001. Trips to the World Series in 1995 and 1997 and a potent offense made for good times at the Jake.
- The next best would be 7 years in a row, which I assume will happen this year since, as of this writing, the Indians – despite a plethora of injuries – have started to play inspired baseball. If they finish with a winning record this year, it will be 7 consecutive years under Tito’s direction that they’ve kept their collective heads above water. They went to the World Series in 2016 and, although most of us expected more, it’s still indicative of a successful run.
- In fairness, it should be noted that for a 7 year stretch between 1934 and 1940, the Indians also played winning baseball. They rank behind the current team though, mainly because they have absolutely nothing to show for it; their best year was a second-place finish in 1940. Yawn.
Now, does this mean that if the Indians also win in 2020 and again in 2021, the 10 years of consecutive winning will assure Tribe fans of a third World Championship?
Do the math … it’s inevitable. Besides, have I ever steered you wrong before? Lately?
Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!