clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This week in 1995: The Cleveland Indians reached the World Series for the first time in 41 years

After three games, the Tribe found themselves trailing two games to one in the ALCS against the Seattle Mariners.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The heavily favored Cleveland Indians found themselves trailing in the ALCS 2-1 after losing Game Three in extra innings at home. Could they mount a comeback and make their first World Series since 1954? They would have to do it in a hostile environment as potential games six and seven would be played in Seattle. To even get back there though, they'd need to take care of some business at home.

AL Championship Series

Game Four:

October 14, 1995; Jacobs Field; Mariners 0, Indians 7

Facing a series deficit, manager Mike Hargrove turned to midseason acquisition Ken Hill to even it up. Hill had a quick 1-2-3 inning to start the game. Kenny Lofton led off with a single, stole second and went to third on a bad throw and then Omar Vizquel walked. Lofton scored when Carlos Baerga grounded to second. In a surprising move, Hargrove had benched Albert Belle for the game. It didn't seem to matter as Eddie Murray crushed one to deep right-center for a quick 3-0 lead.

Hill did allow a hit and walk in the second, but struck out a pair to keep the Mariners off the board. Tony Pena led off the second with a single to left. Incredibly, in a Lofton-esque move, he took third on a grounder to short by Wayne Kirby and then scored on liner to right by Lofton.

Hill once again dodged danger in the third, stranding men at second and third. And once again the offense got to Andy Benes. A single by Baerga and a homer by Jim Thome made it 6-0 after three.

In the fourth Hill again stranded a pair before having another clean inning in the fifth. The Tribe left the bases loaded in the sixth against Bob Wells but Vizquel doubled in Kirby in the seventh for the final margin.

Even though Hill did struggle most of the game, he did pitch seven scoreless frames with Jim Poole and Chad Ogea finishing up the game. And just like that, the series was even.

AL Championship Series

Game Five:

October 15, 1995; Jacobs Field; Mariners 2, Indians 3

Eschewing the normal rotation schedule, Hargrove started Orel Hershiser in Game Five rather than Dennis Martinez. And once again, the move paid off as the Indians opened up with a run in the first after an error by Tino Martinez on a Vizquel grounder, a Baerga single and a Murray single. The Mariners tied it up in the third as Ken Griffey Jr. doubled in Joey Cora down the left field line.

The Mariners got that unearned run back in the fifth as Belle not only dropped a Griffey fly ball, but compounded it by an errant throw, earning him two errors on the same play, allowing Cora to score. After that first inning though, Chris Bosio retired the next eleven Tribe hitters. With two out in the fifth, Lofton singled and Vizquel walked. After they had a successful double steal, Baerga weakly grounded back to Bosio.

Jim Thome hit the go ahead homer after Murray doubled with one out in the sixth. From there, Hargrove went to his bullpen. Julian Tavarez started the seventh with an easy grounder, but Paul Sorrento muffed it. Like Belle, he compounded his error by misplaying Cora's ground ball as well, making it first and second with no one out. Edgar Martinez forced Cora at second, and then Hargrove called upon Paul Assenmacher, who promptly ended the frame by striking out both Griffey and Jay Buhner.

Assenmacher started the eighth by getting Tino Martinez to pop out. Eric Plunk came in for the right handed Doug Strange. But Lou Pinella brought Vince Coleman off the bench and he coaxed a walk. After stealing second, Alex Diaz also walked. Thankfully the liner off Luis Sojo was right at Vizquel who stepped on second for the inning ending double play.

Jose Mesa earned his first save of the series by retiring the side in order, although Edgar Martinez did make him work in a ten pitch at bat. And now, the Tribe would head to Seattle with a series lead.

AL Championship Series

Game Six:

October 17, 1995; Kingdome; Indians 4, Mariners 0

If the Indians were going to get to the World Series tonight, they would have to beat the Cy Young Award winner, Randy Johnson. And now the swap of Hershiser with Dennis Martinez made a lot of sense. IF it was going to be a duel, he wanted it to be ace against ace.

The offense started decent against the Big Unit, with Baerga and Belle both singling after two were out, but Murray hit into a force play. Martinez worked around a two out walk in his half.

The Tribe went in order in both the second and third, while the Mariners only hit was a leadoff double in the third by Sojo. Belle was stranded after a one out double in the fourthand Edgar was stranded after a one out single in his half.

In the fifth, Cora overthrew first on an Alvaro Espinosa grounder, moving him to second. He would score on a Lofton single two batters later. The Mainers threatened in the sixth, getting runners to second and third with two out, but Tino Martinez struck out. The seventh would not see a single runner reach base.

But the eighth? Now that was an exciting inning for an Indians fan. The Tribe was holding a scant 1-0 lead, but were six outs away from their first World Series in 41 years. Tony Pena led off with a double to right and Hargrove sent in Ruben Amaro to run for him. Lofton bunted to Johnson's right in a semi-sacrifice attempt, but beat it out to make it first and third. On the first pitch to Vizquel, Lofton swiped second. Then Johnson and catcher got their signals crossed and Amaro scored on a passed ball. But Lofton never slowed heading to third and also scored. Johnson was so shaken by that that Vizquel hit one to the fence and Baerga hit one over the fence, ending his night and putting the Tribe up 4-0.

Tavarez retired the side on just 10 pitched in the bottom half. After a quick 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth, Mesa came in to finish off the Mariners. Griffey grounded out to Baerga and Edgar Martinez struck out. After a four pitch free pass to Tino Martinez, Buhner grounded to Alvaro Espinosa who threw to Herb Perry to send the Tribe to the World Series. And the celebration was on.

Next Up: The Indians take on the Atlanta Braves, who had swept the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS.