The 1995 Cleveland Indians were an incredible team. They are rightfully famed for their other-worldly offense, but their pitching was excellent as well. As we all know, they fell in the World Series that October, making them arguably the best team ever among those that didn't win the Fall Classic.
It's been 20 years since that team brought the city of Cleveland to its feet and ended decades of frustration. Throughout this anniversary year we'll be celebrating them, as the current version of the Tribe hopefully makes its own run to the American League pennant. Each week I'll look back at one of the key players from that season, counting down to the very best of them.
#20: Herbert Perry
Perry was the Indians' 2nd round pick in 1991, the same year Manny Ramirez was chosen in the 1st round. By the end of 1994, Manny had already finished 2nd in the AL Rookie of the Year voting and become one of the best hitters on the team. With Ramirez having graduated from the system, heading into 1995, it was Perry who was now rated as the top position player in the Tribe's farm system.
'95 Indians Countdown
'95 Indians Countdown
Perry was called up in the middle of June, when starting first baseman Paul Sorrento was out for a couple games. In his second appearance of the season, on June 17 against the Yankees, Perry hit two home runs. He had multiple hits in five of the nine games he played in before the All-Star break, and earned a permanent spot on the roster, splitting his time between first base and DH. In July 19th's 14-5 romp over Texas, Perry had a four-hit game, and drove in four runs.
He only hit one more home run after that big game against New York, but he also hit 13 doubles in 162 at bats, and finished the regular season with a batting line of .315/.376/.463, and a wRC+ of 119, a bit better than Sorrento's 112. He'd played first base for most games during the final six weeks of the season, having become the regular starter there. During the postseason though, Perry went back to a backup role, and he didn't do anything in October to make one question that decision, going hitless in 14 at bats.
Perry was supposed to be the first baseman of the future, but injuries derailed the next three years of his career, and Perry only ever played in another 7 games for the Indians after 1995. For the second half of that season though, the man hit.