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 with an AL Pennant. Throughout this anniversary year we'll be celebrating them, as the current version of the Tribe hopefully makes its own run to the postseason. Each week I'll look back at one of the key players from that season, counting down to the very best of them.
- 25. Wayne Kirby
- 24. Alan Embree
- 23. Albie Lopez
- 22. Jim Poole
- 21. Tony Pena
- 20. Herbert Perry
- 19. Mark Clark
- 18. Paul Assenmacher
- 17. Paul Sorrento
- 16. Eric Plunk
- 15. Ken Hill
- 14. Omar Vizquel
#13: Sandy Alomar
Sandy Alomar was one of the top prospects in baseball when he was acquired (along with Carlos Baerga and Chris James) for Joe Carter after the 1989 season. In 1990 he won the American League Rookie of the Year Award, but for the next four years (1991 to 1994) he had trouble staying healthy, missing more games than he played in during that time due to injuries to his shoulder, hip, hand, and back. At the start of 1995, a new problem arose, and Alomar was sidelined for the first two and a half months of the season after needing surgery on his left knee. It was June 29 before he played in his first game of the season.
During his first month back from the injury, Alomar went on an absolute tear. batting .385/.414/.662 in his first 22 games of the season, with 5 home runs and 16 RBI. In a July 3rd romp over Texas, Alomar had two doubles and a home run. Later that week had three consecutive multi-hit games. On July 20th, facing the Rangers again, Alomar singled and hit a pair of home runs, the first of which tied the game, the second of which broke the tie and put the Tribe ahead to stay.
Alomar's bat cooled after that initial surge, but he played plus defense and still had some big moments at the plate. On August 25th against the Tigers, Alomar singled and scored in the 7th inning, then hit a walk-off home run in the 11th.
It looked like this:
On September 1st in Detroit, with the Indians trailing by two, Alomar hit a three-run blast. On September 20th against the Orioles, with the Tribe trailing in the 8th inning, Alomar hit a three-run shot off Armando Benitez. (That would not be the last time Sandy got the best of Armando in a big moment.) On the final day of the season, Alomar collected four hits, boosting his batting average for the season to an even .300, to go along with a .332 OBP and a .478 slugging percentage.
The highlight of Sandy's postseason came in Game 3 of the World Series: With the Indians trailing 6-5 in the 8th inning, Alomar doubled to right field, tying the game.
Alomar had to wait to be a proper part of the 1995 Indians, but he made it count once he arrived.