Major League Baseball has announced who will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the first two games of the World Series at Progressive Field. Tuesday night before Game 1, it'll be Kenny Lofton, and then Wednesday night before Game 2, it'll be Carlos Baerga.
Charlie Sheen, who played Indians closer Rick Vaughn in Major League (and Major League 2 ...never forget.) expressed a desire to be a part of thing, but the Indians wisely shot down that foolish idea in favor of bestowing the honor upon guys who actually played for the team.
Lofton, No. 13 on LGT's list of the 100 greatest Indians ever, had three separate stints with the Tribe, playing at least parts of ten different seasons with them, during which time he made the All-Star team five times, had 1512 hits, scored 975 runs, and stole a franchise record 452 bases, leading the American League in steals in five consecutive season from 1992 through 1996. For my money, Lofton's career merits induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but the BBWAA resoundingly decided otherwise.
Baerga, No. 53 on LGT's list of the 100 greatest Indians ever, played for the Tribe in eight different seasons, including a brief stretch in 1999. He had 1097 hits with the team, including 190 doubles and 104 home runs, and he represented the Indians in the All-Star Game three times.
Both players were and continue to be fan favorites, and each of them was a key part of the pennant-winning team from 1995 (but not the one from 1997). If there's a Game 6 and if there's a Game 7, the Indians will have to choose one or two more people for the honor. Following the pattern of these first to two selections, Albert Belle, Jim Thome, and Omar Vizquel might be the most logical candidates. Manny Ramirez, on the other hand, seems an unlikely choice, because he's currently a hitting instructor within the Cubs organization.
The Cubs will have to go a different route in choosing whom will throw out the first pitches at Wrigley because everyone who ever played for them in the World Series is dead.