Welcome back to yet another uneventful edition in the 75 years and counting series. We start with something somewhat notable as prior to the 1983 season Von Hayes was traded by the Indians to the Philadelphia Phillies for Manny Trillo, Jay Baller, Julio Franco, George Vukovich, and Jerry Willard. I think in hindsight we have a tendency to slightly overrate Julio in the context of his entire career, at least as it pertains to his time in Cleveland, but he was at least a solid pickup. Vukovich also had a couple of nice years in Cleveland, but Hayes blossomed into a borderline star in Philadelphia including a monstrous 1986 campaign that saw him lead the league in doubles, swipe 25 bags, and post an .860 OPS. With the full benefit of hindsight Philadelphia probably came out on top in that trade, but Julio was certainly a nice get for Cleveland so we’ll call it somewhat of a wash.
The 83 Indians lacked power, plain and simple. Andre Thornton and Gorman Thomas tied for the team lead with 17 home runs while nobody else even made it to double digits. Midway through the season Pat Corrales replaced Mike Ferraro as manager. Corrales would be one of the longer tenured managers in Cleveland since the days of Al Lopez spending parts of 5 seasons calling the shots in the Cleveland dugout.
The 1983 season was a disappointing one, especially after the momentum gained in 80 and 81 where it felt like Cleveland was finally starting to turn things around. Their rotation was finally healthy with both Sutcliffe and Blyleven pitching full seasons, but that wasn’t enough to pull them out of the depths of the American League East at 70-92
Julio Franco had a solid rookie campaign, he was about average with the bat but solid defensively and found himself finishing second for the AL Rookie of the Year award.
And that’s about it! Join us tomorrow for the 1984 season.