Cleveland Rocks

Cleveland's newer

Cleveland’s newer “Chief Wahoo” (L) and how he looked back in 1948 (R) when the Indians last won the World Series. Should Cleveland keep using these kinds of representations of their team mascot? Or should they simply drop the mascot name “Indians” and become a winning version of the old Cleveland Spiders? Where do you stand on the political correctness issue of the Cleveland’s mascot name and logo depictions now that the question is again ratcheted  into public awareness by their 2016 capture of the AL pennant?

Well, one of the hungriest two “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” 2016 World Series title competitors got it done this afternoon. The Cleveland Indians knocked off the Blue Jays in Toronto, 3-0, to take the American League pennant, 4 games to 1, before grabbing a brief break, awaiting the Cubs and Dodgers determination of the National League Championship Series, which now stands 2-1, Los Angeles, at this writing. Either way that NL series turns out is intriguing.

If LA wins, it will pit Cleveland against the Dodger franchise for the only other time they met in a World Series back in 1920. Back in 1920, as most of you know, the Tribe was led by playing manager and future Hall of Fame Great Tris Speaker. The Indians’ 1920 NL World Series foes weren’t located in Los Angeles back then either – and they weren’t nicknamed the Dodgers that season. They called themselves the “Brooklyn Robins” – drawing their mascot derivative identity from manager Wilbert Robinson’s last name. 1920 was also the heavy heart season of Cleveland’s late season loss of shortstop Ben Chapman, who became that season’s first and only man ever killed by an official pitch during a time at bat in a regular season game. The 1920 Indians won their first World Series appearance, 5 games to 2, in contest that was then played on a “best 5 of 9” wins formula. The Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948, when they beat the Boston Braves, 4 games to 0. The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since their last appearance in 1988, a five game victory over the Oakland A’s.

If Chicago wins, it will match Cleveland against the only club with a longer thirst for victory in a World Series than any other team that previously has won it all. Again, as most of you know, the Cubs have won a World Series since 1908. The Indians, as we stated earlier, hasn’t won since 1948.

An Indians-Cubs match up would also produce another binding oddity. And that is simply that it would match up the two men most identified as the on field and office brain trust behind the 2004 Boston Red Sox ending their supposedly cursed disappearance from a World Series victory wreath since 1918. Former Red Sox field manager Terry Francona now hold those same reins for the 2016 AL Champion Indians; and former wunderkind GM for the 2004 WS Champion Red Sox, Theo Epstein, is now the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs. Something has to give in every World Series pairing – and the Francona-Epstein contest is no exception, even if its importance gets obscured by the louder speaking heroics on the fields of the very near future, if that is to be.

For two or three more days, at least, the Los Angeles Dodgers may have something loud to say about whether 2016 is the first year that the Cubs get back to “The Show” since 1945.

Baseball is always full of surprises – even if they don’t all jump out and bite you in obvious places. It’s sort of like my wife’s mini-seminar – the one she pulls out every time she finds me foraging through the refrigerator for something healthy to eat:

Home Sweet Home

Bill: (staring through open refrigerator door).

Norma: (entering kitchen from the right) “What are you looking for?”

Bill: “I’m looking for the apples. I can’t find the apples.”

Norma: “Did you look in the fruit drawer?”

Bill: “They’re not in the fruit drawer?”

Norma: “Did you look inside that HEB bag – the one on the very top shelf?”

Bill: “No, I did not. – Why would I look there?

Norma: “Because that’s where the apples are!”

Bill: “Then why didn’t you put them in the fruit drawer?”

Norma: “I just got home about ten minutes ago – and I’m planning to put them there.”

Bill: “I see. Well, I just came in the door this minute – and didn’t realize the situation.”

Norma: “The problem with you, Bill, is that you don’t know how to look.”

Sometimes baseball research is like the “where are the apples?” problem. We get slowed down in our looking when we aren’t aware of what others have done, or not done, before we arrived on the research scene with our expectation in place that we shall find the apples in the fruit drawer. Some of us have to learn that it’s best to leave our expectations outside the closed refrigerator door – and, if anything is expected, once the door opens, let it be our expectation of the unexpected.

Dearest Norma

I will try to apply this lesson better to future refrigerator services. In the future, when you find me gazing looking at the kitchen counter, let’s say, looking for bananas – and you know we don’t have any, just whisper the short cut answer in my ear. Something like, “Yes, we have no bananas – We have no bananas today” will do just fine.

Now, come on Dodgers and Cubs, let’s get this NL berth in the 2016 World Series settled as soon as possible. The Cleveland Indians await either of you – and with tomahawking intentions.


 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


3 Responses to “Cleveland Rocks”

  1. Fred Soland Says:

    The wife is always right, even if she is wrong!!
    A surgeon friend of mine once told me a story about how marriage works. he said “Fred, marriage is nothing more or less than a perpetual negotiation. It is like when I shot a 24 point trophy elk and had it mounted and had it shipped to the house. When I opened the crate, I brought the prize mount into our bedroom and put it in the middle of the bed between us…in hopes that by the time the negotiations were done, I could keep it in the garage!”

  2. inductionguru2011 Says:

    Hi Bill.
    I can identify with what you said what you and your wife do because I put things down and two minutes later i don’t know what I did with what I put down.
    Anyway, although I spent six years researching and writing my book, “Induction Day at Cooperstown A History of the Baseball Hall of Fame Ceremony,” I don’t follow baseball during the season on a daily basis. I mention this because I couldn’t get over that the Indians swept the Red Sox and then beat the Blue Jays four out of five games. Both the Sox and the Jays had good lineups where the Indians didn’t have a lineup anyway near as big as their two opponents. So I attribute the Indians victory to their manager, Terry Francona. If anyone had any doubts, this assures me that Francona will be a natural to be inducted into the Hall of Fame like Bobby Cox, Tony LaRusso and Joe Torre were in 2014, and I think it will be unanimous like they were.

  3. Michael McCroskey Says:

    We’ve got string beans and onions,
    Cabashes and Wambsganss’s
    And the 1920 only unassisted triple play
    in World Series history.

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