Introducing the Cleveland Indians’ Franchise Four candidates

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Tris Speaker

credit: baseball-fever.com

By the time the Indians acquired the 28-year-old Tris Speaker from the Red Sox before the 1916 season, Speaker had already played nine seasons in Boston and become one of the best outfielders in baseball.

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An exceptional contact hitter, Speaker tallied 211 hits in his first season with the Indians, hitting .386/.470/.502 with 41 doubles. He led the league in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, edging out Ty Cobb — who had won five consecutive batting titles — by 15 points to earn the crown.

Speaker took over as a player-manager in 1919, a position he held until his final season in Cleveland in 1926, and led the Tribe to the 1920 World Series, where Cleveland captured the championship in seven games over Brooklyn. In 11 seasons with the Tribe, Speaker his a combined .354/.444/.520 with 1,965 hits, good for second-most in Indians’ history. His 486 doubles are the most in franchise history.

As good as he was offensively, Speaker was excellent defensively. He was known for playing a shallow center field and led the league in outfield assists on three separate occasions.

Speaker was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937, earning 82.1 percent of the votes to get in on his second ballot. He was elected to the Indians Hall of Fame in 1951.

Next: Jim Thome

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