Former Cleveland Indians fan favorite Mike Napoli announced his retirement, bringing to mind the memories he gave fans back in 2016.
The 2016 Cleveland Indians will go down as one of the most memorable teams in franchise history.
The team made it all the way to the World Series, and were a game away from winning it all. We know how the year ultimately ended, but there are so many lasting memories from that year.
Mike Napoli joined the Indians in 2016 and proceeded to play in 150 games, hitting 34 home runs and driving in 101 runs. Those were all new career-highs for the veteran.
Napoli’s name is back in the news today as he has announced his retirement.
There was never a bad thing to say about Napoli, which is why it was so easy to like him. It is still crazy to think that he was only here for one season, yet he is such a memorable Indians player.
As a note, he did sign a minor league deal with the team in 2018. But he was injured and never reached the majors.
This nostalgia toward Napoli is a great example of why the 2016 team was so memorable. After nearly a decade without a postseason victory, here came this group that was breezing through the postseason after a regular season filled with ups and down to make even the most even-keeled fan nervous.
Napoli, and the phenomenon of “Party at Napoli’s”, took hold over the city and he elevated himself to star status in Cleveland. Fans wanted that traditional power hitter for years and got one, who just so happened to have a resurgent year late in his career.
Napoli is an interesting player. He only made one All-Star Game, and doesn’t have any legendary statistics that stand out among the best in the game. However, he played in four different cities and was well-respected everywhere he went. The Texas Rangers liked him so much he had three separate stints with the team.
The 2016 season came before the massive expectations that weigh on the Indians now. That year was simply fun and making the World Series was a huge accomplishment. Now the expectations are to win it all and the past two seasons have left fans angry as opposed to being happy about a postseason berth.
But no current feelings will ever take away from the love for Napoli in the city of Cleveland.