As time passes, it gets difficult to recall exactly who played on what version of your favorite team. Here’s to Cleveland Indians 2007 ALCS hero Trot Nixon.
Relax. I’m not saying you forgot Trot Nixon played for the Cleveland Indians. But I am suggesting that a lot of the reason you remember him with the Indians is that his one year with the team happened to feature a run to the 2007 ALCS.
Nixon is rightly remembered more for his 10 years with the Boston Red Sox, which included, of course, the end of an 86-year World Series drought in 2004. He would miss out on Boston’s second championship of the 2000s as his old team ripped his new one’s heart out in 2007.
The then-33-year-old right fielder only appeared in 99 games with the Indians, and his offensive contributions during the regular season were less than stellar. Nixon slashed .251/.342/.336 with just three home runs in 354 plate appearances.
Nixon’s biggest moment in an Indians uniform came in the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2. Tied at six runs apiece in extras and staring down the barrel of a potential 2-0 series deficit, the Indians needed a hero. As it turned out, they’d have several heroes in the top of that 11th frame, but Nixon was the first.
With one out and two on for the Tribe, Nixon was called on to pinch-hit. He laced a single into the outfield to score Grady Sizemore, setting the Indians up for a rally. The floodgates then opened as Cleveland poured on six additional runs en route to a 13-6 win.
The Indians rode that momentum to a 3-1 series lead before, well, we all remember what happened next.
Nixon was very much a role player on the 2007 Tribe, well behind Sizemore, Victor Martinez, and Travis Hafner as the team’s most important everyday contributors. But that version of the Indians needed players like Nixon.
These weren’t the star-studded Indians of the 1990s or the Francisco Lindor-led Tribe of present day. The 2007 Indians were an upstart team that found a way to put it all together and nearly go the distance. On teams like that, it’s often guys like Nixon who make the difference.