After seeing their five-year postseason drought come to a close in 2000, the Indians decided to bolster their offense early in the offseason with a November signing of veteran Ellis Burks to be their new designated hitter.
Burks signed with the Indians having already played 16 years in the majors in which he was named an All-Star in 1990 with the Boston Red Sox and 1996 with the Colorado Rockies.
He came to Cleveland fresh off a strong 2000 season with the San Francisco Giants that saw him slash .344/.419/.606 with 24 home runs and 96 RBI’s,
In his first season with the Tribe, Burks slashed .280/.369/.542 with 28 home runs and 74 RBI’s and followed that up by hitting .301 in 2002 before taking a step back in 2003.
He’d finish his career with the Red Sox in 2004 but would rejoin the Indians organization as a special assistant to the general manager after the 2005 season.
While Burks never made the postseason while wearing an Indians uniform, he continued to perform at a high-level despite his age and played a key role as a leader in the clubhouse making the signing worth it for the Tribe.