Cleveland Indians: Who’s Tribe’s best power hitter over last 30 seasons?

Jim Thome #25 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Tim Umphrey/Getty Images)
Jim Thome #25 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Tim Umphrey/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians, Albert Belle
Albert Belle #8 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Albert Belle

It’s hard to talk about power hitting for the Cleveland Indians since 1991 and not mention or at least think about Albert Belle. While 1991 was the last time the Tribe finished last in the division, it marked the upward trend in home runs for Belle, being his first season with double-digit dingers, knocking 28. While controversial, Belle’s eight seasons in Cleveland went down as some of the best power seasons in club history.

The 1995 season was Belle’s best in Cleveland, leading the majors in home runs with 50, which at the time was the best single-season mark in team history, only to later be broken by Jim Thome. That season, Belle also led the majors in doubles with 52 and slugging percentage at .690, as well as the American League in runs with 121 and RBI at 126.

When Belle’s tenure in Cleveland was all said and done, he had totaled 242 home runs for the Tribe which is currently second in the record books behind only Thome’s 337. Belle did post a better slugging percentage than Thome with the Tribe, being second in the record book with a mark of .580.

Belle had one more All-Star season after leaving for Chicago in 1996. He ended up with 381 career home runs. One can only wonder how the 1997 World Series may have ended differently if Belle would have been on that team, for better or for worse.