Cleveland, Ohio is home to some of the most passionate sports fans in the country. The city is also home to one of the most successful teams in Major League Baseball (MLB) history—the Cleveland Indians. The Indians have been a part of the MLB since 1901 and have won two World Series titles, eight American League pennants, and seven Central Division titles. But does Cleveland currently have a major league baseball team? The answer is yes.
History of the Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians began as a minor league team called the Grand Rapids Rustlers in 1894. The team was purchased in 1901 by coal magnate Charles Somers and moved to Cleveland, becoming the Cleveland Blues. The following season, they changed their name to the Cleveland Bronchos, and then to the Cleveland Naps in 1905. The team went through a few more name changes before settling on the Cleveland Indians in 1915.
The Indians had a successful beginning, with outfielder Tris Speaker leading the team to their first World Series title in 1920. The team continued to be successful throughout the 1930s and 1940s, winning the World Series in 1948 and appearing in another in 1954.
The Drought Years
After their World Series victory in 1948, the Indians went through an extended drought. They did not make the playoffs again until 1995 and did not appear in the World Series until 1997. Unfortunately, they lost in the seventh game to the Florida Marlins.
The drought continued for the next few years, with the Indians failing to make the playoffs in any of the subsequent seasons. In 2007, the team made the playoffs again but were eliminated in the American League Championship Series.
The Indians finally recaptured their winning ways in 2016, making it to the World Series for the first time in 19 years. Although they lost to the Chicago Cubs in seven games, it marked the beginning of a new era of success for the franchise.
Since then, the Indians have appeared in the playoffs four times, making it to the World Series again in 2017 and the American League Championship Series in 2018 and 2019.
Throughout the team’s history, the Indians have been led by some of the greatest players ever to play the game. Hall of Famers such as Bob Feller, Tris Speaker, Larry Doby, and Bob Lemon all spent time in a Cleveland uniform.
In more recent years, the team has been led by stars such as Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, and Omar Vizquel. Current players such as Francisco Lindor, Corey Kluber, and Jose Ramirez have also been instrumental in the team’s success.
The Indians have called three different stadiums home throughout their existence. They began at League Park, which was opened in 1891 and served as the team’s home until 1946. The Indians then moved to Cleveland Municipal Stadium, which was their home until 1993.
The current home of the Indians is Progressive Field, which was opened in 1994. The stadium has hosted two All-Star Games and has been the site of some of the greatest moments in Indians history, including the team’s 2016 World Series run.
Cleveland’s Place in the MLB
The Cleveland Indians are one of 30 teams that make up Major League Baseball. The team plays in the American League Central Division, which also includes the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, and Minnesota Twins.
The Indians have been in the Central Division since 1994 and have won the division seven times. They have also been to the playoffs 11 times since 1995 and have twice been to the World Series.
The Cleveland Indians have long standing rivalries with other teams in the Central Division. Their biggest rivals are the Detroit Tigers, with whom they have played in the same division since 1994. The two teams have played each other more than 2,000 times and have had some memorable matchups in the playoffs.
The Indians also have a rivalry with the Chicago White Sox, which is the longest continuous rivalry in the American League. The two teams have been playing each other since 1901 and have had some memorable games in recent years, including the 2016 American League Championship Series.
Throughout the years, the Cleveland Indians have had some of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history. Here are some of the most notable:
- Bob Feller: Feller was one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, winning 266 games in his 18-year career. He was also the first player to win a World Series game at the age of 17.
- Tris Speaker: Speaker is widely regarded as one of the greatest hitters of all time, leading the Indians to their first World Series title in 1920. He was also a great fielder, leading the league in putouts four times in his career.
- Larry Doby: Doby was the first African-American player to ever play in the American League. He was also a seven-time All-Star, leading the league in home runs twice.
- Manny Ramirez: Ramirez was one of the best hitters of his era, winning the American League MVP award in 1999. He also led the Indians to the World Series in 1997, hitting .414 with four home runs in the playoffs.
- Jim Thome: Thome was one of the most beloved players in Indians history, hitting 337 home runs in his 13 years with the team. He also won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2002, given to the player who best exemplifies sportsmanship, community involvement, and philanthropy.
- Omar Vizquel: Vizquel was one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball history, winning 11 Gold Glove awards in his career. He also was a three-time All-Star and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.
- Corey Kluber: Kluber is one of the best pitchers in baseball today, winning the Cy Young Award twice in his career. He has also led the Indians to the playoffs in five of the past six years.
- Francisco Lindor: Lindor is one of the most dynamic players in baseball today, winning three Silver Slugger awards in his five-year career. He also led the Indians to the World Series in 2016, hitting .310 with four home runs in the playoffs.
Cleveland is home to one of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball history. The Cleveland Indians have been a part of the MLB since 1901 and have won two World Series titles, eight American League pennants, and seven Central Division titles.
The team is currently one of the best in baseball, appearing in the playoffs four times in the past four years. They are also led by some of the best players in the game, such as Francisco Lindor, Corey Kluber, and Jim Thome.
So yes, Cleveland does have a major league baseball team—the Cleveland Indians.