Cleveland Indians are an American professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. Since 1994, they have played at Progressive Field. The team’s spring training facility is at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. Since their establishment as a major league franchise in 1901, the Indians have won two World Series championships: in 1920 and 1948, along with nine Central Division titles and six American League pennants. The Indians’ current World Series championship drought is the longest active drought.
The name “Indians” originated from a request by club owner Charles Somers to baseball writers to choose a new name to replace “Cleveland Naps” following the departure of Nap Lajoie after the 1914 season. The name referenced the nickname “Indians” that was applied to the Cleveland Spiders baseball club during the time when Louis Sockalexis, a Native American, played in Cleveland. Common nicknames for the Indians include the “Tribe” and the “Wahoos”, the latter being a reference to their logo, Chief Wahoo. Also, the team’s mascot is named “Slider.”
The franchise originated in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1894 as the Grand Rapids Rustlers, a minor league team that competed in the Western League. The team then relocated to Cleveland in 1900 and changed its name to the Cleveland Lake Shores. The Western League itself changed its name to the American League while continuing its minor league status. One of the American League’s eight charter franchises, the major league incarnation of the club was founded in Cleveland in 1901. Originally called the Cleveland Bluebirds, the team played in League Park until moving permanently to Cleveland Stadium in 1946. At the end of the 2017 season, they had a regular season franchise record of 9,293–8,897 (.511). On September 14, 2017, the Cleveland Indians won their 22nd straight game, which extended the new American League record they set the previous game, while also becoming the longest winning streak with no ties in Major League Baseball history.
On January 18, 2011, longtime popular former first baseman and manager Mike Hargrove was brought in as a special adviser. The Indians started the 2011 season strong – going 30–15 in their first 45 games and seven games ahead of the Detroit Tigers for first place. Injuries led to a slump where the Indians fell out of first place. Many minor leaguers such as Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall got opportunities to fill in for the injuries. The biggest news of the season came on July 30 when the Indians traded four prospects for Colorado Rockies star pitcher, Ubaldo Jiménez. The Indians sent their top two pitchers in the minors, Alex White and Drew Pomeranz along with Joe Gardner and Matt McBride. On August 25, the Indians signed the team leader in home runs, Jim Thome off of waivers. He made his first appearance in an Indians uniform since he left Cleveland after the 2002 season. To honor Thome, the Indians placed him at his original position, third base, for one pitch against the Minnesota Twins on September 25. It was his first time playing third base since 1996. This would also be his last appearance as an Indian. The Indians finished the season in 2nd place, 15 games behind the division champion Tigers.
As the Indians play 19 games every year with each of their A.L. Central competitors, several rivalries have developed.
The Indians have a rivalry with the Detroit Tigers due to the fact that the two cities are fairly close to each other, the teams have been battling for the A.L. Central championship in recent years, and has some carryover elements from the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, as well as the general historic rivalry between Michiganders and Ohioans dating back to the “Toledo War.”
The Indians have a rivalry with the Chicago White Sox since the 1959 season (when the Sox slipped past the Tribe to win the A.L. pennant), and has intensified since both clubs moved to the A.L. Central. Probably the most infamous moment in the White Sox rivalry was in 1994 when the White Sox confiscated Albert Belle’s corked bat, and the ensuing attempt by Indians pitcher Jason Grimsley to crawl through the Comiskey Park (now Guaranteed Rate Field) clubhouse ceiling to retrieve it. Belle later moved to the White Sox in 1997, making the rivalry even more intense. In 2005, the Indians were swept on the last weekend of the season by the eventual world champion White Sox, by doing this the Indians were knocked out of the division race and wild card race.
The Indians also have a divisional rivalry with the Kansas City Royals, mainly due to numerous bench clearing brawls in the recent past. The rivalry has intensified when Indians closer Chris Perez used WWE star John Cena’s signature “You can’t see me” hand gesture towards KC outfielder Jarrod Dyson after striking him out in a game on May 28, 2012.
The Cleveland Indians’ official team colors are red, navy blue, and white.
The team’s home uniform is white with navy piping around each sleeve. Across the front of the jersey in script font is the word “Indians” in red with a navy outline. The jersey has the Chief Wahoo logo on the left sleeve, with red undershirts, belts, and socks. The home cap is navy with a red bill and features the Chief Wahoo logo on the front. Occasionally, the Indians will wear a red alternate cap with a blue block “C” on the front with their home white uniforms.
The road uniform is gray, with “Cleveland” in navy block letters trimmed in red is across the front of the jersey, navy piping around the sleeves, and the Chief Wahoo logo located on the left sleeve, with navy undershirts, belts, and socks. The road cap is navy, with a red block “C” on the front; as of June 2018, however, the Indians have begun wearing the alternate, Chief Wahoo road cap with their road grays.
The alternate third jersey is navy blue with white piping around each sleeve. Script “Indians” is located across the front of the jersey in the same fashion as the home uniform (red lettering with a white outline); the Chief Wahoo logo is on the left sleeve. When the blue jerseys are worn on the road, the team complements them with an alternate road cap that is also navy with the Chief Wahoo logo on the front. When the blue jerseys are worn at home, The team has the option of either wearing the standard home cap or an alternate red cap with a navy block “C”.
For all games, the team uses a navy batting helmet with a red block “C” on the front.