Well let’s get back to Teepee Talk. The 2017 Indians pulled off a 21 game win streak this week, and have passed the 2002 Oakland Athletics in the 20’s club. What you might find surprising, is the fact that this is the second team to in Indian franchise history to have such a winning team, right behind Lou Brown’s 1988 Indians.
The Oakland Athletics actually found inspiration for their 2002 roster from the example of the ’88 Indians. Both teams had a mix of low pick guys, so low in fact that the Indians had to cross a guy off the list, because he was actually dead. Both teams needed some work getting into shape. The Indians had fielders side stepping grounders, because they were afraid to get in front of the ball, the A’s had guys terrified to bat, heck the Indians had a guy who couldn’t hit any other pitch other than a fastball down the middle.
While the 2002 A’s were stacked with an awesome pitching core, the Indians, not so much. The Indians were skilled improvisers, and without an awesome pitching core they had to rely on the pitching system. Eddie Harris was a great pitcher back in the day, but in ’88 he was throwing a snot ball to get that extra dip on his breaking ball. Ricky Vaugh, had monster speed on his heater, but he struggled under pressure, especially against Haywood of the Yankees. The common denominator in this pitching system was Jake Taylor, the Indians catcher. Taylor took over the leadership role of the team, but he also played a crucial role while catching. He had the uncanny ability to get in the batter’s head, in order to distract them from the incoming pitch. This strategy, while not condoned, aided the team in their victories.
These victories were of the utmost importance to the ’88 Indians. It was uncovered that the owner was attempting to tank the team in order to move the franchise to Miami, Florida, and winning became the only option. For many of the players the ’88 season would be their last, while a few had potential to become free agents. Regardless of the aftermath the drive to win was the most important thing, and win they did. 32 wins put the Indians in first, their franchise was safe, and history was made.
So good job 2017 Indians, you made history, but never forget the 1988 Indians who scalped their way through the league so you can enjoy your time now.