The Cleveland Indians’ history of heartbreak in the postseason is well known, but they also have another interesting streak that they would like to break.
The Cleveland Indians‘ history with the World Series is well known. With the Cubs having ended their own 108 year old curse in 2016, the Indians became the franchise that had gone the longest since winning the World Series, with that last triumph occurring back in 1948.
In those days, the Indians had quite a formidable team. The first American League team to integrate, Cleveland got important contributions from Larry Doby and the aging Satchel Paige. Lou Boudreau was not only the manager of the team, but he also led the league with a 10.3 bWAR and was named the MVP. Hall of Famers Joe Gordon, Bob Feller, and Bob Lemon played important parts in their success.
Cleveland has had some close misses along the way. The 1997 World Series against the Marlins was particularly painful, as they were one inning away from winning it all before losing Game Seven in 11 innings. History repeated itself in 2016, as Cleveland held a 3-1 lead in the World Series before the Cubs managed to snatch the title away in another extra inning Game Seven.
While the Indians’ struggles in the postseason are well known, there is another painful streak that they can claim. It has been 66 years since a member of the Indians won the MVP award, also the longest current streak in the majors.
That last MVP award was won by Al Rosen in 1953. He had an absolutely incredible season that year, leading the AL with 115 runs, 43 homers, 145 RBI, and a .613 slugging percentage. Rosen also finished second in the league with a .336 batting average, as he was 0.0016 points behind Mickey Vernon for the batting title. Just one more hit would have given Rosen the Triple Crown.
It is surprising that Cleveland has gone that long without an MVP. Rocky Colavito came close, finishing third and fourth in consecutive years before being shipped to Detroit. When the Indians brought him back in 1965, he finished fifth in the balloting. Jose Ramirez finished third in 2018, just as Michael Brantley did in 2014. Even with their great teams in the 1990s, the Indians were never able to capture that reward either.
With the Cleveland Indians in a soft rebuild, both streaks appear as though they will continue through 2020. Unless, of course, both the Indians and someone on their roster surprise us all.