Indians by the Numbers — #22

via (Hy Peskin Collection, not hype skin.)


People often speak of intangibles — you know, those strangely mysterious qualities athletes have that don’t show up in box scores or on the back of baseball cards. Whether they be grit, leadership, guile, intelligence, or will, these abstract entities entitle the normally less-talented David Ecksteins of the universe a seat at the sports star table.

So I propose a quandary:

Can a player’s name — his birthright or patrimony — be considered as one of these intangibles, that help him rise above his lackluster talent level to excel beyond his mortal abilities?

Consider the case of Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish.

Or Cal, for short.

McLish was burdened with a mantle of expectation from his first day forward with the triumphs of a two-time President, a conqueror of ancient worlds, and the capital of the Choctaw nation (Tuskahoma is Choctaw for "Red Warrior.)

What is a Cleveland Indian, but a red (and mostly blue) warrior?

We can argue indefinitely whether or not Cal McLish was certainly better than Brian Giles, whose middle name is a rather pedestrian Stephen, or James … Blair … Bibby.

Both Giles and Bibby went on to slightly more formidable careers in Pittsburgh, while McLish methodically pitched his way out of baseball in short stints Cincinnati, Chicago and Philadelphia.

What we know is this:

McLish won 46 games over a span of four seasons, with an ERA+ of 113. A product of a better overall team in Cleveland than his predecessors in Pittsburgh and Chicago (NL), McLish took advantage of moving into a starting role in 1958 and responded with a 16 win season in 30 starts. A year later, he made 32 starts and won 19 of 27 decisions. He hurled 13 complete games in both seasons, was an All Star in 1958, and an top-15 MVP candidate in both 1958 and 1959.

True, both Bibby and Giles accumulated more WAR (7.0 and 6.8, respectively) than McLish (6.2) in their short tenures, but Giles was on the wrong end of potentially the worst deal in modern Indians history, and Bibby was granted free agency at the end of 1978.

McLish was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds for Johnny Temple, who had two mediocre seasons (one of which he was a dubious All-Star) for the Tribe.

He would later work as a pitching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies (1965-1966), Montréal Expos (1969-1975) and Milwaukee Brewers (1976-1982.)

Cal McLish may indeed be a curious choice for this honor, perhaps getting by more on his namesake than his actual baseball talents.

One Year Wonderfuls

Juan Gonzalez — Gonzalez’s monster 2001 season was almost enough to put him atop this post. Before returning to Texas and the twilight of his career, Juan Gone put up a .325/.370/.590 148 OPS+ season with 35 HR and 140 RBI. Gonzalez finished 5th in the AL MVP vote for the last Indians division winner of the John Hart era.

Wesley Cheek Farrell — Had Farrell stuck with #22 beyond 1929, we would mosty likely be looking at his face in the image above. Farrell switched to #14 beginning the 1930 season, in which he won 25 games, his second consecutive 20-win season. Farrell’s 25.6 WAR ranks 13th in Cleveland Indians pitching history.

One Year Wonders

Wes Farrell, Joe Shaute, Joe Boley, Boze Berger, Milt Galatzer, John Kroner, Al J Smith, Jim McDonnell, Eddie Carnett , Vic Johnson, Joe Berry, Red Embree, Mike Garcia, Johnny Vander Meer, Ron Taylor, Jose Vidal, Tony Martin, Lou Johnson, Tommy McCraw, Ron Lolich, Bert Blyleven, Fran Mullins, Frank Wills, Keith Atherton, Carlos Martinez, Luis Lopez, Dave Rohde, Glenallen Hill, Mark Langston, Mike Mohler, Juan Gonzalez and Jason Kipnis all wore uniform #22 for only one season.

The All-Time List

Wes Farrell SP, RP (1929) 21-10, 43 G, 25 GS, 3.60 ERA, 242.2 IP, 124 ERA+; #14 in 1930

Joe Shaute RP (1930) 0-0, 4 G, 0 GS, 15.43 ERA, 4.2 IP, 33 ERA+; #12 in 1929

Belve Bean RP (1930-1931) 3-4, 27 G, 3 GS, 5.53 ERA, 81.1 IP, 87 ERA+

Joe Boley SS (1932) 000/000/000, -100 OPS+, 1 PA

Boze Berger SS (1932) 250/250/250, 25 OPS+, 4 PA

Milt Galatzer RF, LF (1933) 238/333/281, 60 OPS+, 186 PA

Thornton Lee RP (1934, 1936) 4-6, 67 G, 14 GS, 4.96 ERA, 212.2 IP, 99 ERA+; traded to White Sox, White Sox sent Jack Salveson to the Senators, Senators sent Earl Whitehill to Indians

John Kroner 2B, 3B (1937) 237/292/314, 54 OPS+, 315 PA; sold to Red Sox

Roy Weatherly CF (1938-1942) 1941: 286/331/410, 97 OPS+, 2105 PA; finished 11th in MVP voting in 1940; traded to Yankees with Oscar Grimes for Roy Cullenbine and Buddy Rosar

Al J Smith SP (1941) 2-1, 3 G, 3 GS, 1.80 ERA, 25 IP; also wore #32 this season; most likely wore #22 for last 3 starts, if at all

Jim McDonnell C (1943) 000/667/000, 108 OPS+, 3 PA

Jim Bagby Jr SP (1944-1945) 12-16, 38 G, 29 GS, 3.93 ERA, 238.1 IP, 83 ERA+

Eddie Carnett LF, RF (1945) 219/250/315, 67 OPS+, 76 PA; traded by White Sox for Oris Hockett

Vic Johnson RP (1946) 0-1, 9 G, 1 GS, 9.22 ERA, 13.2 IP, 37 ERA+; traded by Red Sox for Jim Bagby Jr

Joe Berry RP (1946) 3-6, 21 G, 0 GS, 3.38 ERA, 37.1 IP, 99 ERA+; purchased from Athletics

Red Embree SP (1947) 8-10, 27 G, 21 GS, 3.15 ERA, 162.2 IP, 111 ERA+; traded to Yankees for Allie Clark

Mike Garcia RP (1948) 0-0, 1 G, 0 GS, 0.00 ERA, 2.0 IP; Bref also has him wearing #7, but since he was in only one game and Rosen only wore #7 this season, I feel #7 is incorrect for Garcia.

Al Benton RP (1949-1950) 13-8, 76 G, 11 GS, 2.58 ERA, 198.2 IP, 159 ERA+; purchased from Tigers; sold to Sacramento (PCL)

Johnny Vander Meer SP (1951) 0-1, 1 G, 1 GS, 18.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 24 ERA+

Sam Jones RP (1951-1952) 2-4, 16 G, 5 GS, 6.25 ERA, 44.2 IP, 56 ERA+; traded to Cubs with Gale Wade (PTBNL) for Ralph Kiner (PTBNL)

Dave Hoskins RP (1953-1954) 9-4, 40 G, 8 GS, 3.81 ERA, 139.1 IP, 99 ERA+; also #51 and #52 in 1953

Cal McLish RP, SP (1956-1959) 46-27, 153 G, 71 GS, 3.35 ERA, 667 IP, 113 ERA+; also #33 in 1956; All Star in 1959; 14th in 1958 and 11th in 1959 in MVP voting; traded with Gordy Coleman and Billy Martin to Reds for Johnny Temple

Dick Stigman RP, SP (1960-1961) 7-16, 63 G, 24 GS, 4.55 ERA, 198 IP, 84 ERA+; All Star in 1960; traded with Vic Power to Twins for Pedro Ramos

Ron Taylor SP, RP (1962) 2-2, 8 G, 4 GS, 5.94 ERA, 33.1 IP, 66 ERA+; also #20; traded with Jack Kubiszyn to Cardinals for Fred Whitfield

Al Luplow PH, RF, LF (1963-1965) 215/293/316, 71 OPS+, 400 PA; sold to Mets

Tony Martinez PH, SS, 2B, PR (1966) 294/333/294, 83 OPS+, 18 PA

Jose Vidal RF, PH, CF (1966) 188/297/281, 68 OPS+, 37 PA

Willie Smith PH, 1B, LF (1967-1968) 176/225/230, 37 OPS+, 80 PA; purchased from Angels; traded to Cubs for Lou Johnson

Lou Johnson LF, RF (1968) 257/298/396, 110 OPS+, 218 PA; traded by Cubs for Willie Smith; traded to Angels for Chuck Hinton

Ted Ford RF, PH, CF, LF (1970-1971) 190/228/256, 32 OPS+, 256 PA; traded to Rangers for Roy Foster and Tommy McCraw

Tommy McCraw LF, RF, CF, PH (1972) 258/333/371, 106 OPS+, 442 PA; also #1 in 77; traded by Rangers with Roy Foster for Ted Ford; traded with Bob Marcano to Angels for Leo Cardenas

Ron Lolich RF, PH, DH (1973) 229/265/321, 63 OPS+, 148 PA; purchased from White Sox

Leron Lee LF, PH (1974-1975) 224/275/337, 76 OPS+, 274 PA; claimed off waivers from Padres

Jim Bibby SP, RP (1975-1977) 30-29, 95 G, 63 GS, 3.36 ERA, 482.2 IP, 112 ERA+; traded with Jackie Brown and Rick Waits from Rangers for Gaylord Perry

Ted Cox 3B, LF, PH, DH (1978-1979) 224/279/291, 58 OPS+, 461 PA; traded with Bo Diaz, Mike Paxton amd Rick Wise from Red Sox for Dennis Eckersley and Fred Kendall; traded to Mariners for Rob Pietroburgo, Rafael Vasquez and Bud Anderson (PTBNL)

Bert Blyleven SP (1981) 11-7, 20 G, 20 GS, 2.88 ERA, 159.1 IP, 127 ERA+; switched to #28 at some point in 1981 when Manning switched to #20; traded with Manny Sanguillen by Pirates for Gary Alexander, Victor Cruz, Bob Owchinko and Rafael Vazquez

Mike Fischlin SS, 2B, PR, 3B (1981-1985) 235/312/299, 69 OPS+, 855 PA; traded by Astros for Jim Lentine (PTBNL); traded to Yankees for Kevin Trudeau (PTBNL)

Fran Mullins 2B, SS (1986) 175/209/275, 32 OPS+, 44 PA; purchased from Giants

Frank Wills RP (1987) 0-1, 6 G, 0 GS, 5.06 ERA, 5.1 IP, 95 ERA+; also #44

Brad Havens RP (1988-1989) 2-3, 35 G, 0 GS, 3.31 ERA, 70.2 IP, 124 ERA+

Keith Atherton RP (1989) 0-3, 32 G, 0 GS, 4.15 ERA, 39 IP, 97 ERA+; also #38; traded from Twins for Carmelo Castillo

Candy Maldonado LF, RF, DH, PH (1990, 1993-1994) 261/331/446, 113 OPS+, 856 PA; traded by Cubs for Glenallen Hill for second tour with Tribe

Luis Lopez PH, C, 1B (1991) 220/261/293, 53 OPS+, 89 PA

Carlos Martinez DH, 1B (1991) 284/310/397, 94 OPS+, 275 PA

Dave Rohde 3B (1992) 000/222/000, -32 OPS+, 9 PA; traded with Kenny Lofton from Astros for Willie Blair and Ed Taubensee

Glenallen Hill RF, DH, PH, LF (1993) 224/268/374, 71 OPS+, 191 PA; traded to Cubs for Candy Maldanado

Brian Giles LF, PH, DH, RF, CF (1996-1998) 281/389/481, 123 OPS+, 1024 PA; traded to Pirates for Ricardo Rincon

Mark Langston RP (1999) 1-2, 25 G, 5 GS, 5.25 ERA, 61.2 IP, 96 ERA+

Mike Mohler RP (2000) 0-1, 2 G, 0 GS, 9.0 ERA, 1.0 IP, 66 ERA+

Juan Gonzalez RF, DH (2001) 325/370/590, 148 OPS+, 595 PA; All Star, Silver Slugger, 5th in MVP voting; ;

Jason Kipnis 2B (2011) 272/333/507, 131 OPS+, 150 PA

Statistics and such

Other fun facts, the uniform #22 has been worn 82 times by 51 different players covering 69 seasons of a possible 83 seasons since 1929. Uniform #22 was shared in a season thirteen times, 1930, 1932, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1951, 1966, 1968, 1975, 1981, 1989, 1991 and 1993.

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