100% Pure Gold*
Although Jack Bauer was the most recent pop culture phenomenon, the number 24 has many references in history. Besides Hall of Famers Willie Mays, and Sam Jones of the Celtics, 24 is also the number of chapters in both Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, which is apropos for the most celebrated Tribe #24, Manuel Aristides (Onelcida) Ramirez, who has a bit of an eccentric journey himself.
Originally born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Manny grew up in New York and attended George Washington High School in Manhattan. He was a 3 time All-City selection and the New York City Public School Player of the Year in 1991. He obviously caught the eye of many scouts because of those eye-catching high school numbers, but was luckily still available at #13 in the June 1991 draft, where Hank Peters (and John Hart) selected him based on Mickey White’s input.
He would sign on June 5 of 1991 and reported to the Burlington Indians (Appalachian – Rookie). He had an excellent 326/426/679 slash in 258 PA, which got him the #37 BA prospect heading into his 1992 season for the Kinston Indians (Carolina – A+) His numbers went slightly down, 278/379/502, but that did not faze the scouts as BA moved him up to #13, heading to Canton-Akron Indians (Eastern – AA) for the 1992 season. As a 21 year old, he lit up the league with 32 2B, 17 HR and 79 RBI and a 340/414/581 slash in 396 PA, earning him a midseason call-up to the Charlotte Knights (International – AAA) where he continued to mash, 12 2B, 14 HR 36 RBI 317/424/690 in only 177 PA. This would get him his cup of coffee in 1993 as well, receiving 55 PA in 22 games.
He would open the 1994 season as the starting RF, hitting 269/357/521 125 OPS+ in 336 PA in the strike season of 1994. That would earn him a second place finish as Rookie of the Year, behind hammerin’ Bob Hamelin. Between 1995 and 1998, Man-Ram would be a model of superior consistency; achieving a 147, 146, 144 and 146 OPS+ in each of those seasons, averaging 96 RS, 36 2B, 34 HR, 113 RBI and a 310/398/570 slash over those four seasons, with All-Star appearances in 1995, 1998 a Silver Slugger in 1995, and also finishing 12th in MVP voting in 1995 and 6th in 1998 as well.
As superb as he was in those four seasons, Manny would become All-Universe in 1999, 131 RS, 34 2B, 44 HR, 165 RBI (leading the league), 333/442/663 173 OPS+ (leading the league) an All-Star appearance, Silver Slugger and somehow only 3rd in MVP voting (behind I-Rod and Pedro and tied with Robbie Alomar). In 2000, Manny would play 29 fewer games than in 1999, but still put up an incredible season of 92 RS, 34 2B, 38 HR, 122 RBI, 351/457/697 186 OPS+ and another All-Star, Silver Slugger and only 6th in the MVP voting.
It would be here that Manny being Manny would really get his Odyssey going, moving over to the Red Sox and continuing his mashing ways, averaging 36 HR, 114 RBI, and 313/412/594 157 OPS+ over the next 7 years. He would drift over his final years from the Dodgers to the White Sox and to the Rays, where he would retire unexpectedly after testing positive for a banned PED. Most of his Manny moments occurred as a member of the Red Sox, cutting off a Johnny Damon relay resulting in an inside the park home run, disappearing into the Green Monster, re-using his grandmother’s death to skip team events, and of course not running out ground balls, but rather heading back to the dugout. In Cleveland, he had a couple moments as well: getting caught stealing first base when he stole second, thought Thome had fouled the ball and was thrown out going back to first; receiving three tickets from a Cleveland officer for windows tinted too dark, music too loud and an illegal driver’s license. The officer told him "I’m going to give you a ticket," Manny replied "I don’t need any tickets, I can give you tickets" and opens his glove box to hand a few to the officer. And then as he left, the officer gave him a fourth ticket for an illegal U-turn.
* The number of carats representing 100% pure gold.
A Brief History
Jeff Heath who also wore the #24 for eight seasons like Manny, was a fantastic outfielder as well for the wartime Indians. He was not quite as consistent, but still only had one season under a 100 OPS+, in 1940. Otherwise, he has seasons of 145, 117, 162, 128, 155, and 158 OPS+ while wearing #24. He led the league in triples twice (18 in 1938 and 20 in 1941), finished in the MVP voting three times and also had 2 All-Star appearances. Heath is third all-time in games played in left field for the Tribe, and his best season was probably that 1941 season, 89 RS, 32 2B, 20 3B, 24 HR, 123 RBI and a 340/396/586 162 OPS+ in 643 PA. He is the only Tribe player ever to have 20 doubles, triples and homers in the same season and is fifth all-time in triples with 83.
When Heath switched to #4 in 1945, Dutch Meyer would take over #24 upon his return from World War II. The starting 2B that season, he would have a good year of 292/342/418 125 OPS+. He would switch to #3 in 1946, slumping badly and becoming a minor league journeyman after that.
After the World Championship season of 1948, the Tribe traded Eddie Robinson, Ed Klieman and Joe Haynes to the Senators for Mickey Vernon and Early Wynn. Before being acquired by the Tribe, Wynn was a slightly below average starter, 72-87 in 168 GS and a 92 ERA+ in 1266.2 IP. But the move to Cleveland would prove very fruitful as in 1950, Wynn would lead the league in ERA (3.20) and WHIP (1.250), finishing 18-8 in 28 GS and a 135 ERA+. As a member of the Big 4, he would win 20 games four times in 9 years. His nine years are currently the longest to don the #24. After slumping in 1957, 4.31 ERA (87 ERA+) at the age of 37, Wynn was dealt to White Sox with Al Smith for Minnie Minos and Fred Hatfield.
Early would have one more glorious season with the rival White Sox, finishing 22-10 and 3.17 ERA (120 ERA+) earning his lone Cy Young award at the ripe old age of 39. He would make a return to the Tribe one last time in 1963 (wearing #38) at age 43 before calling it quits and earning a Hall of Fame induction in 1972. Wynn is in the Tribe Top 10 of many pitching categories (WAR, W, IP, K, CG, SHO to name a few). Normally a Hall-of-Famer would be a cinch #1, but Manny was just that good.
When Phil Segui traded Graig Nettles to the Yankees prior to the 1973 season, at least one of the 4 players received was fairly average, Charlie Spikes. The outfielder played 5 seasons in Cleveland, finishing with a 246/305/392 98 OPS+ in 2025 PA. His best year was in 1974, 271/319/431 116 OPS+ 612 PA, but that would be his only positive OPS+ season. He would be traded for the bat challenged Tom Veryzer in the 1977 offseason.
And then we come to the most recent #24, Grady Sizemore. One of the pieces of the Bartolo Colon deal in June 2002, Grady would make his first appearance in 2004. He was scheduled to start the 2005 season in the minors, but Juan Gonzalez had
that ill-fated injury in his first, and only, plate appearance in Game 1 an injury just before the season started, opening a spot in the outfield. Although technically not a rookie (having 159 PA in 2004), Sizemore would finish his first full season with a nice 289/348/484 123 OPS+ line, and finishing 23rd in MVP voting. From 2006-2008, he would average 42 2B, 7 3B, 28 HR, 118 RS, 81 RBI, 31 SB and 279/380/879 130 OPS+ in 748 PA. He would be an All-Star each year, win two Gold Gloves, a Sliver Slugger and finish in the Top 12 in MVP voting each season. Grady would have become the top #24 for sure with a few more seasons of those types of numbers, but alas, the injury bug has derailed his last 3 seasons. In 2012, Sizemore will tie Wynn for number of seasons wearing #24, but it is doubtful he will ever achieve his past glory.
The One Year Wonders
Sal Gliatto, Roxie Lawson, Monte Pearson, Denny Galehouse, Lefty Stewart, Al Milnar, Blas Monaco, Ken Jungels, Harry Eisenstat, Cal Dorsett, Dutch Meyer, Buster Mills, Bob Kennedy, Barry Latman, Richie Scheinblum, Rod Craig, Rick Dempsey, Terry Francona, Stan Jefferson, Reggie Jefferson, Glenallen Hill and Rick White all wore uniform #24 for only one season.
The All-Time List
Sal Gliatto RP (1930) 0-0, 8 G, 0 GS, 6.60 ERA, 15 IP, 74 ERA+
Roxie Lawson RP (1931) 0-2, 17 G, 3 GS, 7.60 ERA, 55.2 IP, 61 ERA+
Monte Pearson RP (1932) 0-0, 8 G, 0 GS, 10.13 ERA, 8 IP, 49 ERA+
Denny Galehouse RP (1934) 0-0, 1 G, 0 GS, 18.00 ERA, 1 IP, 34 ERA+
Lefty Stewart RP, SP (1935) 6-6, 24 G, 10 GS, 5.44 ERA, 91 IP, 84 ERA+; traded by Senators for Belve Bean
Al Milnar SP (1936) 1-2, 4 G, 3 GS, 7.36 ERA, 22 IP, 71 ERA+; also #17, probably wore #24 for 3 Sept starts;
Jeff Heath LF, RF, PH (1937-1944) 297/362/504, 134 OPS+, 3402 PA; also #33 in 1940; switched to #4 in 1945; 11th in 1938, 22nd in 1939 and 8th in 1941 MVP voting, All Star in 1941 and 1943
Blas Monaco 2B, PH (1937) 286/375/571, 137 OPS+, 8 PA; traded with Paul Kardow to Buffalo (International) for Mike McCormick
Ken Jungels RP (1937) 0-0, 2 G, 0 GS, 0.00 ERA, 3 IP
Cal Dorsett RP (1940) 0-0, 1 G, 0 GS, 9.00 ERA, 1 IP, 64 ERA+; BRef also lists #43 in 1940, he only played 1 game, 43 is most likely
Dutch Meyer 2B (1945) 292/342/418, 125 OPS+, 567 PA; traded with Don Ross from Tigers for Roy Cullenbine
Buster Mills LF (1946) 277/353/333, 99 OPS+, 25 PA
Al Gettel SP, RP (1947-1948) 11-11, 36 G, 23 GS, 3.91 ERA, 156.2 IP, 90 ERA+; traded with Gene Bearden and Hal Peck by Yankees for Sherm Lollar and Ray Mack; traded with Pat Seerey to White Sox for Bob Kennedy
Bob Kennedy RF (1948) 301/338/397, 97 OPS+, 80 PA; traded by White Sox for Al Gettel and Pat Seerey
Early Wynn SP (1949-1957) 163-100, 323 G, 291 GS, 3.27 ERA, 2231.1 IP, 118 ERA+; All Star in 1955, 1956, 1957; 16th in 1951, 5th in 1952, 6th in 1954, 20th in 1955 and 13th in 1956 in MVP voting; traded with Mickey Vernon from Senators for Joe Haynes, Ed Klieman and Eddie Robinson; traded with Al Smith to White Sox for Minnie Minoso and Fred Hatfield
Barry Latman SP, RP (1960) 7-7, 31 G, 20 GS, 4.03 ERA, 147.1 IP, 93 ERA+; also #18 and #27 in 1960; traded by White Sox for Herb Score
Bob Allen RP (1961-1962) 4-3, 78 G, 0 GS, 4.33 ERA, 112.1 IP, 91 ERA+
Pedro Gonzalez 2B (1965-1967) 240/278/307, 68 OPS+, 1014 PA; traded by Yankees for Ray Barker
Richie Scheinblum PR, PH (1965) 000/000/000, -100 OPS+, 4 PA
Eddie Leon 2B, SS (1968-1971) 251/309/336, 77 OPS+, 1337 PA
Charlie Spikes RF, LF, PH, DH (1973-1977) 246/305/392, 98 OPS+, 2025 PA; traded with John Ellis, Jerry Kenney and Rusty Torres by Yankees for Graig Nettles and Jerry Moses; traded to Tigers for Tom Veryzer
Rick Dempsey C (1987) 177/295/270, 52 OPS+, 170 PA
Terry Francona DH, PH (1988) 311/324/363, 91 OPS+, 221 PA
Reggie Jefferson 1B (1991) 198/219/287, 39 OPS+, 91 PA; traded by Reds for Tim Costo
Manny Ramirez RF, DH (1993-2000) 313/407/592, 152 OPS+, 4095 PA; 2nd in Rookie of the Year 1994; 4 All Star games; 3 Sliver Sluggers 12th in 1995, 6th in 1998, 3rd in 1999 and 6th in 2000 for MVP voting
Rick White RP (2004) 5-5, 59 G, 0 GS, 5.29 ERA, 78.1 IP, 83 ERA+; also #00; traded by Dodgers for Trey Dyson
Grady Sizemore CF (2004-2011) 269/357/473, 120 OPS+, 4047 PA; 3 All Star games, 1 Silver Slugger, 2 Gold Gloves; 23rd in 2005, 11th in 2006, 12th in 2007 and 10th in 2008 in MVP voting; traded with Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens by Expos for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew
Statistics and such
Other fun facts, the uniform #24 has been worn 80 times by 35 different players covering 71 seasons of a possible 83 seasons since 1929. Uniform #24 was shared in a season eight times, 1937, 1939, 1940, 1948, 1965, 1987, 1991 and 2004. It was shared by three players in 1937.