Let It Be*
Starring as Paul McCartney on Bluthner piano: Charles Nagy
A Bridgeport, CT native, Charles Harrison Nagy attended high school at Roger Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, CT. He excelled in both baseball and football. After securing a scholarship at the University of Connecticut, he would go on to earn Big East pitcher of the year in 1987 and 1988. The Tribe drafted him with the 17th pick of the first round in a988, making him the first UConn Huskie to be drafted that high.
He did not report right away to the Indians minor league system as he was tabbed as member of the 1988 Seoul Olympic team. He and the rest of the USA team won demonstration medals for beating Japan. In 1989, the Indians started him of at Kinston (Carolina-A+) and he dominated, 8-4 in 13 starts, 1.51 ERA and 99 K in 95.1 IP. He was promoted to Canton-Akron (Eastern-AA) and ended up 4-5 in 14 starts and a 3.35 ERA with 65 K in 94 IP. Prior to 1990, Baseball America dubbed him the #27 prospect. Nagy repeated AA and definitely improved, 13-8 in 23 starts, 2.52 ERA, 99 K in 175 IP. He made three starts right before the All-Star break and then returned in late August, this time for good. As he still qualified as a rookie, Baseball America this time slotted him at #56 heading into 1991.
Nagy would become a mainstay in the rotation from 1991 through 1999, with one hiccup in 1993 where he only made 9 starts due to a torn labrum. His first full season in 1991 was nothing special, 10-15 and a 4.13 ERA (101 ERA+) in 33 starts, but he did place 8th in Rookie of the Year voting. He broke out in 1992, 17-10 with a 2.96 ERA (132 ERA+) and 169 K in 252 IP, making the All-Star team and finishing 7th in Cy Young voting. Nagy looked fully recovered from his injury in 1994, 10-8 with a 3.45 ERA (135 ERA+) in 23 starts. But in the magical 1995 season, he was barely league average, 16-6 with a 4.55 ERA (103 ERA+) in 29 starts, but due to the wins and the dominant roster he still finished 8th in Cy Young voting. 1996 was his Nagy’s last dominant season, 17-5, 3.41 ERA (143 ERA+) in 32 starts with another All-Star nod and 4th in Cy Young voting.
From 1997-1999, Nagy would be 47-32 but with a 4.80 ERA (100 ERA+) and only a 5.6 K/9 rate. Even with those poor numbers, he still made the All-Star team in 1999. After making 192 consecutive starts, Nagy hit the DL in May 2000 with bone chips in his elbow. He would never return to form, making only 31 starts in 45 appearances from 2000-2002 with an alarming 7.67 ERA (60 ERA+) and a 1.722 WHIP. As his contract was done in 2002, the Tribe let him go and he had five uneventful appearances for the Padres in 2003. He is the current Diamondbacks pitching coach.
Nagy finished his Tribe career in the Top 10 in the following categories: W – 10th (129); IK – 6th (1235); GS – 6th (297), HR – 2nd (217), H – 7th (2173), L- 8th (103); ER – 5th (974); WP – T-7th (45); HBP – T-9th (51). He also accumulated 22.6 WAR over his 13 year Tribe career.
Starring as John Lennon on six-string electric bass: Victor Martinez
Born in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, Victor Jesus Martinez was one of four children his mother Margot raised after Victor’s father passed away suddenly of a heart attack when he was still a boy. Victor’s boyhood baseball idol was Ozzie Guillen, so he became a shortstop when he started playing softball. Most of the kids on the time switch-hit, so Victor learned that as well. He moved onto hardball shortly thereafter and proved adept in the field and could hit well from both sides of the plate. As his skills improved, so did the competition. As a teenager he was soon playing with adults.
As a beefy six foot teenager with decent speed and a cannon arm at shortstop, it did not take long for him to be noticed by scouts. Indians scout Luis Aponte signed him for $8,000 in 1996 at the age of 17. At the Indians training center in 1996, the coached were unsure if Victor should stick at shortstop. He may have already outgrown the position, still had the cannon arm and a potent bat. Coach Minnie Mendoza informed him in 1997 that Victor would be converted to catcher as the Indians farm system was short on backstops.
Victor almost didn’t report in 1997 because he thought the position move meant he was a failure, but his mother intervened and he ended up being one of the best catchers in the Venezuelan Summer League that year, leading the league in hitting at .343. He repeated the VSL in 1998 and while focusing on the defensive aspects, his average dipped to .269. The front office still thought highly enough of him to move him up to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (New York-Penn League-A-) in 1999. His first USA season finished at 277/346/366 in 269 PA and Victor met CC Sabathia for the first time that year, catching him and Ryan Drese en route to the Scrappers winning the league.
Martinez jumped two levels to the Kinston (NC) Indians (Carolina-A+) in 2000, but struggled mightily at the plate, 217/313/301 in 99 PA. After a slight demotion down to the Columbus (GA) Red Stixx (South Atlantic-A), he reclaimed his hitting stroke, 371/452/614 in 84 PA. He repeated Kinston in 2001 and was the league MVP, 329/394/488 10 HR in 470 PA, bumping him up many a Tribe prospect list as well as #97 on Baseball America’s top 100. He received a spring training in 2002 and was able to work with Eddie Murray a bit, and he felt his bat would hit in the major leagues at that moment. But his defensive skills needed some more refining. Victor moved up to the Akron Aeros (Eastern-AA), claimed another MVP, 336/417/576 22 HR in 515 PA. He also got a cup of coffee in September, wearing #63 and got some footwork and throwing mechanics tips from Joel Skinner.
His MVP season earned Victor the #16 Baseball America ranking heading into 2003. He opened in the season with the Buffalo Bisons (International-AAA) and didn’t disappoint, 328/395/474 in 314 PA despite getting pitched around a bit. He was recalled on June 28 and became the semi-regular catcher with Josh Bard while wearing number #20. He hit 289/345/333 in his 174 MLB AB which shot his chance for Rookie of the Year voting in 2004. In 2004, he switched to #41 and had a fantastic first full year in the majors, 283/359/492 125 OPS+ with 23 HR and 108 RBI, making the All-Star team, earning his only Silver Slugger and finishing 21st in MVP voting. The 2005 season was more of the same, 305/378/475 130 OPS+, but his RBI dropped to 80 so the only accolades received was 18th in MVP voting. He was his usual self in 2006, 316/391/465 122 OPS+, but he had his best season in 2007, 301/374/505 129 OPS+, 25 HR, 114 RBI, a second All-Star nod and 7th in MVP voting.
However, 2008 was his first down year, albeit because of an injury. Only getting into 73 games, his 88 OPS+ was the lowest of his career since assuming full time status. In 2009, he started off very well again, 284/368/464 122 OPS+ and making a third All-Star game, but signing a 30 year old catcher to a long term deal is not a wise investment, so at the trade deadline, he was dealt for Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price.
Victor’s final numbers in the #41 jersey are most impressive, 297/371/470, 118 OPS+, 3239 PA. His eight years in Cleveland were not quite long enough to hit many of the Top 10 lists, but he is 9th in SF (38), 5th in IBB (47) and 9th in GIDP.
And the reason he was not signed to a long term deal was because of ….
Starring as George Harrison on guitar: Carlos Santana
Originally signed by the Dodgers in August 2004, Carlos Santana is a Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native. He reported to the Gulf Coast League Dodgers (Vero Beach-Rookie) and showed he could hit, an 823 OPS in 97 PA, but was a man without a position, playing 3B, F, RF, 2B, and 3 games at C. He opened the 2006 season with the Ogden Raptors (Pioneer-Rookie) in RF and his 938 OPS in 168 PA earned him a jump all the way to the Vero Beach Dodgers (Florida State-A+) playing 3B and LF and a 729 OPS in 223 PA as a 20 year old.
In 2007 he was bumped down to the Great Lakes Loons (Midland, MI; Midwest-A) where he started his conversion to being a catcher. His OPS took a hit down to 688 that year. In 2008, he got a second crack at A+ ball, playing for the Inland Empire 66ers (San Bernardino, CA-California League) and recaptured hi hitting stroke, a delicious 323/431/563 and 14 HR and 96 RBI in 434 PA as a 22 year old. When the Dodgers looked for one last bat for their playoff run, the Tribe happily obliged grinder Casey Blake for Santana. After reporting to the Kinston Indians, he smoked the ball even hotter, 352/452/590 in 126 PA earning a late season call up to the Akron Aeros (8 PA).
Heading into 2009, Santana had jumped to the #26 prospect by Baseball America, and he did not disappoint, hitting 290/413/530 23 HR and 97 RBI in 535 PA. Although his bat was ready for the majors, he still needed a bit more seasoning behind the plate, so in 2009 he opened with the Columbus Clippers and hit even better, 316/447/597 in 246 PA before getting called up to take over behind the dish in Cleveland. His first foray was very good indeed, 260/401/467 143 OPS+ in 192 PA before a scary knee injury in Boston shut him down in early August. Due to the injury, he still qualified for Baseball America’s rankings for 2010, which he was named #10, but not for Rookie of the Year voting. His first full season in 2011 showed he could survive as he hit 239/351/808 126 OPS+ and 27 HR and 79 RBI in 658 PA. This was good enough for the front office to extend him through the 2016 season with a team option for 2017.
Starring as Ringo Starr on drums: Dick Tidrow
There were not many other options for the fourth of this quartet, but the best remaining player was Richard William Tidrow. A fourth round pick in the January Secondary draft of 1967 from Chabot College (Hayward, CA), Tidrow signed in May of that year. He had 35 nondescript IP for the Rock Hill (SC) Indians (Western Carolinas-A) and the Reno Silver Sox (California-A). He was injured most of 1968, only 8 IP in 6 appearances for Reno, but found his stride in 1969. He finished 15-6 in 25 starts and 2.65 ERA and 9.1 K/9 and 3.94 K/BB ratio. In 1970 he split time between Reno and the Wichita Aeros (American Association-AAA). He repeated the same journey in 1971 and won a spot in the Cleveland rotation in 1972.
His rookie season was very promising, 14-15 in 34 starts, 2.77 ERA (117 ERA+) in 237.1 IP and 1.138 WHIP. His EAR ballooned in 1973, 4.42 (89 ERA+) while going 14-16 and throwing 274.2 IP. He was off to a rough start in 1974 but was a piece in the Chris Chambliss trade with the Yankees that netted the Indians Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, Steve Kline and Fritz Peterson. He is second in IP for #41 behind Nagy and finished his Cleveland career with a 29-34 record, 3.78 ERA (96 ERA+) in 531 IP. He is currently the scouting director for the San Francisco Giants.
Starring as Billy Preston on organ: Felix Mackiewicz
In 1945, the starting centerfielder for the Tribe was Felix Thaddeus Mackiewicz. Like Preston’s short but helpful assistance with some of the Beatles tracks, Felix a brief shining moment in Cleveland. He hit 273/356/368 115 OPS+ in 410 PA his one and only season as a starter. He moved to a backup role in 1946 and switched to #17 in the process. In 1947 he switched to #35, but only lasted 6 PA before the Washington Senators claimed him on waivers.
*The phrase Let It Be is sung 41 times by Paul McCartney during the song.
The One Year Wonders
Felix Mackiewicz, Art Houtteman, Mike Hedlund, Bobby Tiefenauer, Ron Law, Steve Arlin, Tom Brennan and Rich Thompson all wore uniform #41 for only one season.
The All-Time List
Felix Mackiewicz CF (1945) 273/356/368, 115 OPS+, 410 PA; switched to #17 in 1946
Art Houtteman SP, RP (1953) 7-7, 22 G, 13 GS, 3.80 ERA, 109 IP, 98 ERA+; traded with Owen Friend, Joe Ginsberg and Bill Wight by Tigers for Steve Gromek, Ray Boone, Dick Weik and Al Aber; also #29 and #11 in 1953; switched to #11 in 1954
Mike Hedlund RP (1965) 0-0, 6 G, 0 GS, 5.06 ERA, 5.1 IP, 75 ERA+; switched to #36 in 1968
Ron Law RP (1969) 3-4, 35 G, 1 GS, 4.99 ERA, 52.1 IP, 76 ERA+; drafted from Cubs in minor league draft; traded with Dave Nelson and Horacio Pina to Senators for Barry Moore and Dennis Higgins
Dick Tidrow SP (1972-1974) 29-34, 85 G, 78 GS, 3.78 ERA, 531 IP, 96 ERA+; traded with Chris Chambliss and Cecil Upshaw to Yankees for Tom Buskey, Steve Kline, Fritz Peterson and Fred Beene
Steve Arlin SP (1974) 2-5, 11 G, 10 GS, 6.60 ERA, 43.2 IP, 55 ERA+; traded by Padres for Brent Strom (PTBNL) and Terry Ley (PTBNL)
Pat Dobson SP (1976-1977) 19-24, 68 G, 52 GS, 4.49 ERA, 350.2 IP, 81 ERA+; traded by Yankees for Oscar Gamble
Paul Reuschel RP (1978-1979) 4-5, 35 G, 7 GS, 4.73 ERA, 135 IP, 83 ERA+; traded by Cubs for Dennis DeBarr
Tom Brennan RP (1982) 4-2, 30 G, 4 GS, 4.27 ERA, 92.2 IP, 97 ERA+; also #45 in 1982; was #45 in 1981; switched to #45 in 1983
Charles Nagy SP (1990-2002) 129-103, 313 G, 297 GS, 4.51 ERA, 1942.1 IP, 101 ERA+; 8th in Rookie of the Year voting in 1991; All-Star in 1992, 1996 and 1999; 7th in 1992, 6th in 1995, 4th in 1996 in Cy Young voting
Victor Martinez C, 1B (2004-2009) 297/371/470, 118 OPS+, 3239 PA; All-Star in 2004, 2007 and 2009; Silver Slugger in 2004; 21st in 2004, 18th in 2005, 7th in 2007 and 21st in 2009 in MVP voting; traded to Red Sox for Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price
Carlos Santana C, 1B (2010-2012) 244/362/459, 129 OPS+, 850 PA; traded with Jon Meloan by Dodgers for Casey Blake (2012 stats not included)
Statistics and such
Other fun facts, the uniform #41 has been worn 39 times by 15 different players covering 37 seasons of a possible 84 seasons since 1929. Uniform #41 was shared in a season twice, 1974 and 1982.
As great as Victor was, I chose Nagy as the top #41, by just a hair.
Yes, Let It Be said Nagy is the best #41 (10 votes)
No, Let It Be said Victor surpassed him (13 votes)
You so crazy, Carlos will pass them both with flying colors (1 vote)
24 total votes