Book ‘Em Danno
Aloha. Grab your long board and let’s honor the best #50, Jensen Daniel Lewis. The Cincinnati native attended Anderson High School. After graduating in 2002, he was drafted in the 33rd round by the Indians. But he decided to attend Vanderbilt University instead. After honing his craft for three seasons, the Indians used their 3rd round pick in the 2005 draft on the junior.
Lewis reported to Mahoning Valley Scrappers (NY-Penn-A-) after signing and made 11 starts, with a 3.20 ERA, 1.169 WHIP and 9.0 K/9 in 59 IP. He opened 2006 in Kinston (Carolina-A+) and had a 3.99 ERA, 1.283 WHIP and 7.8 K/9 in 108.1 IP making 20 starts. He got s late season promotion to Akron (Eastern-AA) and made 7 more starts and while his ERA spiked to 3.89 his K/9 jumped to 10.1. However, in 2007 when he returned to Akron, he was moved to the bullpen. His numbers took a big jump, 1.85 ERA, 1.026 WHIP and 11.3 K/9 in 39 IP. After dominating in a short tour at AAA Buffalo (1.38 ERA, 0.692 WHIP and 8.3 K/9 in 13 IP), he spent the rest of the season in Cleveland.
Lewis made 26 appearances with a 2.15 ERA (213 ERA+), 1.227 WHIP and 10.4 K/9 in 29.1 IP that playoff season. He made 7 appearances in the playoffs, with only one poor outing in the game 1 blowout loss to the Red Sox. He spent almost all of 2008 and 2009 in Cleveland with a 4.22 ERA (101 ERA+), 1.406 WHIP and 7.8 K/9 in 132.1 IP. In 2010 he only had 36.1 IP with a 2.97 ERA (134 ERA+) but fell out of favor in the bullpen and spent Most of May and August in Columbus.
In spring training 2011, Lewis struggled mightily (10 runs on 13 hits in only 5.2 IP) and was outrighted off the 40-man roster. The next three months were more of the same in Columbus, 5.14 ERA and 1.964 WHIP in 28 IP. The Tribe gave him his walking papers June 24, thus ending one of the longest transaction chains (by time) in Indian history (along with John Drennen’s release later that year):
1965 – Draft Ray Fosse 1st round
1967 – Draft Jack Heidemann 1st and Jack Brohamer 34th; Sign amateur free agent Jim Kern
1972 – Draft Dennis Eckersley 3rd round
1973 – Trade Fosse and Heidemann to A’s for George Hendrick and Dave Duncan; Sign amateur free agent Alfredo Griffin
1975 – Trade Brohamer to White Sox for Larvell Blanks
1976 – Trade Hendrick to Padres for Johnny Grubb, Fred Kendall and Hector Torres
1978 – Claimed Mike Vail on waivers from Mets; Trade Eckersley and Kendall to Red Sox for Ted Cox, Bo Diaz, Mike Paxton, and Rick Wise; Draft Phil Lansford 1st round; Trade Vail to White Sox for Joe Wallis; Trade Wallis to A’s for Gary Alexander; Trade Kern and Blanks to Rangers for Bobby Bonds; trade Griffin and Lansford to Blue Jays for Victor Cruz
1980 – Trade Mumphrey to Padres for Bob Owchinko and Jim Wilhelm; trade Alexander, Cruz, Vazquez and Owchinko to Pirates for Bert Blyleven and Manny Sanguillen
1985 – Trade Blyleven to Twins for Jay Bell, Curt Wardle, Jim Weaver and Rich Yett
1989 – Trade Bell to Pirates for Denny Gonzalez and Felix Fermin (PTBNL)
1990 – Draft Tim Costo 1st round
1991 – Trade Costo to Reds for Reggie Jefferson
1993 – Trade Fermin and Jefferson to Mariners for Omar Vizquel
2005 – Draft Jensen Lewis and John Drennen as supplemental picks in 1st round for loss of Vizquel
A Brief History
The only other good option for best #50 might be Julian Tavarez. In 1993 and 1994, Tavarez made 8 unimpressive starts (9 games), 7.22 ERA (61 ERA+), 1.888 WHIP 4.4 K/9 and a whopping 8 HR in 38.2 IP. In 1995 he was a set-up man for Jose Mesa and finished 6th in Rookie of the Year voting, 2.44 ERA (193 ERA+), 1.141 WHIP, 7.2 K/9 in 85 IP in 57 appearances. But in 1996, the magic was gone and he slumped to 5.36 ERA (91 ERA+) in 80.2 IP. He would be dealt as a piece in the Matt Williams trade from the Giants.
The career leader in plate appearance for #50 is Karim Garcia with a whopping 50. After signing as a free agent in December 2000, he had an 843 OPS in 514 PA in Buffalo (AAA). He was called up when the rosters expanded in September and had an impressive 311/360/711 174 OPS+ and 5 HR. He was released just prior to spring training in 2002. When the Yankees cut him that July, he returned to the Tribe but wore #20.
The career leader in IP for #50 is actually Jason Davis. Originally a 21st round pick from Cleveland State Community College in Tennessee in 1999, he was originally a starter. He made 10 starts for Burlington (Appalachian-Rookie) in 2000 before making 27 starts for the Columbus (GA) Red Stixx (South Atlantic-A) in 2001. In 2002 he made 17 starts in Kinston, another 10 in Akron and got the call to bigs in September but wore #64. He made the rotation in spring training 2003, switched to #50, and was league average (94 ERA+). He made 19 more starts in 2004 before moving to the bullpen. The rest of 2004 and through 2006 he bounced back and forth between Buffalo and Cleveland before being dealt to the Mariners for the infamous Gregorio Rosario.in May 2007.
The One Year Wonders
Gene Desautels, Ray Barker, Dick Ellsworth, Chuck Machemehl, Bud Anderson, Jeff Dedmon, Ed Wojna, Steve Olin, Colby Ward, Dave Weathers, Karim Garcia and Dave Maurer all wore uniform #50 for only one season.
The All-Time List
Dick Ellsworth SP, RP (1969) 6-9, 34 G, 22 GS, 4.13 ERA, 135 IP, 91 ERA+; also #42 in 1969; traded with Ken Harrelson and Juan Pizarro by Red Sox for Sonny Siebert, Joe Azcue and Vicente Romo; switched to #42 in 1970
Chuck Machemehl RP (1971) 0-2, 14 G, 0 GS, 6.38 ERA, 18.1 IP, 61 ERA+
Bud Anderson RP (1982) 3-4, 25 G, 5 GS, 3.35 ERA, 80.2 IP, 124 ERA+; also #51 in 1982; traded as PTBNL with Rafael Vasquez and Rob Pietroburgo by Mariners for Ted Cox; switched to #51 in 1983
Ramon Romero SP, RP (1984-1985) 2-3, 20 G, 10 GS, 6.28 ERA, 67.1 IP, 67 ERA+; traded with Roy Smith to Twins for Ken Schrom and Bryan Oelkers
Steve Olin RP (1989) 1-4, 25 G, 0 GS, 3.75 ERA, 36 IP, 107 ERA+; switched to #31 in 1990
Ed Wojna RP, SP (1989) 0-1, 9 G, 3 GS, 4.09 ERA, 33 IP, 98 ERA+; also #34 in 1989; traded with Joel Davis by White Sox for Eddie Williams
Julian Tavarez RP (1993-1996) 16-12, 117 G, 12 GS, 4.49 ERA, 204.1 IP, 105 ERA+; 6th in Rookie of Year voting in 1995; traded with Jeff Kent, Jose Vizcaino and Joe Roa (PTBNL) to Giants for Matt Williams and Trenidad Hubbard (PTBNL)
Dave Weathers RP (1997) 1-2, 9 G, 1 GS, 7.56 ERA, 16.2 IP, 63 ERA+; traded by Yankees for Chad Curtis; claimed on waivers by Reds
Jim Brower SP, RP (1999-2000) 5-4, 26 G, 13 GS, 5.75 ERA, 87.2 IP, 86 ERA+; traded with Robert Pugmire to Reds for Eddie Taubensee
Karim Garcia RF, LF (2001) 311/360/711 174 OPS+, 50 PA; switched to #20 in 2002
Dave Maurer RP (2002) 0-1, 2 G, 0 GS, 13.50 ERA, 1.1 IP, 41 ERA+
Jason Davis RP, SP (2003-2007) 17-22, 111 G, 50 GS, 4.79 ERA, 386.2 IP, 93 ERA+; was #64 in 2002; traded to Mariners for Gregorio Rosario (PTBNL)
Jensen Lewis RP (2007-2010) 7-11, 161 G, 0 GS, 3.68 ERA, 198 IP, 115 ERA+
Nick Hagadone RP (2011-2012) 1-0, 9 G, 0 GS, 4.09 ERA, 11 IP, 98 ERA+ (2012 stats not included)
Statistics and such
Other fun facts, the uniform #50 has been worn 34 times by 19 different players covering 31 seasons of a possible 84 seasons since 1929. Uniform #50 was shared in a season three times, 1989, 1993, and 2007.