Top 50 Cleveland Guardians

The origin of the Cleveland Indians begins in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1894, where they played in the Western League.  The franchise relocated in 1900, becoming the Cleveland Lake Shores, and eventually were an inaugural team of the American League, going through multiple name changes (Bluebirds, Broncos, Naps) before becoming the Indians for over a decade.

Cleveland would become a great sports town, but the baseball team has not given them very much to cheer for over the years.  The Indians have only won the World Series twice (1920 and 1948), with three other appearances.  

Following the 2021 Season, Cleveland changed its controversial team name to the Guardians, and this is likely how it will remain as long as the team remains on the North Shore.

This list is up to the end of the 2021 regular season.

Note: Baseball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics, and post-season accolades.

Joe Sewell made his major league debut for the Cleveland Indians late in the 1920 season, albeit via tragic circumstances.  Purchased from New Orleans of the Southern Association, Sewell was brought in to replace Ray Chapman, who died abruptly when an errant pitch killed him by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees.  From tragedy bore treasure for Sewell, who was the starting Shortstop for the Indians team that won the 1920 World Series.
Elmer Flick was a star for the Philadelphia Phillies at the turn of the century, and like so many players in the National League, he jumped to the American League when it formed, with his team of choice being the crosstown Philadelphia Athletics.  The Phillies filed an injunction that blocked Flick and his former Phillies teammates from playing for the Athletics, but it was filed in Pennsylvania, meaning that it only prohibited him from playing for the Athletics.  Along with Nap Lajoie, Flick joined Cleveland.
“Manny being Manny” might have gained steam and recognition in Boston, but it was in Cleveland where it all began.
Wes Ferrell's career began with the Cleveland Indians, where he played a single Game in 1927 and two more in 1928.  The Indians were high on Ferrell, and rightfully so, as in 1929, he made their starting rotation, quickly becoming the staff ace the following year.
Al Rosen made his first appearance for the Cleveland Indians in 1947, and this would be the only Major League team he ever played for.


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After a lone game in 1937 for Cleveland, Ken Keltner took over as their starting Third Baseman the following season.
Gaylord Perry entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, after a 22-year career.  He only spent three-a-half seasons with Cleveland, but arguably it was the best period of his life.
A two-year veteran with the Chicago Orphans of the National League, Third Baseman was one of the plethoras of baseball players to leave the NL for the American League's greener pastures, in his case, the then-named Cleveland Blues, which evolved years later to adopt the Indians nickname.
Jose Ramirez is another in the great line of infielders that the Dominican Republic produced, and to date, he has only plied his trade with the Cleveland Indians.
Terry Turner first cracked the big leagues playing two Games with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1901, but it took him three more years to stick, which happened with Cleveland in the American League.
Jim Bagby Sr. played for the Cincinnati Reds for a cup of coffee in 1912, but he didn’t stay in the Majors, having to wait another four years for another opportunity.  When that came in 1916, Bagby showed he was there to stay.
C.C. Sabathia might have been more famous for the second half of his career as a New York Yankee, but the first seven-and-a-half seasons for Sabathia were in Cleveland…and they were damned good ones.
Historically speaking, it is safe to say that one of the best defensive players of all-time is Omar Vizquel, who, as of this writing in ninth all-time in Defensive bWAR.  Much of that was accumulated as a member of the Cleveland Indians.
One of the most popular players of his day, Rocky Colavito, was a player that it was hard to hate…even if he was hitting a Home Run against your team.
Hal Trosky is a fascinating baseball player when it comes to "rating" their overall contributions.  Very early in his career, some writers viewed him as the next Babe Ruth, which were about as lofty expectations as you can get.  It goes without saying that Trosky was not the next "Bambino," but now historians look at him as one of the best players never to be named an All-Star.
As Baseball spread in Mexico, it was only a matter of time before a Mexican would gain traction in the Majors.  The first such player was Bobby Avila.
Born in Canada and raised in the United States, Jeff Heath made his way to the Major Leagues in 1936, where two years later, he was a starting Outfielder with Cleveland.
The story of Willis Hudlin is a simple one. He was not a superstar Pitcher, but he was a dependable middle of the rotation starter who could also be used out of the bullpen where needed.
A throw-in as part of a 2002 trade with Montreal that sent also sent Cliff Lee to the Indians when he was still in the Minors, Grady Sizemore would be the Indians' best position player for a brief spell in the late 2000s.