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Game 128

September 13, 1995 – Charlie Nagy Tops David Cone and the Yankees

Over 41,000 packed Jacobs Field to see the first-place Tribe take on the hated Yankees on this Wednesday night. Rain delayed the start of the game until nearly 9PM. Charlie Nagy was matched up with reigning Cy Young-winner David Cone in the rubber match of the series. 

Nagy got out to a slow start, walking both Bernie Williams and Mike Stanley in the first inning. However, he got Darryl Strawberry to strike out swinging and end the inning. 

The powerful Indians offense picked him up almost immediately. Kenny Lofton walked to lead off the Cleveland half of the inning. With Omar Vizquel at the plate he stole second, and then stole third two pitches later. Omar drove him home with a ground ball double into right field. Manny Ramirez eventually scored Vizquel with a two-out RBI single leaving the Tribe on top 2-0 after the first inning. 

Lofton had Cone and Stanley’s number on this evening. After knocking a single to short in the bottom of the second, Lofton stole second once again.

Photo: Al Bello

Nagy retired the next seven batters he faced. His sinker was working beautifully, as eight of the first nine outs were either ground ball outs or strikeouts. 

In the bottom of the fifth, Albert Belle took Cones 1-1 pitch deep into the Cleveland night. This was the first in an absolute flurry of home runs for Belle. He hit eight home runs over the next week, and totaled 17 dingers in September. This tied the mark for home runs in a calendar month set by Babe Ruth in 1927. 

Tony Pena started the two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth with a single over the second base bag. Kenny Lofton doubled to right field, putting Pena on third. Then, Omar Vizquel punched a grounder through the left side of the infield, plating the Indians final two runs of the night. 

Nagy continued to cruise through the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. He gave up only one hit, a double to Don Mattingly that was quickly erased in the top of the seventh. 

Although his pitch count was already at 101 after eight innings, Mike Hargrove sent Nagy back to the mound to pitch the ninth. Bernie Williams grounded out for the fourteenth ground ball out of the game. Paul O’Neill gave Nagy a bit of a scare with a long fly ball to center, but Albert Belle was able to track it down on the warning track for the putout. Mike Stanley worked Nagy into a 2-2 count, but eventually struck out swinging to end the game. 

Nagy’s final stat line was a complete game shutout giving up three hits, two walks and strking out five on 115 pitches. After one more win in the final days of the strike-shortened season Charlie finished the season 16-6. 

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Game 114

August 13, 1999 – Robbie Alomar’s Diving Catch Ends the Game

The Indians were 17 games ahead in the Central Division and cruising toward a fifth straight division title. Chuck Nagy was pitching against the Orioles’ Scott Erikson. 

Nagy did not allow a runner past second base until the top of the fifth. After Delino DeShields singled to center, he advanced to second on a Brady Anderson walk. DeShields and Anderson executed a two-out double-steal to get into scoring position. Mike Bordick took Nagy’s second pitch deep into left field. Richie Sexson leaped for the ball and made a backhanded catch. Sexson crashed into the outfield wall, but hung-on for the inning-ending putout. 

In the bottom of the fifth with two outs and Richie Sexson on second base, Dave Roberts hit a single through the right side of the infield. Sexson rounded third and came in to score, but Roberts was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. 

Former Indian Albert Belle tied things up in the top of the sixth when he drove home BJ Surhoff with a single to right. 

Omar Vizquel led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to right field. Robbie Alomar attempted to bunt him over, but the bunt was fielded by first baseman Will Clark and flipped to shortstop Mike Bordick at second to force out Vizquel. Manny Ramirez put the Tribe ahead despite the failed bunt, crushing a home run to deep right center. 

Paul Shuey replaced Nagy in the top of the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Brady Anderson. After a Mike Bordick fly-out, BJ Surhoff singled to center. With runners at the corners, Albert Belle drove in two more runs with a two-run line drive double. Shuey was credited with a blown save, and Ricardo Rincon came on in relief. 

After putting Jeff Conine on base with a hit-by-pitch, Rincon got Will Clark to ground into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning with the score tied 3-3. 

Scott Erikson returned to pitch the bottom of the eighth, but did not last long. Dave Roberts reached on an error and was moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Omar Vizquel. Robbie Alomar drove him home with a sharp line drive into right field. Manny Ramirez stepped in and launched his second two-run homer of the day. 

With the O’s down 6-3, Jesse Orosco came to the mound in relief. This was Orosco’s 1,071st appearance in the majors. This tied him with Dennis Eckersley for the all-time lead. Orosco broke into the majors in 1979 and would pitch until 2003, eventually amassing 1,252 appearances. He is one of only 29 big leaguers to have played in four decades. 

Mostly a matchup pitcher later in his career, Orosco struck out Jim Thome and gave up a single to David Justice. He was replaced by Scott Kamienecki who got Richie Sexson out to end the inning. 

Michael Jackon came on to close the game for the Tribe. He struck out Charles Johnson, and got Delino DeShields to ground out. With the grounds crew kneeling next to the tarp as rain threatened, Jackson walked Rich Amaral. Amaral advanced to second as Jackson focused on Brady Anderson. 

Anderson hit a ground ball sharply between first and second base. Ranging far to his left, Robbie Alomar snagged the grounder. He spun on his knees and threw a no-look strike to Jim Thome at first base. 

Anderson later remarked, “I wasn’t surprised. Anybody else, yes. But Robbie is one of the greatest second basemen ever.”

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Game 75

June 28, 1992 – Indians Comeback Win After Jacobs Field Groundbreaking

The corner of Carnegie and Ontario did not always look like it does today. This 1927 map from the Cleveland Public Library archive shows the tangle of eastside streetcar lines converging on the Central Market before heading north to Public Square.

This 1951 aerial photograph shows the dense neighborhood of offices and warehouses that formerly stood where the ballpark is now.

For a more detailed look, check out this interactive map from the Cleveland Public Library.

In May 1990, Cuyahoga County voters narrowly approved the “Sin Tax” which charged 1.9 cents on a can of beer and 4.5 cents on a pack of cigarettes for 15 years. This revenue stream opened the door for the creation of the Gateway Economic Development Corporation and the construction of both Jacobs Field and Gund Arena.

On June 28, 1992, the Indians invited Mel Harder who had thrown the first pitch in Municipal Stadium to throw a ceremonial first pitch at the Jacobs Field construction site. Charles Nagy and Sandy Alomar Jr. were the battery representing the new Indians that would move into the new stadium at the start of 1994.

After the speeches and photo opportunities at the construction site, Dennis Cook started against Jack Morris and the Blue Jays back down on the Lakefront at Municipal Stadium.

It was a high-scoring affair. Joe Carter and John Olerud both homered off Cook in the first inning, giving the Jays a 3-0 advantage out of the gate.

The Tribe answered by sending all nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the first and plating four runs. Carlos Baerga extended the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the second with an RBI single.

Joe Carter tied things up in the top of the seventh with a two run single into short left field. Jeff Kent put the Jays on top in the top of the 8th with a solo home run off Steve Olin.

With leadoff man Alex Cole on second, Paul Sorrento socked a home run over the center field wall in the bottom of the eighth to put the Tribe up 7-6.

Eric Plunk pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn a save and close out a celebratory day in Indians history.

Baseball Reference Box Score

Honorable Mention: June 28, 2010 – Travis Hafner Scores Winning Run on Jayson Nix Squeeze Bunt

Nix said. “I think I’ve done it in the minors, but this definitely was the first time in the majors for me. I needed to make sure I didn’t square too early to tell them it was coming, and I needed to get it down. He threw a fastball, which made it easier.”

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Game 50

May 31, 1992 – Charles Nagy Win, Steve Olin Save

Before John Rocker played Twisted Sister, Chris Perez was the Firestarter, Andrew Miller told hitters to “Beat it,” and before Cody Allen reminded batters that “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” there was the Yellow Submarine. The Municipal Stadium organist would pipe up with a few bars of the Beatles jaunty classic as Steve Olin made his way from the bullpen to the mound.

Much like hockey goalies, closers have always been a bit different. Pitchers with short memories, and more than a few eccentricities probably because they only make the news when they fail.

Steve Olin came to the Indians via the 16th round of the 1987 amatuer draft. Since high school, various coaches had tried to get him to change his delivery and focus on a more traditional pitching style. Olin always insisted that he would make it with the submarine delivery that he felt comfortable with–he said that he learned it skipping stones as a child–or he would not make it at all.

By 1992, Olin was effectively the Indians closer, although manager Mike Hargrove had reservations about using Olin against left-handed hitters.

Charles Nagy was matched up with Jim Abbott for this Sunday afternoon game in Anaheim. Nagy. With the bases full of Angels in the bottom of the first, Rene Gonzales grounded out to second and the only out was the force at second. Two runs scored to put the Tribe in an early hole.

The Indians tied it up on two unearned runs in the top of the second. Both pitchers settled in after this point. Ultimately Nagy would go seven innings, giving up five hits, four walks and only the two runs noted above.

Abbott pitched seven innings, giving up seven hits, while recording four strikeouts. Carlos Baerga would drive in the Indians final two runs on a single in the top of the 5th and a fielder’s choice in the top of the 7th.

Olin was brought in to face Angel’s catcher Lance Parrish. On his fourth pitch, Parrish grounded into a game-ending double play off one of Olin’s submarine sliders. Olin got his 10th save of the season as the Tribe secured the 4-3 victory.

By season’s end, Olin  saved 29 games out of 36 opportunities. He set a club record with 72 appearances by a right-handed pitcher while posting an ERA of 2.34. Indians GM John Hart once remarked, “He had the heart of a lion, the guts of a burglar. He courageously threw that fringe stuff up there and got people out.”

Prior to the 1993 season, the Indians had only one off day built into their Spring Training schedule on March 22. Olin, Bob Ojeda, and strength coach Fernando Montes visited newly-signed reliever Steve Crews property on Lake Nellie near Winter Haven. Tragically, all three pitchers were involved in a boat accident after the cookout. Olin and Crews passed away from injuries sustained when the boat struck a neighbor’s dock.

Charles Nagy was particularly affected by the loss of the two young pitchers who treated him as something of a mentor, so it seemed appropriate to note this game which was one of two where Nagy was credited with the victory and Olin with the save.

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Honorable Mention Loss: June 4, 1974 – 10 Cent Beer Night

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Game 42

June 12, 1995 – The Sellout Streak Begins

While the excitement around the team had built through 1994 with the nucleus of the team coming together in a new ballpark, the 1995 team was an absolute juggernaut.

John Harts home-grown talent was finally bearing real fruit. The team featured All-Stars at nearly every position. Solid hitters who would have populated the heart of the order on lesser teams Paul Sorrento and a young Manny Ramirez were often listed 7th or 8th behind mashers like Albert Belle and Jim Thome.

On a Monday night in June 1995, Jacobs Field sold out. In most cities, baseball attendance picks up when school is out for the summer and when folks begin to take vacations. So this was not altogether surprising. What followed was exceptional.

The Indians would go on to win six straight division titles and treat the fans to 44 walkoff wins over the next six years. And the sellouts would continue–455 consecutive regular season home games. Until Game 2 of the 2001 season, a ticket was not available at first pitch.

Throughout the streak, seats were consistently added to Jacobs Field, bringing it to a peak capacity of 45,569. Some readers may remember the “Auxiliary Bleachers” that sprouted beyond the former picnic patio in center field for a few years. Subsequent renovations have dialed back capacity significantly, with current seating listed at 34,788.

From 1996 to 2001 Tribe attendance was over 3 Million each season. Currently, there are eight major league teams that have never drawn 3 million fans in the course of a season.

So, what happened on June 12, 1995 to kick it all off? Chuck Nagy pitched a solid seven innings, giving up three runs, only one of which was earned. Omar Vizquel drove home Wayne Kirby with a sacrifice hit in the bottom of the third, and the Trbe pulled away in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI double by Eddie Murray, an RBI single by Wayne Kirby, and a walk by Omar Vizquel with the bases loaded to force in a run. Paul Assenmacher and Jose Mesa both pitched 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth to close out the contest. In short, it was the type of game that happened nearly every night for the 1995 squad.

In 2001, Jim Thome commented on the end of the streak, “We appreciate what our fans did to achieve that streak. There were lots of nights when they could have stayed home and watched the game on television, but they came out to the ballpark.”

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Honorable Mention: May 16, 2019 – Orioles FARTSLAM Might Be Worst Defensive Play in History

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