Cleveland Indians: 5 secrets you might not know about Progressive Field

Cleveland Indians (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

3. The one retired number that isn’t in the HOF

The Cleveland Indians have set forth some guidelines when it comes to retiring a number of having a statue built at Progressive Field. The player who is to be honored this way must be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

If you look up to the right-field nosebleeds, you’ll see No. 3 (Earl Averill), No. 5 (Lou Boudreau), No. 14 (Larry Doby), No. 19 (Bob Feller), No. 20 (Robinson), No. 21 (Bob Lemon) and No. 25 (Jim Thome).

But one sticks out that won’t be found in Cooperstown: No. 18, which was worn by Tribe great Mel Harder. DiBiasio is on the record, stating Harder should be in Cooperstown and he may have a point. Harder has a lifetime 223-186 record, and he totaled double-figure victories 14 times in his career.

So, why’s Harder the exception to the rule? Indians PR ace  Bob DiBiasio explained to that it’s because Harder played 20 seasons for the Tribe, and then coached for 16 more. Thirty-six years with franchise. That’s loyalty.

This nugget came to light when some fans tried to get a movement going for a statue to be built of Rocky Colavito, the former Tribe grade who was a fan favorite during the mid-to-late 1950s.

As for statues, the Indians have five bronze memorials honoring franchise legends. There’s three outside the ball park (Doby, Boudreau and Feller) Then, inside the gates, you’ll find Jim Thome, while Frank Robinson awaits you in Heritage Park.

A article noted that the rules for statues are as follows:

"The general rule for the future, we’re told, will be this: Statues of players who did not play in Progressive Field will be outside the gates while those of players who have competed in the stadium will be inside the gates."

This article was published three months after the Tribe unveiled a statue of Robinson in Heritage Park, which of course, is inside the gates. Robinson, of course, played and managed at old Cleveland Stadium. I suppose a case could be made that Robinson competed against the Tribe during the Progressive Field Era, albeit it didn’t happen in Cleveland.

Robinson’s Montreal Expos took two of three from the Tribe in Canada during the 2002 campaign.

Feller was the first statue at Progressive Field, dating all the way back to the park’s inception back in 1994. He’s probably the franchise’s greatest all-time player, having amassed 266 career wins in a career that was paused as The Heater from Van Meter missed two of his prime years to fight in World War II.

Boudreau is one of two men to manage the Indians to the World Series championship, the other was some guy named Tris Speaker, who was also a player manager. Hey Tito, grab a glove!

Back in 1948, Boudreau wasn’t just filling out lineups, he was the MVP of baseball. He finished his career with a .295 average, accompanied by 1,779 hits and 789 RBIs.

Doby was the first African-American to play in the American League just a couple months after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Dodgers in April of 1947.

In October of 1948, Doby was a big reason the Indians were able to stomp out the Braves in six games, as he hit .318 with a .500 slugging percentage. His number was retired in a memorable ceremony in 1995.