Cleveland Indians

Indians Timeline


Cleveland Bluebirds Team Formation

In 1900 the American League was still considered a minor league. In 1901 team was renamed the Cleveland Bluebirds when the American League broke with the National Agreement and declared itself a competing Major League. The Cleveland franchise was among its eight charter members.

ReNamed the Naps

Lajoie arrived in Cleveland on June 4 and was an immediate hit, drawing 10,000 fans to League Park. Soon afterward, he was named team captain, and in 1903 the team was renamed the Cleveland Naps after a newspaper conducted a write-in contest.

Indians Nickname

With Lajoie gone, the Molly McGuires now needed a new nickname. Somers asked the local newspapers to come up with a new name, and based on their input, the team was renamed the Cleveland Indians. Legend has it that the team honored Louis Sockalexis when it assumed its current name in 1915. Sockalexis, a Native American, had played in Cleveland 1897 - 1899. Research indicates that this legend is mostly untrue, and that the new name was a play on the name of the Boston Braves, then known as the "Miracle Braves" after going from last place on July 4 to a sweep in the 1914 World Series.

Bill Veeck Owner

In 1946, Bill Veeck formed an investment group that purchased the Cleveland Indians from Bradley's group for a reported $1.6 million. Among the investors was Bob Hope, who had grown up in Cleveland, and former Tigers slugger, Hank Greenberg. A former owner of a minor league franchise in Milwaukee, Veeck brought to Cleveland a gift for promotion. At one point, Veeck hired rubber-faced Max Patkin, the "Clown Prince of Baseball" as a coach. Patkin's appearance in the coaching box was the sort of promotional stunt that delighted fans but infuriated the American League front office.

World Series Winners - 2 World Series Wins

World Series - 1948
The 1948 World Series matched the Cleveland Indians against the Boston Braves. The Braves had won the National League pennant for the first time since the "Miracle Braves" team of 1914, while the Indians had spoiled a chance for the only all-Boston World Series by winning a one-game playoff against the Boston Red Sox for the American League flag. Though superstar pitcher Bob Feller failed to win either of his two starts, the Indians won the Series in six games to capture their second championship and their first since 1920 as well as their last to the present date.

World Series - 1920
In the 1920 World Series, the Cleveland Indians beat the Brooklyn Dodgers, then known interchangeably as the Robins in reference to their manager Wilbert Robinson, in seven games, five games to two. This series was a best-of-nine series, like the first World Series in 1903 and the World Series of 1919 and 1921. The only World Series triple play, the first World Series grand slam and the first World Series home run by a pitcher all occurred in Game 5 of this Series. The Indians won the series in memory of their former shortstop Ray Chapman, who had been killed earlier in the season when struck in the head by a pitched ball.

Signing Larry Doby

Under Veeck's leadership, one of Cleveland's most significant achievements was breaking the color barrier in the American League by signing Larry Doby, formerly a player for the Negro League's Newark Eagles in 1947, eleven weeks after Jackie Robinson signed with the Dodgers. Similar to Robinson, Doby battled racism on and off the field but posted a .301 batting average in 1948, his first full season. A power-hitting center fielder, Doby led the American League twice in homers.

Jacobs Field Opens

Throughout the 1980s, the Indians' owners had pushed for a new stadium. Cleveland Stadium had been a symbol of the Indians' glory years in the 1940s and 1950s. However, during the lean years even crowds of 40,000 were swallowed up by the cavernous environment. The old stadium was not aging gracefully; chunks of concrete were falling off in sections and the old wooden pilings now petrified.[63] In 1984, a proposal for a $150 million domed stadium was defeated in a referendum 2–1.

Finally, in May 1990, Cuyahoga County voters passed an excise tax on sales of alcohol and cigarettes in the county. The tax proceeds would be used to finance the building of the Gateway Sports and Entertainment Complex which would include Jacobs Field and Gund Arena for the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. The team had new ownership and a new stadium on the way.

Progressive Field is a baseball park located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. It is the home field of the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball, and together with Quicken Loans Arena, is part of the Gateway Sports and Entertainment Complex. It was ranked as Major League Baseball's best ballpark in a 2008 Sports Illustrated fan opinion poll.

The ballpark was named Jacobs Field after team owners Richard and David Jacobs, from its inaugural season in 1994 until 2008, when its name was changed to Progressive Field after its naming rights were purchased by locally-based Progressive Insurance Company. The ballpark is sometimes referred to as "The Jake," based on its original name.

Larry Dolan New Owner

In 2000, Larry Dolan through a family trust bought the Cleveland Indians of the MLB for $323 million from Richard Jacobs, who, along with his late brother David Jacobs, had paid $35 million for the club in 1986. Jacobs had taken the Indians public in 1997. As part of the deal, Dolan bought all of the stock at just over twelve dollars a share, making the franchise privately held once again. During his time as owner, the Indians have experienced periods of competitiveness, including playoff appearances in 2007 and 2013, as well as periods without success, including several seasons with over 90 losses. While the Indians' player salaries were among the highest in Major League Baseball during Jacobs' last years as owner, at times they have been among the lowest under Dolan. This has led some fans to regard Dolan as miserly, although other fans dispute the reputation.

Indians Primary Logo History Indians Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History


Indians - Legend has it that the team honored Louis Sockalexis when it assumed its current name in 1915. With the artificial connection to Native Americans, the Cleveland Indians are also often called "The Tribe".

Progressive Field
2008 - present
  • Jacobs Field
  • 1994 - 2007
Cleveland Stadium
1934 - 1993
League Park
1900 - 1946
  • Dunn Field
  • 1912 - 1934

Larry Dolan
1999 - Present
Richard Jacobs
1986 - 1999
Steve O'Neill
1978 - 1983
Ted Bonda
1972 - 1978
Nick Mileti
1972 - 1975
Vernon Stouffer
1966 - 1972
Gabe Paul
1962 - 1966
William R. Daley
1956 - 1962
Myron H. Wilson
1952 - 1956
Ellis Ryan
1949 - 1952
Bill Veeck
1946 - 1949
Alva Bradley
1927 - 1946
Jim Dunn
1916 - 1922

Charles Somers
1901 - 1916

Established: 1901

League History:
Major League Baseball
2000 - present
American League
1901 - 1999

Team History:
Cleveland Indians
1915 - present

Cleveland Naps
1903 - 1914
Cleveland Bluebirds
1901 - 1902

World Series: 2
1948, 1920

Retired Numbers:
3 Earl Averill
5 Lou Boudreau
14 Larry Doby
18 Mel Harder
19 Bob Feller
21 Bob Lemon
42 Jackie Robinson
455 Indians Fans

Mascots: 1990 - present

The Official Site of the Cleveland Indians

*Red is this team's history

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