CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Indians are well represented on the Today’s Game Era ballot for election to the Hall of Fame on Dec. 9, the first day of the winter meeting in Las Vegas. There are 10 names on the ballot with five having connections to the Indians.
Former Indians’ players Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Orel Hershiser and Harold Baines are on the ballot. As is former Tribe manager and coach Charlie Manuel. Will Clark, Lee Smith, managers Davey Johnson and Lou Piniella and former Yankee owner George Steinbrenner complete the ballot.
The candidates will be reviewed and voted on by a 16-member panel that has yet to be named. The ballot was determined by 11 veterans baseball writers/historians. Any candidate elected must receive 75 percent of the vote.
Here’s a closer look at the candidates.
*Belle, a five-time All-Star, played the bulk of his 12-year career with the Indians before a hip injury ended his career prematurely. He ranks second all-time in Tribe history with 242 home runs. Former teammate Jim Thome, inducted into Cooperstown in July, is first with 337.
In 1995, Belle had one of the most productive seasons of his career. Belle, with the Indians on the way to their first World Series appearance since 1954, led the AL with 52 doubles, 50 homers, 126 RBI, a .690 slugging percentage and 377 total bases. He hit .317 (173-for-546) and his totals in doubles, homers, slugging percentage and total bases led the big leagues.
*Carter made his big-league debut with the Cubs, but it wasn’t until the Indians acquired him in a 1984 trade for Rick Sutcliffe that he started to find his way in the big leagues. He played for the Indians from 1984 through 1989, hitting 151 of his 396 career. Carter became the first of only three Indians to do 30-30 in one season when he hit 31 homers and stole 32 bases.
When Carter was traded to the Blue Jays in 1991 he reached his full potential. He was a key producer as the Blue Jays won consecutive World Series in 1992 and 1993. In 1993, he hit a walk-off homer in Game 6 to clinch the World Series for the Jays.
*Hershiser pitched 18 years in the big leagues, spending most of his time with the Dodgers. He joined the Indians in the spring of 1995 after the end of a player’s strike and helped start a winning era of baseball in Cleveland. Hershiser went 45-21 with a 4.21 ERA in 91 starts for the Tribe in just three seasons. He helped the Indians win two pennants and was named MVP of the 1995 ALCS against Seattle.
*Baines played briefly for the Indians in 1999, hitting .271 (23-for-85). He played 22 years, collecting 2,866 hits and 1,628 RBI. He played 14 years with the White Sox.
*Manuel filled a variety of roles with the Indians before leading the Phillies to the World Series title in 2008. He replaced Tribe manager Mike Hargrove after the 1999 season and led the Indians to the AL Central title in 2001. As manager of the Phillies, Manuel guided them to five straight NL East titles and two pennants in 2008 and 2009. He won 1,000 games games in the big leagues.
*Clark played 15 years for the Giants, Rangers, Orioles and Cardinals. He was a six-time All-Star and a career. 303 hitter.
*Smith pitched 18 years in the big leagues. When he retired, he led the big leagues with 478 saves. He topped the 30-save mark 11 times.
*Johnson played 13 years in the big leagues and managed 17 years. He led the Mets to the 1986 World Series.
*Piniella managed the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Rays and Cubs over a 23-year career. He played 18 years, winning the World Series with the Yankees in 1977 and 1978. The 1990 Reds won the World Series with Piniella as manager.
*Steinbrenner bought the Yankees 1973 and watched them win seven World Series titles until he died in 2010. The Yankees won 11 AL pennants in the 37 years he owned the team.