|Over the years the Indians have boasted some of the game's best performers, with a tradition of hard-hitting outfielders and fast ball artists.
The Indians were the first AL team to integrate, in the Summer of 1947, just a few months after Jackie Robinson first debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The first black man to play in the Junior Circuit was the somewhat overlooked Larry Doby. A power hitting outfielder, Doby was patient at the plate and a danger with a bat in his hands. From 1949-1956 he slugged 20 homers or more each season, topping out at 32. He drove in 100 or more runs five times, and he batted as high as .326. He led the AL in slugging and RBI, filling the middle of the Indians lineup for most the 1950s. He retired with 253 homers and a .490 slugging percentage. After a long wait he was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998. The Indians won the pennant in 1948 behind playing manager Lou Boudreau. In the World Series they defeated the Braves to win their second World Series title. The 1950s were very successful, largely due to the pitching staff. From 1951 to 1956 they finished 2nd five times and won the pennant with the great 1954 team. In the World Series the New York Giants pulled one of the greatest upsets in history, sweeping the Tribe.
In the 1960s the team stood still, winning between 75 and 87 games from 1960 to 1968. The 1970s were worse as the team stumbled into the second division and stayed there. From 1969 to 1993, a span of 25 seasons, the Indians finished no higher than 4th place. Finally in 1994 -- the strike season -- Mike Hargrove had the horses to win. The team won every AL Central title from 1995 to 1999, advancing to the World Series in 1995 and 1997. In neither case was the team able to win that long awaited title.
A new stadium and sellout after sellout made the Indians one of the most lucrative franchises in sports. In 2000 a poor start halted the Tribe's string of post-season appearances, but in 2001 the Indians returned, winning the AL Central behind their potent offense.
In 2004 the Cleveland Indians finished 3rd in the American League East Division with a 80-82 record.
In 2006 the Indians finished with a 78-84 record and in 4th place.