CLEVELAND — This weekend’s Tribe Fest marked the beginning of looking back at the 1995 American League championship team.
During Saturday’s afternoon session Sandy Alomar, Paul Assenmacher, Dennis Martinez and Charles Nagy took part in a roundtable session on the main stage before participating in an autograph session.
The big celebration for the team will be on Fathers’ Day weekend (June 19-20). In winning the AL pennant for the first time in 47 years, the Indians won 100 games, including going 54-23 the second half of the season, before beating Boston in the division series and Seattle in the ALCS. The Tribe lost to Atlanta in six games in the World Series.
“It’s still hard to believe how time flies,” Nagy said on Saturday. “That year was fun. We were enjoying ourselves. Everyone got along and it showed. We played with a lot of confidence from the young guys to the old guys.”
Added Assenmacher: “It was a special thing and we knew we were in the middle of something neat but looking back at it 20 years later it is just unbelievable the numbers that these guys put up. I feel very fortunate to play on that team. It was one of a lifetime.”
Had it not been for the player’s strike in 1994, the Indians likely would have made the playoffs. When the strike occurred, they were a game behind the White Sox in the AL Central but were in position to quality as the wild card. In ’95, the Indians won the division by a commanding 30 games.
While the rotation was stout with Nagy, Martinez and Orel Hershiser, what set the team apart was a potent lineup. Albert Belle, who was second in AL MVP voting, led the league in six categories including home runs (50) and RBI (126) while posting a .317 batting average. Manny Ramirez batted .308 and added 31 home runs while Kenny Lofton led the American League in stolen bases with 54.
“I’m still in the game and you get to talk to a lot of people and they still put that lineup as one of the best in history. To think I had a front-row seat and watch those guys was pretty incredible,” Nagy said.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM TRIBE FEST
GIAMBI UPDATE: During Saturday’s State of the Franchise presentation, Terry Francona said that he has talked with Jason Giambi recently and that he thinks Giambi will take a year off from the game to spend time with family. Francona does believe though that Giambi will be in baseball in some capacity in 2016 and should have his choice of jobs.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: Next to the mascots, the most popular person who was generating plenty of photo requests was pitching coach Mickey Callaway. … Nick Hamilton, the son of broadcaster Tom Hamilton, will be a scout for the Phillies this season. Hamilton was in the Indians’ minor-league system at the start of last season before being released. … Tribe Fest concludes on Sunday with a session from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
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