Indianapolis Indians

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Indianapolis Indians
Indianapolis Indians logo.svg Indianapolis Indians cap logo.svg
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassTriple-A (1946–present)
Previous classes
LeagueInternational League (2022–present)
DivisionWest Division
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
TeamPittsburgh Pirates (2005–present)
Previous teams
Minor league titles
Class titles (7)
  • 1917
  • 1928
  • 1949
  • 1956
  • 1988
  • 1989
  • 2000
League titles (14)
  • 1902
  • 1908
  • 1917
  • 1928
  • 1949
  • 1956
  • 1963
  • 1982
  • 1986
  • 1987
  • 1988
  • 1989
  • 1994
  • 2000
Division titles (13)
  • 1963
  • 1971
  • 1974
  • 1978
  • 1982
  • 1986
  • 1988
  • 1989
  • 2000
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2015
  • 2017
Wild card berths (1)
  • 2005
Team data
NameIndianapolis Indians (1902–present)
ColorsRed, black, silver, white
       
MascotRowdie[1]
BallparkVictory Field (1996–present)
Previous parks
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Indians, Inc.[2]
PresidentRandy Lewandowski[3]
General managerRandy Lewandowski[3]
ManagerMiguel Pérez
MediaMiLB.TV and Fox Sports 1260 AM[4]

The Indianapolis Indians are a Minor League Baseball team of the International League (IL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and play their home games at Victory Field, which opened in 1996. The Indians previously played at Owen J. Bush Stadium from 1931 to 1996 and at two versions of Washington Park from 1902 to 1931.

Indianapolis is the second-oldest minor league franchise in American professional baseball (after the Rochester Red Wings). The team originated in 1902 as members of the American Association (AA), which was an independent league at the time but was granted Class A status in 1903. Since then, the Indians have played at the highest level of Minor League Baseball, though the terminology has changed. Indianapolis remained in the AA until the league disbanded after the 1962 season. They were briefly members of the International League (1963) and Pacific Coast League (1964–1968) before returning to the revived American Association in 1969. When the league dissolved a second time after the 1997 season, the Indians rejoined the IL in 1998. In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of the minors in 2021, they were shifted to the Triple-A East, but this was renamed the International League in 2022.

Indianapolis has won 14 league championships. They were American Association champions twelve times (1902, 1908, 1917, 1928, 1949, 1956, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1994). The Indians have won the International League championship twice (1963 and 2000). They went on to win two Little World Series (1917 and 1928), two Junior World Series (1949 and 1956), two Triple-A Classics (1988 and 1989), and one Triple-A World Series (2000).

History[edit]

Prior professional baseball in Indianapolis[edit]

Indianapolis, Indiana, has been home to professional baseball teams since the late 19th century. The city's first Minor League Baseball team was the Indianapolis Blues, who played in the League Alliance in 1877.[5] They joined the major league ranks in 1878 as members of the National League.[5] After a five-year hiatus, they were followed by several teams called the Indianapolis Hoosiers. The first Hoosiers played in the major league American Association in 1884.[5] The second Hoosiers were members of the minor Western League in 1885.[5] The third Hoosiers were part of the National League from 1887 to 1889.[5] Other minor league Hoosiers played in the Western League/minor American League in 1892 and from 1894 to 1900 and in the Western Association in 1901.[5]

American Association (1902–1962)[edit]

Men wearing light baseball uniforms and caps
The 1902 Indianapolis Indians, winners of the first American Association championship

In 1902, Bill Watkins and Charles Ruschaupt established the Indianapolis Indians as charter members of a new minor league American Association (AA).[5][6][2] The league was an independent or "outlaw league" outside the umbrella of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.[7] The circuit was granted Class A status, the highest level of the minors, in 1903. Since then, the Indians have remained at the top level of Minor League Baseball, though the terminology has changed: Class A (1903–1911), Double-A (1912–1945), and Triple-A (since 1946).[5] The Indians' first home ballpark was East Washington Park.[2]

The 1902 Indians, managed by Watkins,[8] won the first American Association championship with a 96–45 record, two games ahead of the second-place Louisville Colonels.[9] The team was ranked as the 27th greatest minor league baseball team of all-time by baseball historians in 2001.[10]

Ruschaupt became the principal owner in 1904, and Indianapolis began playing at West Washington Park in 1905.[2] The Indians won their next AA pennant in 1908 with a 92–61 season, four games ahead of Louisville,[11] under manager Charlie Carr.[12] Sol Meyer and Sol Kiser purchased the team in 1913 but sold the team to James C. McGill and William G. Smith, Sr., in 1914. McGill became the principal owner in 1917 and Smith in 1921.[2]

Led by Jack Hendricks,[13] the 1917 Indians won a third AA title with a 90–63 season, which placed them two-and-a-half games ahead of Louisville and the St. Paul Saints.[14] The pennant win qualified Indianapolis for the Little World Series against the champions of the International League, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Indians won the best-of-seven series, 4–1.[15]

The façade of a concrete, brick, and steel and concrete ballpark
The Indians played at Owen J. Bush Stadium from 1931 to 1996.

James A. Perry purchased the club in 1927.[16] He died in a plane crash two years later,[16] and his brother, Norman Perry, assumed ownership in 1929.[2] Late in the 1931 season, the team moved to Perry Stadium, which was renamed Victory Field in 1942 and Bush Stadium in 1967.[2] The 1928 Indians, who were managed by Bruno Betzel,[17] won a fourth AA pennant by finishing two-and-a-half games ahead of the Minneapolis Millers at 99–68.[18] They then defeated the Rochester Red Wings, 5–1, in the Little World Series.[15]

From 1936 to 1946, Indianapolis qualified for the American Association playoffs on six occasions, but failed to win a championship.[19] Meanwhile, Frank E. McKinney and Owen J. "Donie" Bush purchased the team in December 1941.[16] The Indians entered into their first major league affiliation in 1939 and 1940 as the top farm club of the Cincinnati Reds.[20] They returned to being an unaffiliated team from 1942 to 1945 before affiliating with the Boston Braves in 1946.[21]

Indianapolis became the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1947.[22] The 1948 Indians posted a 100–54 record, a franchise high,[5] but were eliminated in the playoff semifinals by St. Paul.[23] The team was ranked as the 85th greatest minor league team in a 2001 ranking.[24] Al López, who had managed the 1948 club, led the 1949 Indians back to the playoffs.[25] They defeated Minneapolis, 4–3, in the semifinals and the Milwaukee Brewers, 4–3, in the final round, to win their first playoff title and fifth AA championship.[26] In the Junior World Series, a successor to the Little World Series, Indianapolis defeated the Montreal Royals, 4–2.[15] They made one more playoff appearance as a Pirates farm club in 1950 but lost in the championship finals.[19]

The Cleveland Indians purchased the team in 1952,[2] and made them their Triple-A affiliate.[27] Over the five-year relationship, Indianapolis qualified for the playoffs three times. They lost in the semifinals in 1953, lost the 1954 finals, and won the American Association championship in 1956.[19] On the heels of a 92–62 campaign, manager Kerby Farrell's Indians defeated Minneapolis, 4–3, in the semifinals before winning their sixth AA title over the Denver Bears, 4–0.[28][29] They capped off the season by sweeping Rochester, 4–0, to win the Junior World Series.[15]

Having incurred significant financial losses, Cleveland elected to sell the team after the 1955 season.[30] The Indianapolis community rallied to save the Indians by purchasing 20,182 shares of stock valued at $10 each, which allowed Indians, Inc., to purchase the club in December.[2][31] The affiliation between the major and minor league Indians remained intact until the teams parted ways after the 1956 season.[27]

Indianapolis held a brief three-year affiliation with the Chicago White Sox from 1957 to 1959,[32] with their only winning season occurring in the final season.[5] This was followed by even shorter stints as the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1960 and the Cincinnati Reds in 1961.[20][33] The 1961 team qualified for the playoffs but were ousted in the semifinals.[34] The Indians rejoined the Chicago White Sox organization in 1962 and experienced another semifinal playoff exit in the first year of the affiliation.[32][34] The American Association disbanded after the 1962 season.[6]

International League (1963)[edit]

The Indians became members of the Triple-A International League (IL) in 1963 and retained their affiliation with the White Sox.[5][32] Led by Rollie Hemsley,[35] the 1963 Indians clinched the Southern Division title with an 86–67 record.[36] They defeated the Syracuse Chiefs, 4–1, in the playoff semifinals before winning the International League championship over the Atlanta Crackers, 4–2.[36] With the addition of Indianapolis and the Little Rock Travelers to the IL, the westernmost teams in the loop, team travel costs increased. At the 1963 Winter Meetings, major league teams refused to continue paying to defray these additional costs, so Indianapolis and Little Rock were expelled from the league.[37]

Pacific Coast League (1964–1968)[edit]

The Pacific Coast League welcomed Indianapolis and Little Rock as members in 1964. Though they became the easternmost teams in the league, its two-division alignment helped to keep travel costs down.[37] The Indians continued to serve as the top farm club of the Chicago White Sox through 1967, but they were unable to return to the postseason during the affiliation.[32] They became part of the Cincinnati Reds' organization for a third time in 1968.[20]

American Association (1969–1997)[edit]

The American Association was revived in 1969,[6] and the Indians rejoined the league as the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.[5][20] Through 1982, the team qualified for the AA playoffs on three occasions via winning Eastern Division titles. They lost the 1971 league title in a best-of-seven series to the Denver Bears, 4–3.[38] The 1974 championship series also went the full seven games with Indianapolis losing to the Tulsa Oilers.[39] The 1978 team was denied a championship, losing to the Omaha Royals, 4–1.[40] George Scherger managed the 1982 Indians to a fourth Eastern Division title as a Reds affiliate with a 75–61 campaign.[41][42] They then defeated Omaha, 4–2, for the AA championship.[42]

A man in a light baseball jersey and dark cap
Joe Sparks led the Indians to win three consecutive American Association championships from 1986 to 1988.

Indianapolis became part of the Montreal Expos organization in 1984 in what would become one of the most successful periods in team history.[43] Though they were eliminated in the semifinals in 1984, the Indians won four consecutive American Association championships from 1986 to 1989.[19] Manager Joe Sparks was at the helm for the first three of these titles.[44] The 1986 Indians won the division with an 80–62 record.[45] They won the AA championship versus the Denver Zephyrs, 4–3.[45] The 1987 team placed second in the division, which gave them for a playoff berth. They beat the Louisville Redbirds, 3–2, in the semifinals and then won another league championship over Denver, 4–1.[46] Sparks led the 1988 Indians to the Eastern Division title on a 89–53 season.[47] In a single round of playoffs, they defeated Omaha, 3–1, for the league crown.[47] From 1988 to 1991, American Association teams participated in interleague play with teams from the International League in a partnership called the Triple-A Alliance, and the season culminated in the Triple-A Classic, a best-of-seven postseason championship between the leagues' champions.[6] Indianapolis won the first of these against Rochester, 4–2.[15] Manager Tom Runnells' 1989 team ended the season with an 87–59 record and the Eastern Division title.[48] They defeated Omaha, 3–2, for their fourth consecutive American Association championship.[49] In the Triple-A Classic, the Indians swept the Richmond Braves, 4–0.[15]

Indianapolis affiliated with Cincinnati for the fourth time in 1993.[20] In 1994, Marc Bombard managed the team to a first-place 86–57 mark.[50] The won the semifinals over Louisville, 3–0, and bested the Nashville Sounds, 3–1, for another league championship.[51] The Indians made return trips to the postseason over the next three years but suffered semifinal eliminations in 1995 and 1997 and a finals loss in 1996.[19] After 66 seasons at Bush Stadium,[52] the Indians left the ballpark for the new $20-million Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis' White River State Park on July 11, 1996.[53]

International League (1998–present)[edit]

The American Association disbanded after the 1997 season, and its teams were absorbed by the two remaining Triple-A leagues—the International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League. Indianapolis returned to the IL, of which they had previously been members in 1963.[54] They remained as affiliates of the Cincinnati Reds through 1999.[20]

In 2000, the team entered into a new partnership with the Milwaukee Brewers.[55] Steve Smith led the 2000 Indians to the Western Division title with an 81–63 record.[56][57] They defeated the Durham Bulls, 3–2, in the semifinals before winning the International League championship versus the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, 3–2.[57] The Indians met the Memphis Redbirds, champions of the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A World Series, winning 3–1.[15] Sub-.500 finishes during the next four seasons kept the team from returning to the postseason as a Brewers affiliate and prompted the team to end their affiliation with Milwaukee.[58][59]

A green baseball field surrounded by a seating bowl
The Indians have played at Victory Field since 1996.

The Indians became the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005 after having previously been in their farm system in 1951.[22] They qualified for the IL playoffs with a wild card berth, advanced to the finals by defeating the Buffalo Bisons, 3–2, but lost the championship to the Toledo Mud Hens, 3–0.[60] the 2016 team finished the season tied for first-place in the Western Division with Toledo. On September 5, the Indians lost a one-game playoff against the Mud Hens for the division title, 4–0, which eliminated them from postseason contention.[61] Indianapolis won back-to-back Western Division titles in 2012 and 2013 but lost in the semifinal round each time.[62][63]

At the end of the 2015 season, Indianapolis was tied with the Columbus Clippers for first. Per the league's playoff procedures, the teams were declared co-champions of the Western Division, and the Indians lost the tiebreaker to be seeded as the wild card team.[64][65] The won their semifinals series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 3–0, but lost the IL title versus Columbus Clippers, 3–2.[66] They returned to the postseason in 2017 as Western Division champions but were eliminated in the semifinals by Durham, 3–1.[67] The Indians did not qualify for the postseason from 2018 to 2019.[58] The start of the 2020 season was initially postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before being cancelled altogether.[68][69]

In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the Indians were placed in the Triple-A East.[70] They also extended their Professional Development License with Pittsburgh through 2030.[71] No playoffs were held to determine a league champion; instead, the team with the best regular-season record was declared the winner.[72] Indianapolis ended the season in 11th place with a 57–62 record.[73] However, 10 games that had been postponed from the start of the season were reinserted into the schedule as a postseason tournament called the Triple-A Final Stretch in which all 30 Triple-A clubs competed for the highest winning percentage.[72] Indianapolis finished the tournament tied for 18th place with a 4–5 record.[74] In 2022, the Triple-A East became known as the International League, the name historically used by the regional circuit prior to the 2021 reorganization.[75]

Season-by-season records[edit]

Key
League The team's final position in the league standings
Division The team's final position in the divisional standings
GB Games behind the team that finished in first place in the division that season
Class champions Class champions (1904–present)
League champions League champions (1902–present)
* Division champions (1959–present)
^ Postseason berth (1933–2020)
Season-by-season records
Season League Regular-season Postseason MLB affiliate Ref.
Record Win % League Division GB Record Win % Result
1902
League champions
AA 96–45 .681 1st Won AA championship Unaffiliated [9]
1903 AA 78–61 .561 4th 12+12 Unaffiliated [76]
1904 AA 69–85 .448 6th 29+12 Unaffiliated [77]
1905 AA 69–83 .454 6th 31 Unaffiliated [78]
1906 AA 53–96 .356 8th 38+12 Unaffiliated [79]
1907 AA 73–80 .477 6th 16+12 Unaffiliated [11]
1908
League champions
AA 92–61 .601 1st Won AA championship Unaffiliated [80]
1909 AA 83–85 .494 4th 10 Unaffiliated [81]
1910 AA 69–96 .418 7th 36+12 Unaffiliated [82]
1911 AA 78–88 .470 7th 21+12 Unaffiliated [83]
1912 AA 56–111 .335 8th 50 Unaffiliated [84]
1913 AA 68–99 .407 8th 32 Unaffiliated [85]
1914 AA 88–77 .533 3rd 9+12 Unaffiliated [86]
1915 AA 81–70 .536 3rd 9+12 Unaffiliated [87]
1916 AA 95–71 .572 2nd 5+12 Unaffiliated [88]
1917
League champions Class champions
AA 90–63 .588 1st 4–1 .800 Won AA championship
Won Little World Series vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, 4–1[15]
Unaffiliated [14]
1918[a] AA 41–34 .547 3rd 3 Unaffiliated [90]
1919 AA 85–68 .556 4th 8+12 Unaffiliated [91]
1920 AA 83–83 .500 5th 33 Unaffiliated [92]
1921 AA 83–85 .494 4th 15 Unaffiliated [93]
1922 AA 87–80 .521 4th 20 Unaffiliated [94]
1923 AA 72–94 .434 7th 40 Unaffiliated [95]
1924 AA 92–74 .554 2nd 4 Unaffiliated [96]
1925 AA 92–74 .554 2nd 13+12 Unaffiliated [97]
1926 AA 94–71 .570 2nd 10 Unaffiliated [98]
1927 AA 70–98 .417 6th 31 Unaffiliated [99]
1928
League champions Class champions
AA 99–68 .593 1st 5–1 .833 Won AA championship
Won Little World Series vs. Rochester Red Wings, 5–1[15]
Unaffiliated [18]
1929 AA 78–89 .467 4th 33 Unaffiliated [100]
1930 AA 60–93 .392 8th 33 Unaffiliated [101]
1931 AA 86–80 .518 3rd 17+12 Unaffiliated [102]
1932 AA 86–80 .518 5th 13 Unaffiliated [103]
1933 AA 82–72 .532 6th 20 Unaffiliated [104]
1934 AA 77–75 .507 5th 9+12 Unaffiliated [105]
1935 AA 85–67 .559 2nd 5 Unaffiliated [106]
1936
^
AA 79–75 .513 4th 11 5–5 .500 Won semifinals vs. St. Paul Saints, 4–1
Lost AA championship vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 4–1
Unaffiliated [107]
1937 AA 67–85 .441 6th 22 Unaffiliated [108]
1938
^
AA 80–74 .519 4th 11+12 2–4 .333 Lost semifinals vs. Kansas City Blues, 4–2 Unaffiliated [109]
1939
^
AA 82–72 .532 3rd 25 5–5 .500 Won semifinals vs. Kansas City Blues, 4–1
Lost AA championship vs. Louisville Colonels, 4–1
Cincinnati Reds [110]
1940 AA 62–84 .425 6th 30 Cincinnati Reds [111]
1942 AA 76–78 .494 6th (tie) 8+12 Unaffiliated [112]
1943
^
AA 85–67 .559 2nd 5+12 3–5 .375 Won semifinals vs. Toledo Mud Hens, 3–2
Lost AA championship vs. Columbus Red Birds, 3–0
Unaffiliated [113]
1944 AA 57–93 .380 6th 43+12 Unaffiliated [114]
1945
^
AA 90–63 .588 2nd 2+12 2–4 .333 Lost semifinals vs. St. Paul Saints, 4–2 Unaffiliated [115]
1946
^
AA 88–65 .575 2nd 4 4–7 .364 Won semifinals vs. Minneapolis Millers, 4–3
Lost AA championship vs. Louisville Colonels, 4–0
Boston Braves [116]
1947 AA 74–79 .484 6th 19 Pittsburgh Pirates [117]
1948
^
AA 100–54 .649 1st 2–4 .333 Lost semifinals vs. St. Paul Saints, 4–2 Pittsburgh Pirates [23]
1949
^ League champions Class champions
AA 93–61 .604 2nd 12 12–8 .600 Won semifinals vs. Minneapolis Millers, 4–3
Won AA championship vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 4–3
Won Junior World Series vs. Montreal Royals, 4–2[15]
Pittsburgh Pirates [26]
1950
^
AA 85–67 .575 2nd 4 7–4 .636 Won semifinals vs. St. Paul Saints, 4–0
Lost AA championship vs. Columbus Red Birds, 4–3
Pittsburgh Pirates [118]
1951 AA 68–84 .447 7th 26+12 Pittsburgh Pirates [119]
1952 AA 75–79 .487 6th 26 Cleveland Indians [120]
1953
^
AA 82–72 .532 4th 8 2–4 .333 Lost semifinals vs. Kansas City Blues, 4–2 Cleveland Indians [121]
1954
^
AA 95–57 .625 1st 5–6 .455 Won semifinals vs. Minneapolis Millers, 4–2
Lost AA championship vs. Louisville Colonels, 4–1
Cleveland Indians [122]
1955 AA 67–86 .438 7th 24+12 Cleveland Indians [123]
1956
^ League champions Class champions
AA 92–62 .597 1st 12–3 .800 Won semifinals vs. Minneapolis Millers, 4–3
Won AA championship vs. Denver Bears, 4–0
Won Junior World Series vs. Rochester Red Wings, 4–0[15]
Cleveland Indians [29]
1957 AA 74–80 .481 6th 19 Chicago White Sox [124]
1958 AA 72–82 .468 6th 18+12 Chicago White Sox [125]
1959 AA 86–76 .531 3rd 3rd 11 Chicago White Sox [126]
1960 AA 65–89 .422 7th 23 Philadelphia Phillies [127]
1961
^
AA 86–64 .573 1st 1–4 .200 Lost semifinals vs. Houston Buffs, 4–1 Cincinnati Reds [128]
1962
^
AA 89–58 .605 1st 0–3 .000 Lost semifinals vs. Louisville Colonels, 3–0 Chicago White Sox [129]
1963
* League champions
IL 86–67 .562 1st 1st 8–3 .727 Won Southern Division title
Won semifinals vs. Syracuse Chiefs, 4–1
Won IL championship vs. Atlanta Crackers, 4–2
Chicago White Sox [36]
1964 PCL 89–69 .563 4th 2nd 7 Chicago White Sox [130]
1965 PCL 70–78 .473 8th (tie) 3rd (tie) 22+12 Chicago White Sox [131]
1966 PCL 80–68 .541 4th 3rd 5+12 Chicago White Sox [132]
1967 PCL 76–71 .517 5th 2nd 8+12 Chicago White Sox [133]
1968 PCL 66–78 .458 8th 5th 27 Cincinnati Reds [134]
1969 AA 74–66 .529 3rd 11 Cincinnati Reds [135]
1970 AA 71–69 .507 2nd 2nd 3 Cincinnati Reds [136]
1971
*
AA 84–55 .604 1st 1st 3–4 .429 Won Eastern Division title
Lost AA championship vs. Denver Bears, 4–3[38]
Cincinnati Reds .[137]
1972 AA 61–79 .436 6th 4th 22 Cincinnati Reds [138]
1973 AA 74–62 .544 2nd 2nd 9 Cincinnati Reds [139]
1974
*
AA 78–57 .578 1st 1st 3–4 .429 Won Eastern Division title
Lost AA championship vs. Tulsa Oilers, 4–3[39]
Cincinnati Reds [140]
1975 AA 71–64 .526 4th 2nd 5+12 Cincinnati Reds [141]
1976 AA 62–73 .459 6th 3rd 15+12 Cincinnati Reds [142]
1977 AA 72–64 .529 2nd 2nd 4+12 Cincinnati Reds [143]
1978
*
AA 78–57 .578 1st 1st 1–4 .200 Won Eastern Division title
Lost AA championship vs. Omaha Royals, 4–1[40]
Cincinnati Reds [144]
1979 AA 67–69 .493 5th 4th 11 Cincinnati Reds [145]
1980 AA 58–77 .430 8th 4th 16+12 Cincinnati Reds [146]
1981 AA 62–74 .456 7th 3rd 11 Cincinnati Reds [147]
1982
* League champions
AA 75–61 .551 1st 1st 4–2 .667 Won Eastern Division title
Won AA championship vs. Omaha Royals, 4–2[42]
Cincinnati Reds [148]
1983 AA 64–72 .471 6th (tie) 3rd 14+12 Cincinnati Reds [149]
1984
^
AA 91–63 .591 1st 2–4 .333 Lost semifinals vs. Louisville Redbirds, 4–2[150] Montreal Expos [151]
1985 AA 61–81 .430 8th 4th 13 Montreal Expos [152]
1986
* League champions
AA 80–62 .563 1st 1st 4–3 .571 Won Eastern Division title
Won AA championship vs. Denver Zephyrs, 4–3[45]
Montreal Expos [153]
1987
^ League champions
AA 74–64 .536 3rd 4 7–3 .700 Won semifinals vs. Louisville Redbirds, 3–2
Won AA championship vs. Denver Zephyrs, 4–1[46]
Montreal Expos [154]
1988
* League champions Class champions
AA 89–53 .627 1st 1st 7–3 .700 Won Eastern Division title
Won AA championship vs. Omaha Royals, 3–1[47]
Won Triple-A Classic vs. Rochester Red Wings, 4–2[15]
Montreal Expos [155]
1989
* League champions Class champions
AA 87–59 .596 1st 1st 7–2 .778 Won Eastern Division title
Won AA championship vs. Omaha Royals, 3–2[49]
Won Triple-A Classic vs. Richmond Braves, 4–0[15]
Montreal Expos [156]
1990 AA 61–85 .418 7th 4th 24+12 Montreal Expos [157]
1991 AA 75–68 .524 4th 2nd 6 Montreal Expos [158]
1992 AA 83–61 .576 2nd 2nd 4 Montreal Expos [159]
1993 AA 66–77 .462 7th 4th 15 Cincinnati Reds [160]
1994
^ League champions
AA 86–57 .601 1st 6–1 .857 Won semifinals vs. Louisville Redbirds, 3–0
Won AA championship vs. Nashville Sounds, 3–1[51]
Cincinnati Reds [161]
1995
^
AA 88–56 .611 1st 0–3 .000 Lost semifinals vs. Louisville Redbirds, 3–0[162] Cincinnati Reds [163]
1996
^
AA 78–66 .542 3rd 2nd 6 4–5 .444 Won semifinals vs. Buffalo Bisons, 3–2[164]
Lost AA championship vs. Oklahoma City 89ers, 3–1[165]
Cincinnati Reds [166]
1997
^
AA 85–59 .590 2nd 2nd 2 2–3 .400 Lost semifinals vs. Buffalo Bisons, 3–2[167] Cincinnati Reds [168]
1998 IL 76–67 .531 6th 2nd 12 Cincinnati Reds [169]
1999 IL 75–69 .521 7th 2nd 9+12 Cincinnati Reds [170]
2000
* League champions Class champions
IL 81–63 .563 5th 1st 9–5 .643 Won Western Division title
Won semifinals vs. Durham Bulls, 3–2
Won IL championship vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, 3–2[57]
Won Triple-A World Series vs. Memphis Redbirds, 3–1[15]
Milwaukee Brewers [171]
2001 IL 66–78 .458 11th 3rd 18 Milwaukee Brewers [172]
2002 IL 67–76 .469 9th 3rd 13+12 Milwaukee Brewers [173]
2003 IL 64–78 .451 12th 4th 14+12 Milwaukee Brewers [174]
2004 IL 66–78 .458 11th (tie) 3rd 14 Milwaukee Brewers [175]
2005
^
IL 78–66 .542 4th 2nd 11 3–5 .375 Won wild card berth
Won semifinals vs. Buffalo Bisons, 3–2
Lost IL championship vs. Toledo Mud Hens, 3–0[60]
Pittsburgh Pirates [176]
2006
^
IL 76–66 .535 4th (tie) 1st (tie) 0–1 .000 Lost Western Division title vs. Toledo Mud Hens, 1–0[b] Pittsburgh Pirates [177]
2007 IL 70–73 .490 8th 3rd 12 Pittsburgh Pirates [178]
2008 IL 68–76 .472 9th 4th 20 Pittsburgh Pirates [179]
2009 IL 70–73 .490 9th 3rd 14+12 Pittsburgh Pirates [180]
2010 IL 71–73 .493 8th 3rd 8+12 Pittsburgh Pirates [181]
2011 IL 76–68 .528 6th 2rd 12 Pittsburgh Pirates [182]
2012
*
IL 89–55 .618 1st 1st 1–3 .250 Won Western Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Charlotte Knights, 3–1[62]
Pittsburgh Pirates [183]
2013
*
IL 80–64 .556 3rd 1st 0–3 .000 Won Western Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Durham Bulls, 3–0[63]
Pittsburgh Pirates [184]
2014 IL 73–71 .507 7th 2nd 6 Pittsburgh Pirates [185]
2015
*
IL 83–61 .576 1st (tie) 1st (tie) 5–3 .625 Won Western Division title[c]
Won semifinals vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 3–0
Lost IL championship vs. Columbus Clippers, 3–2[66]
Pittsburgh Pirates [187]
2016 IL 70–74 .486 7th 3rd 12 Pittsburgh Pirates [188]
2017
*
IL 79–63 .556 5th 1st 1–3 .250 Won Western Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Durham Bulls, 3–1[67]
Pittsburgh Pirates [189]
2018 IL 73–67 .521 5th (tie) 2nd (tie) 12 Pittsburgh Pirates [190]
2019 IL 66–74 .471 9th (tie) 2nd (tie) 15 Pittsburgh Pirates [191]
2020 IL Season cancelled (COVID-19 pandemic)[69] Pittsburgh Pirates [192]
2021 AAAE 57–62 .479 11th 4th 11+12 4–5 .444 Lost series vs. Omaha Storm Chasers, 2–3[193]
Tied series vs. Nashville Sounds, 2–2[d][193]
Placed 18th (tie) in the Triple-A Final Stretch[74]
Pittsburgh Pirates [73]
2022 IL 74–75 .497 10th (tie) 4th (tie) 17 Pittsburgh Pirates [194]
Totals 9,129–8,573 .514 152–140 .521

Roster[edit]

Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches

60-day injured list

Injury icon 2.svg 7-day injured list
* On Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster
~ Development list
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporarily inactive list
Roster updated October 1, 2022
Transactions
→ More rosters: MiLB • International League
Pittsburgh Pirates minor league players

Achievements[edit]

Awards[edit]

The franchise has been awarded these honors by Minor League Baseball.

Minor League Baseball awards
Award Season Ref.
John H. Johnson President's Award 1988 [195]
A man in a blue jacket and white baseball cap
Bob Sebra was chosen as the 1988 AA Most Valuable Pitcher.

Eighteen players and nine managers won league awards in recognition for their performance with Indianapolis in the American Association.[196]

American Association awards
Award Recipient Season Ref.
Most Valuable Player Stew Hofferth 1943 [196]
Most Valuable Player Stan Wentzel 1945 [196]
Most Valuable Player Les Fleming 1948 [196]
Most Valuable Player Nanny Fernandez 1949 [196]
Most Valuable Player Herb Score 1954 [196]
Most Valuable Player Cliff Cook 1961 [196]
Most Valuable Player Bernie Carbo 1969 [196]
Most Valuable Player Champ Summers 1978 [196]
Most Valuable Player Eric Owens 1995 [196]
Most Valuable Pitcher Joe Hesketh 1984 [196]
Most Valuable Pitcher Pascual Pérez 1987 [196]
Most Valuable Pitcher Bob Sebra 1988 [196]
Most Valuable Pitcher Mark Gardner 1989 [196]
Rookie of the Year Herb Score 1954 [196]
Rookie of the Year Cam Carreon 1959 [196]
Rookie of the Year Chico Ruiz 1961 [196]
Rookie of the Year Ken Griffey Sr. 1973 [196]
Rookie of the Year Andrés Galarraga 1985 [196]
Rookie of the Year Willie Greene 1993 [196]
Rookie of the Year Eric Owens 1995 [196]
Manager of the Year Kerby Farrell 1954 [196]
Manager of the Year Kerby Farrell 1956 [196]
Manager of the Year Cot Deal 1961 [196]
Manager of the Year Luke Appling 1962 [196]
Manager of the Year Vern Rapp 1971 [196]
Manager of the Year Vern Rapp 1974 [196]
Manager of the Year Buck Rogers 1984 [196]
Manager of the Year Joe Sparks 1986 [196]
Manager of the Year Joe Sparks 1987 [196]
Manager of the Year Joe Sparks 1988 [196]
Manager of the Year Tom Runnells 1989 [196]
Manager of the Year Marc Bombard 1994 [196]
Manager of the Year Marc Bombard 1995 [196]
Manager of the Year Dave Miley 1997 [196]

One player won a league award in recognition for his performance with Indianapolis in the Pacific Coast League.[197]

Pacific Coast League awards
Award Recipient Season Ref.
Most Valuable Player Duane Josephson 1966 [197]

Seven players have won league awards in recognition for their performance with Indianapolis in the International League.[198]

International League awards
Award Recipient Season Ref.
Most Valuable Player Don Buford 1963 [198]
Most Valuable Player Roberto Petagine 1998 [198]
Most Valuable Pitcher Fritz Ackley 1963 [198]
Most Valuable Pitcher Ben Hendrickson 2004 [198]
Most Valuable Pitcher Zach Duke 2005 [198]
Most Valuable Pitcher Steven Brault 2017 [198]
Most Valuable Pitcher Mitch Keller 2019 [198]
Rookie of the Year Don Buford 1963 [198]

Hall of Famers[edit]

A man in a light baseball jersey and dark cap
Al López, who played catcher on the 1948 Indians and managed the team from 1948 to 1950, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.

Thirteen former Indians have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame based on their performance in or contributions to Major League Baseball.[199]

Hall of Famers
Name Season(s) Position Inducted Ref.
Luke Appling 1962 Manager 1964 [200]
Mordecai Brown 1919 Pitcher 1949 [201]
Gabby Hartnett 1942 Catcher / Manager 1955 [202]
Randy Johnson 1988–1989 Pitcher 2015 [203]
Harmon Killebrew 1958 Third baseman 1984 [204]
Nap Lajoie 1918 First baseman / Manager 1937 [205]
Al López 1948 / 1948–1950 Catcher / Manager 1977 [206]
Rube Marquard 1908 Pitcher 1971 [207]
Joe McCarthy 1911 Third baseman 1957 [208]
Minnie Miñoso 1964 Outfielder 2022 [209]
Ray Schalk 1938–1939 Manager 1955 [210]
Bob Uecker
(Ford C. Frick Award recipient)
1960 Catcher 2003 [211]
Larry Walker 1989 Outfielder 2020 [212]

Radio and television[edit]

Howard Kellman is the long-standing "Voice of the Tribe", calling play-by-play for all but two seasons (1975 and 1980) since 1974.[213] All Indians home and road games are broadcast on WNDE Fox Sports 1260 AM.[4] Live audio broadcasts are also available online through the team's website and the MiLB First Pitch app.[4] Some home games can be viewed on WTTV.2 The Dot, WISH-TV 8, and MyINDY-TV 23.[4] All home and road games can be viewed through the MiLB.TV subscription feature of the official website of Minor League Baseball, with audio provided by a radio simulcast.[214]

Name controversy[edit]

In July 2020, a year before Major League Baseball's similarly-named Cleveland Indians changed their moniker to the "Guardians" in 2021, Indianapolis management said it would form a committee to determine whether a change was necessary, based on dialogue with local organizations and community members.[215] By the time Cleveland changed their name in July 2021, Indianapolis announced that they had no immediate plans for a name change. Although they acknowledged that, when the team was initially formed, the name was a play on Indianapolis itself, the moniker had evolved to include more Native American references in their logo and marketing. Meanwhile, the primary newspaper covering the team, the Indianapolis Star, started to report stories and results about the team using only the city's name, without the supposedly controversial nickname.[216] In addition, Carolina Castoreno-Santana, executive director of the American Indian Center of Indiana, said the Indianapolis Indians should change their name, arguing that the indigenous people were "overwhelmingly" in favor of changing the name.[217]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The 1918 season was suspended after the games of July 21 as team owners voted to end the season in response to the "work or fight" order issued by Secretary of War Newton D. Baker to aid the effort to win World War I.[89]
  2. ^ Indianapolis finished the 2006 season tied for first with the Toledo Mud Hens. On September 5, Indianapolis lost a one-game playoff against Toledo for the Western Division title, 4–0.[61]
  3. ^ Indianapolis finished the 2015 season tied for first with the Columbus Clippers. Per the International League's playoff procedures, the teams were declared co-champions of the Western Division, and the Indians lost the tiebreaker to be seeded as the wild card team.[64][186]
  4. ^ Game four of the five-game series was cancelled due to wet grounds.[193]

References[edit]

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General

External links[edit]