Greatest Cleveland Indians Sluggers of All Time

There have been many great home run hitters in Cleveland Indians history, but this list is based on career totals while with the team. In other words, players such as Joe Carter and Cory Snyder are relegated to honorable mention, and David Justice isn't even in the teams' all-time Top 20. Enjoy the list....

Jim Thome-Playing for the Tribe from 1991 until 2002, Jim Thome was one of the cornerstones of the franchise's rebirth during the early years of Jacobs Field. Thome belted 334 home runs while a member of the Indians and still holds the single season team record of 52, set in 2002. Thome was one of the best and most popular players on teams that included other stars such as Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Carlos Baerga and Sandy Alomar, Jr., and he helped the Tribe reach the World Series in 1995 and 1997. Thome left for the Phillies as a free agent in 2003 and currently plays for the Chicago White Sox.

Albert Belle-He wasn't necessarily a fan favorite because of his off the field behavior and unfair treatment of the media. But in between the lines, Belle was one of the most feared sluggers in the game, possibly ever. Belle was also one of the cogs during the team's renaissance during the nineties, and clubbed 242 career homers with the team. His best seasons with the Tribe were 1994 (36 homers, 101 RBI and .357 batting average in a strike shortened season), 1995 (50 homers, 126 RBI also in a strike-shortened season) and 1996 (48 homers, 148 RBI). Belle left the team as a free agent, signing with the White Sox in 1997.

Manny Ramirez-Along with Thome and Belle, Manny Ramirez was another of the most feared sluggers in Indians history, tallying 236 homers with the team. And to think that they were part of the same lineup for a few years is just mind-blowing. Ramirez came up briefly in 1993 and became an everyday player with the team in 1994. In 1999, Ramirez hit 44 home runs and drove in 165 runs while batting .333, and played for the team one more year after that before joining the Boston Red Sox as a free agent, where he is still playing today.

Earl Averill-Outfielder Averill played for the Tribe from 1929 to 1939, belting 226 home runs with the team, including 32 in both 1931 and 1932. Averill was a six-time all-star and was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975. He was traded to the Detroit Tigers in 1939.

Hal Trosky-Trosky was the Indians' first baseman from 1933 to 1941, and hit 216 homers while with the team. His best season was 1936, when he clubbed 42 home runs with 162 RBI and a .343 batting average. Unfortunately for Trosky, he played in an era when other first basemen were hogging the spotlight, such as Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg and Lou Gehrig.

Larry Doby-Larry Doby was a pioneer, becoming the second African-American player in major league history, and the first to play in the American League. He hit 215 career homers as an Indian, and his best season was 1954 when he hit 32 homers with 126 RBI, leading the Tribe to the World Series. His first full season with Cleveland was 1948, the last Indians' team to win it all.

Andre Thornton-After playing his first few seasons with the Cubs and Expos, Montreal traded Thornton to the Tribe before the 1977 season. He wound up playing there for the remainder of his career, hitting 214 homers as a member of the Indians, including 33 home runs and 105 RBI in 1978 and 33 four-baggers again in 1984. Thornton also had six straight seasons with Cleveland where he walked more times than he struck out.

Al Rosen-Third baseman Rosen played his entire career with the Tribe, from 1947-1956, and hit 192 home runs during that time. He was a key member of the teams that won it all in 1948, and that reached the World Series in 1954 before getting swept by the Giants. Rosen was a four-time all-star, driving in more than 100 runs in five straight seasons. His best year was 1953 when he hit 43 homers with 145 RBI while batting .336.

Rocky Colavito-In just four-plus seasons with Cleveland, Colavito belted 190 home runs, including 41 in 1958 and 42 in 1959. But in what became known in Indians folklore as "The Curse of Rocky Colavito," GM Frank Lane traded the popular slugger to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn, who had won the batting title the previous season. Kuenn didn't pan out and Colavito kept putting up numbers with Detroit and then with Kansas City for one year, before returning to the Tribe in 1965. Still, fans never forgave Lane and claimed "the curse" kept the team out of contention for decades.

Ken Keltner-Third baseman Keltner played for Cleveland from 1937-1949 and hit 163 homers during that span. Keltner's best overall season was 1948 when he hit 31 home runs, 119 RBI and batted .297 in helping to lead the Tribe to the World Championship.

Honorable mention: Joe Carter, Woody Held, Jeff Heath, Travis Hafner, Brook Jacoby, Cory Snyder, Max Alvis, Carlos Baerga, Joe Gordon, Leon Wagner

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3 comments

Martin Harding 8 years ago

Evedently you didn't research these players much, because you left out Joe Jackson. He is 2nd or 3rd in just about all the Indians Franchise records. He still holds the highest team batting average. How do you think he did that; just standing around. He also has the team record for triples in a season.

I think you showed preference to the modern players and the players from the 'golden Age' of baseball. Your baseball knowledge should go back beyond the past 40 years, and you might find some hidden gems in there.

Martin Harding

Wichita, Kansas


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Nashville G-man 8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin Author

hey Martin...I appreciate your comment, but this list is based on career home runs hit in an Indians uniform. Joe Jackson had 54 career home runs, 24 of those with Cleveland. So while he was a great hitter for average, he is not what I would call a slugger. And unfortunately, the reason this list is mostly comprised of recent players, might have something to do with steroids and juiced baseballs. Thanks for reading!


lions44 profile image

lions44 3 years ago from Auburn, WA

Great article. What about an honorable mention for vic wertz. I know he only played 4 seasons for the Indians, I think he had his most productive seasons w/them (I'm trying to remember the stats). Wertz is unfortunately only remember for the Mays catch. But not sure if he is considered a "true Indian" by the fans.

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