In Tito We Trust: Indians on the Verge of Breaking the Curse

Photo Courtesy of Raymond Bosak

Photo Courtesy of Raymond Bosak


It’s been quite a year for the city of Cleveland hasn’t it? In June, the Cavs snapped the 52-year championship drought for the city. Now, not to be out done, the Indians are in the World Series for the first time since 1997, and Terry Francona is looking to end another World Series title drought. In 2004, Tito and the Boston Red Sox ended an 86-year drought, and the “Curse of the Bambino” was broken. They came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the ALCS as well. On Tuesday, October 25, 2016 (the same night the Cavs hand out rings and raise the banner), Francona will be looking to end the “Curse of Rocky Colavito” and bring home the franchise’s first title since 1948.

The curse originated on April 17, 1960. General Manager Frank “Trader” Lane sent the reigning home run champion, and immensely popular Colavito to the Detroit Tigers for reigning batting champ Harvey Kuenn. In 1959, Colavito hit 42 homers while Kuenn hit .353. (Side note: In two years, Lane traded away nearly every player he inherited on the 40-man roster when he took over). From 1960-1993, the Indians never even came close to first place, finishing no better than 11 games out of first. The team hadn’t won a pennant since 1954 or a World Series since 1948.

The stretch of terrible luck can’t be made up. They traded for Colavito in 1965, but had to give up Tommy John to the Kansas City Athletics, and Tommy Agee to the Chicago White Sox in a three team deal. In the 1960s, Sam McDowell went from one of the best pitchers in the game to unreliable due to his alcoholism, forcing him to retire at the age of 32. He did quit drinking though, and became a counselor to help athletes dealing with drinking problems. The dreaded “Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx”, trading Rick Sutcliffe for Joe Carter and Mel Hall and then trading Joe Carter in 1989 for Sandy Alomar and Carlos Baerga (possibly one of the greatest trades in recent memory). Carter helped the Toronto Blue Jays win back-to-back World Series titles. The worst part of this curse came in 1993 when relievers Steve Olin and Tim Crews were killed in a boating accident. Starting pitcher Bob Ojeda was nearly killed as well.

The 1995 Indians are, in my opinion, one of the greatest teams in the past two and a half decades, despite not winning the World Series. They went 100-44 and were first in the majors in nearly every offensive category. The heavily favored Indians lost to the Atlanta Braves in six games. In 1997, the 86-75 Indians were two outs away from bringing home a title for the first time in almost 50 years, but Jose Mesa couldn’t get the job done. The Indians lost 3-2 in 11 innings in a thrilling seven game series with the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins). It was more heartbreak in 1998 and 1999. The Indians were up 2-1 on the Yankees in the ’98 ALCS but lost in six games. In ’99, the Indians were up 2-0 on the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, but dropped three straight to lose the series. Despite five straight Central Division titles, not winning a World Series was the downfall of Mike Hargrove, and he was fired after the ’99 season. The Indians again had World Series on their minds in 2007, but of course, the curse kicked in. Cleveland was up 3-1 on Tito and the Red Sox. Boston rallied and outscored the Indians 30-5 over the final three games, and ultimately went on to win the World Series that year with a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.

I’m not writing about this unfortunate curse to give you nightmares. Believe me, it’s been very hard to bring up all of these moments again, almost to the point where I may have cried a little bit. The 2016 Indians have been playing with a chip on their shoulders ever since the playoffs began. They weren’t supposed to beat Boston. They swept them and sent David Ortiz to the retirement home early. The Blue Jays were supposed to bludgeon the Indians pitching. Toronto hit .201, scored 1.6 runs per game and were knocked out in five games. Needless to say, this team can hang with anyone. So go ahead national media and pick the Cubs or Dodgers to win it all. Pick them to obliterate the Indians. We embrace this underdog role, and we should never be doubted. Just ask unanimous MVP Steph Curry and the 73-win Golden State Warriors.



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Raymond Bosak About Raymond Bosak

Hello everyone. My name is Raymond Bosak and I live in Cleveland, Ohio. I am a die-hard Cleveland fan, and have been my entire life. I am looking forward to bringing you some excellent Browns, Buckeyes, and Indians coverage, and maybe some Cavs things too. Everything I write will be honest and upfront. I’ll aim to have a couple articles per week, including some game previews and reviews, 5 things to watch for, and game ball and game MVP(s).

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