This will mark the first time in nearly two decades that the Tribe have played hosts to the Fall Classic. Both the 1995 and 1997 teams reached the World Series.
Cleveland lost in six games to the Atlanta Braves in ’95, and then in a heartbreaking seventh game to the Florida Marlins in that ’97 postseason.
The 2016 version of the Indians has a number of key additions to the roster acquired via trade, such as ALCS MVP reliever Andrew Miller, ace starting pitcher Corey Kluber, slugging first baseman Mike Napoli and veteran DH Carlos Santana.
Of the 25 players who were on the Tribe’s ALCS roster, against the Toronto Blue Jays, 10 were homegrown products.
Nine of those players were selected by the Indians in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, and another was signed by the organization as an amateur free agent.
On the mound, pitchers Cody Allen (2011 – 23rd round), Josh Tomlin (2006 – 19th round), Cody Anderson (2011 – 14th round), and ALCS Game 5 hero Ryan Merritt (2011 – 16th round) were raised through the organizational program.
Roberto Perez, part of a three-headed Indians catching corps this season, was the team’s 33rd round choice back in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft.
Out in the field there are another five key Cleveland position players: second baseman Jason Kipnis (2009 – 2nd round), shortstop Francisco Lindor (2011 – 1st round), center fielder Tyler Naquin (2012 – 1st round), and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall (2008 – 1st round) were all original draftees of the club.
Third baseman Jose Ramirez was signed by the Indians as a 16-year-old amateur free agent back in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic.
That list doesn’t include key starting pitcher Danny Salazar, out with a strained forearm during the postseason to this point, but who may return for the World Series. Salazar was signed by the club as an amateur free agent way back in 2006.
“I think the good news is if Danny pitches and he pitches healthy and he’s throwing the ball over the plate, we have a really good pitcher for however amount of innings he’s built up for, which can potentially help us,” said Indians manager Terry Francona, per Ohio.com’s Ryan Lewis.
Just what the National League opposition needs to face, one more talented homegrown Indians player as the AL representatives look to win their first World Series crown in 68 years.