Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wedge is AL Manager of the Year; Gabe Paul in the Hall?

There are two bits of news on the Indians Web site tonight.

One is nice, and probably not surprising. But other than to say "congrats" to Eric Wedge for being named A.L. Manager of the Year, I don't have much reaction.

It's another piece of off-season hardware for the Tribe - a Gold Glove for Grady, a Cy Young for C.C. and Executive of the Year for Mark Shapiro are the others.

But what we really need is some post-season hardware. The big one! The off-season awards may be an indication that we're on the right road. Let's hope we get there - and soon. I'm not that young anymore.

One honor that may be in the offing baffles me. But I guess that's because I measure this person by the work (damage) he did with the Indians for so many years and not his overall career.

Paul spent about 30 years in baseball, 19 of them with Cleveland- with some World Championship time in the middle in New York and a pennant won in Cincinnati early on.

During his 20 years at the helm of the Tribe he - and sidekick Phil Seghi - were responsible for 30 years of awful baseball. It was during their tenure that the Tribe became the joke of baseball - the late-century version of today's Kansas City Royals, only worse.

In Paul's first go-round with the Tribe, 1962 - 1973, the team had two winning seasons, one .500 season and losing seasons for the rest of the period. They finished anywhere from 14 to 40 games out of first place during those seasons. Their best season at the gate was 1965, when they drew 934,786; their worst was 1963, when 562,507 watched the Tribe in person.

In Paul's second coming, 1978 - 1984, the Tribe finished two seasons out of seven above .500, 1979 (81-80) and the strike-shortened 1981 (52-51). Excluding the strike-shortened season, the closest they came to first place was 17 games, in 1982.

Mostly I'll remember Paul for one thing. The role he played in two of the Tribe's worst-ever deals. Over the period of about 18 months the Indians sent slugging first baseman Chris Chambliss and powerhouse third-baseman Graig Nettles to the Yankees for what amounted to Charlie Spikes, a pair of spikes and a bag of balls. A few months after the Nettles deal he joined the Yankees' front office. A short time after joining the Yankees, he picked up Chambliss. Hmmm?

Plus Paul is said to have played a key role in the sale of the Yankees by CBS to George Steinbrenner.

It's not exactly betrayal of Art Modell proportions, but it smells a bit doesn't it?

To be fair, the Paul-led Tribe teams were backed by some of the worst ownership groups (Ted Bonda, Vernon Stouffer) in the game's history, but four winning teams in 19 seasons?

Sounds like Hall of Fame material to me.


bobbydb19 said...

True, I would trade in all this hardware for a World Series trophy, but it nice and shows we are headed in the right direction.

Nice to have 2 young pitchers in the top 4 of Cy Young voting.

"The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.....I gotta wear shades."

I saw the 2008 schedule came out and it is not very good for us Tribe fans in Yankeeland. All game with Yankees are done by May 8th. Series in Cleveland in April and then in NY in May.

I will once again going to the afternoon game on May 8th and won't be looking for Borowski to close it. That April 19th game has been burned into my brain.

Ron Vallo said...

"That April 19th game has been burned into my brain."

You and me both Bobby. I mostly remember all the noise when A-Rod's ball went out. The rest of the inning is a blur, or perhaps surpressed somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind

moose said...

at this thanksgiving holiday - thanks tribe fan in yankee land for giving us all somewhere to chat and voice our hopes and disappointments

happy thanksgiving to all

I guess we should all be thankful we have a baseball team