All-Time Indians: Casey Blake

Name: William Casey Blake     Position: Third Base/RF      
              Number: 1        
Tribe Time: 2003-2008         DOB: 08/23/1973      
Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS SB% OBP SLG AVG OPS
Best Season (2004) 152 587 93 159 36 3 28 88 68 139 5 8 38% .354 .486 .271 .840
Career 810 2981 435 794 183 9 116 417 281 648 28 27 51% .337 .451 .266 .788

Casey Blake may be a surprise to some Indians fans to sit as an All-Time Indian, but he was a very serviceable hitter through his six seasons with the Tribe. Despite never having a truly outstanding single season, he ended up having a solid career and ranks among the top 30 Indians in career home runs and top 50 in doubles, RBI and runs despite playing in just 810 games (ranked 48th in Indians history). He should also be considered in the Indians top ten third basemen of all time.

Blake joined the Indians in 2003 after being released by the Twins and Orioles. He had never played in more than 20 games in a season, but the Indians placed their full trust in him and thrust him into the starters role at third base, taking over for the retiring Gold Glover, Travis Fryman. He played 152 games in his first season and was the team's second best hitter (behind Jody Gerut). He continued this success, although he became a much smaller part of the lineup as Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez all came into their prime. Over his first five seasons he averaged more than 20 home runs and 70 RBI each season.

The most impressive part of Blake's career was his versatility, moving from third base, where he had spent his entire career to that point, into right field when the Indians had a need occur in 2005. The Indians made an odd move, signing the injured Aaron Boone and trading Gerut to the Cubs, giving the team two third basemen and no right fielders. Blake instantly became an excellent fielder in right, in fact, better than he ever was at third. His strong arm was now featured were he was able to throw out 11 base runners in 238 games.

When the Boone experiment inevitably failed, Blake had no issues moving back to third for the next two seasons, playing a little time at first as well to keep his bat in the line-up. In 2007, Blake was a big part of the Indians play-off push, playing in all but six games during the regular season and all 11 play-off games. In the two series against New York and Boston, Blake hit three doubles and scored five runs, making him one of the most important hitters for the Indians during the post-season.

Blake helped the Indians one more time in 2008 when he was traded to the Dodgers for one of the best catchers in Indians history, Carlos Santana. An inevitable defensive switch was going to force him out of his third base role eventually as Asdrubal Cabrera was obviously more short stop than second baseman. With that move, Jhonny Peralta would have to move to third and Blake would have to move to Los Angeles. With Shin-Soo Choo in right, it would have been a waste to take a player with 20 home run ability and use him as a utility man, so the Indians sent him to Southern California for the package of Santana and Jon Meloan.

Blake then played two more years with the Dodgers at a similar level of that of when he was in Cleveland before injuries cost him most of 2011. In 2012 he signed with the Rockies, but never got into a game and retired mid-season. To this point he remains out of baseball, but he was such a good clubhouse presence that it would be surprising if he didn't come back as a coach at some point.

Blake

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

Quantcast