All-Time Indians: Joe Charboneau

 

Name: Joseph Charboneau       Position: Left Field        
Nick Name: Super Joe             Number: 34          
Tribe Time: 1980-1982           DOB: 06/17/1955        
Accolades: 1980 Rookie of the Year          
Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS SB% OBP SLG AVG OPS ISOP
Best Season (1980) 131 453 76 131 17 2 23 87 221 49 70 2 4 33% .358 .488 .289 .846 .199
Career 201 647 97 172 26 4 29 114 293 61 99 3 4 43% .329 .453 .266 .782 .187

If there was ever such a thing as a flash in the pan in baseball, it was Super Joe Charboneau. The Indians acquired the outfielder prior to the 1979 season when he was just in single A. He played one season in the minors, hitting 21 home runs and batting .352 before making the jump straight from AA to the big leagues. 

In 1980 Joe Charboneau became Super Joe as he hit 23 home runs as a rookie, knocking in 87. He destroyed the competition that year, taking the AL Rookie of the Year award with 15 of the 28 first place votes, beating Boston's Dave Stapleton by 62 vote points. He became the Indians third Rookie of the Year (after Herb Score and Chris Chambliss) helping the Tribe to three such awards in 30 years. After Chambliss won in 1971 and Charboneau's in 1980, Sandy Alomar, Jr won his own Rookie of the Year as a catcher in 1990. The Indians almost continued this streak of one RoY each decade, but were stymied by a 27 year old Japanese MVP who beat out starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia in 2001.

In 1981 Charboneau missed most of the season with a back injury incurred in Spring Training, splitting time between AAA and the Indians when he did play. In his final season in professional baseball, Super Joe was demoted as far as AA, spending just 22 games in Cleveland. After spending all (11 games) of 1983 in the Indians new AA team, the Buffalo Bisons. This was enough for the Tribe who finally gave up on their potential super star in 1984. He would never return to the Major Leagues, ending what looked to be like one of the most promising young talents to come up with the Indians. Along with the stories of Score and Ray Fosse, Charboneau's ranks among the most disappointing tales in Indians history.

Charboneau can be seen around the Indians from time to time, including occasionally at Fantasy Camp and other Tribe events. Currently he works alongside with former Indian Kevin Rhomberg as an instructor at Super Joe's Baseball & Softball Academy in Painesville, Ohio.

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.

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