The Indians have been lucky to have some great right fielders in team history and this list includes five of the greatest Indians of all time. Outside of those five, there is a big drop off and a departure from the stereotype that corner outfielder is a power position. The top five however, can’t be understated. It includes one Hall of Famers and another player that should be in. Of the other three, two are not eligible yet, but one deserves a place and a plaque in Cooperstown when he is.
10. Cory Snyder – Years Starting RF – 1987-1990
Snyder was the Indians first right fielder to place a higher value on power than average. His .245 batting average is 50 points lower than most of the players on this list, despite his over 100 home runs. He is one of just three Indians right fielders with more than 100 home runs, but his other stats make him look like a marginal player.
9. Elmer Smith – 1919-1921
Smith played just a short time in right for the Indians, but played near 700 games overall with the team. He is also the only player on the list to have won a World Series while being the starting right fielder for the Indians. His .284 average and 300+ runs and RBI would normally make him look like a player that should be higher on the list, but compared to the other players, he looks mediocre.
8. Dick Porter – 1930-1933
Porter only started four seasons in right field for the Tribe, but made the most of his time with 146 and almost 400 runs scored. Porter showed a lot of promise during his short time, but fizzled right after getting hot as he retired just after finishing the 1934 season with the Red Sox after a mid-season trade.
7. Homer Summa – 1923-24, 1926-28
Summa maintained a batting average above .300 for more than 750 games with the Indians, but was never a very productive player, scoring less than 400 runs over that time, a feat accomplished by other players on the list in far less time. Summa was still an effective player over his career, rapping 159 doubles out of his 861 hits.
6. Bruce Campbell – 1935, 1937-39
Campbell was one of many high batting average right fielders, adding little power to his all around game. He impressed while with the Tribe, scoring almost 350 runs and batting over .300. One thing that keeps him as high as he is is that the players below him had even less power than he did. His 41 triples and 37 home runs look very good compared to Summa’s 49 triples and home runs and Porter’s 42.
5. Rocky Colavito – 1956-59, 1965-66
The Rock could have been number one on this list if not for an ill-timed trade for Harvey Kuenn. Despite missing a few of his prime years away from Cleveland, Colavito still ranks high on the list of best Indians right fielders, ranking second in both home runs and RBI to just Ramirez.
4. Shin-Soo Choo – 2008-2012
Choo is the current starting right fielder for the Cleveland Indians and has already hit 83 home runs and stole 85 bases. From 2009 through 2012, Choo was the teams top offensive performer every season (except an injury shortened 2011), setting career highs in 2010 with 22 home runs and 90 RBI. In addition to his impressive offensive statistics, Choo also has a great arm from right field, ranking in the top 10 in outfield assists from 2009 to 2011 including leading the league in 2010 with 14.
3. Shoeless Joe Jackson – 1911-1915
Shoeless Joe is more famous for his time with the Chicago Black Sox, where he was banned from baseball for “throwing” the World Series, but he played in Cleveland first. He certainly never tried to lose with the Indians as he batted .375 over his time there including the last .400 season by any Indians hitter. As a right fielder, Jackson was also one of the top defensive players on this list with a great throwing arm to go along with his speed.
2. Elmer Flick – 1902-1905, 1907
Flick is the only current Hall of Famer on this list and he got there a different way than the average right fielder. In Indians history, Flick ranks in the top five in triples and top ten in steals as the prototypical speed outfielder. His most impressive feat was maintaining a high average through the length of his time with the Naps as he ended with over 1,000 hits during his time in Cleveland.
1. Manny Ramirez – 1994-2000
Ramirez, hated by many for his care-free attitude and lack of loyalty, was one of the best hitters in Indians history, leading all players ever in slugging percent and OPS. Among right fielders he leads in almost every statistical category, including RBI and home runs. Ramirez made the most of his time in Cleveland, starting off as a solid rookie and leading the league in RBI before he left for Boston.
Borderline: Joe Wood, Braggo Roth, Charlie Spikes, Chuck Hinton, Bob Kennedy