While the 2011 Cleveland Indians team didn’t reach their ultimate goal, a few of their players did make a name for themselves by entering the Indians record books. Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana were forced into the spotlight when every other starter on the team was injured and they didn’t disappoint. The Tribe bullpen was also a strong point, made essential by the lack of offense and the erratic starting pitching. Here are the new Cleveland Indians single season record holders.
While no there were no all-time records broken, there were some that were shattered by position. Carlos Santana played more games in 2011 than any other starting catcher has ever played for the Indians. Even though he played some time at first base, his 155 games seems silly with the amount of player coddling that happens now. The previous high for a player who was primarily a catcher was 153 by Victor Martinez in 2006. Santana also broke the runs record set in 2006 by Victor Martinez by scoring two more runs, a total of 84. Santana’s 27 home runs beat out Victor’s 25 in 2007, but only tied the all-time best for the Tribe, 27 by Gary Alexander in 1978. The 97 times Santana walked were more than 20 better than the next best catcher as both Steve O’Neill and Johnny Romano had 73 walks for the previous high. This combination of patience and switch hitting power is what made him seem like such a prize to the Indians in the first place and now he is starting to show it is for real. Hopefully I’ll be able to write another one of these next season about how he broke all of his own records from this year.
After his hot start, it seemed like Asdrubal was going to break every Indians record there is for a short stop. It turned out not to be too easy as the Indians have had some of the greatest short stops in all of baseball play for them. Most noteably Joe Sewell and Lou Boudreau who hold each of the top 7 RBI seasons for an Indians short stop. Asdrubal’s 92 in 2011 is still 8th best all time, but that isn’t that impressive. Closer to the top, his 25 home runs were second most for a player whose primary position was short stop, behind only Woodie Held’s 1959 season, when he hit 29. Since Held played some time at third that year, Cabrera does have the official record for most home runs while playing short stop. In setting this he surpassed Jhonny Peralta’s 2005 season when he hit 24.
The Bullpen Mafia
While no single season records were set in 2011, there were some that were attempted. The single season holds leader list has been completely overhauled as three new names appear in the top 10. Rafael Betancourt still holds the record of 31 holds in 2007, but Tony Sipp’s 24 and Vinnie Pestano’s 23 were good enough for 4th and 5th place all time. Joe Smith also added his name to the list with 16 holds, tying him for 9th. Since holds only became an official statistic in 1999, these records are not quite as meaningful as some others.
Chris Perez just scratched the top ten in his own category of most saves in a single year. His 36 saves in 2011 place him firmly in 9th place all time, behind some guys named Mesa (1995 and 1996), Borowski (2007), Wickman (2005), Jackson (1999) and Jones (1990 and 1988). While we do have save records for all of baseball history, teams didn’t really have closers before the 1970’s and didn’t use closers only in save opportunities until the 1990’s.