This weekend, the Cleveland Indians induct long time fan favorite Carlos Baerga in to their Hall of Fame. The former Tribe second baseman stole our hearts in the early-to-mid 90’s with his clutch hitting and easy going personality. Baerga will go down in history as one of the most beloved Indians and here is a tribute to no. 9.
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carlos Obed Baerga came to Cleveland in a trade that sent Joe Carter to the San Diego Padres. The Indians received Baerga, Sandy Alomar Jr., and Chris James for the Indians’ outfielder. As a switch-hitter, Baerga broke through the minors in 1990 and become an instant fan favorite.
In his career, Baerga hit .291 with 134 home runs and 774 RBI. The former Tribe infielder made three All-Star appearances and won two Silver Slugger awards. In the 1992-93 seasons, Baerga became the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby in 1922 to have back-to-back 200 plus hit, 20 plus home run, 100 plus RBI, and a .300 plus average. Baerga is also one of just three players in the history of baseball to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same inning. With Baerga’s help, the Indians made their first World Series appearance since 1954 in the magical 1995 season.
After being traded to the New York Mets in 1996, Baerga bounced around baseball before actually coming back to the Tribe in 1999. The Indians won the Central Division that year. He would go on to play for six other professional teams.
As my favorite Indian of all-time, Baerga going in to the Indians Heritage Hall is something that hits close to home for me. I grew up watching and wanting to be Baerga. It was him and Omar Vizquel that I modeled my own personal game from. I couldn’t be happier for Baerga and his family. Baerga’s smile, personality, efforts, and love for the game of baseball will be forever etched in my memories. Congratulations Carlos!
Ryan Ruiz is a Cleveland Sports Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan Ruiz (BrownsWriter) and Twitter @ryanpruiz24.