Tris Speaker (1916-26) :Cleveland Indians Greatest Hitters




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Traded to Cleveland in 1916 when the Boston Red Sox dared to cut his salary in half, Speaker reaffirmed and enhanced his star presence with the Indians with increased production, including a .386 average that won him his only batting title—and the only won nabbed by someone other than Ty Cobb over a 10-year period—during his first year with the Tribe.
The consummate Deadball Era hitting star, Speaker adjusted well to the Babe Ruth-inspired offensive splurge of the 1920s, hitting over .380 three more times—including a personal-best .389 in 1925, at age 37. Speaker also set a career high in doubles with 59 in 1923, the last of four straight years in which the eventual all-time career leader in two-baggers would lead the American League. That same year, Speaker powered up and easily set personal bests with 17 home runs and 130 runs batted in. This impressive accumulation came with exceptional discipline; Speaker never struck out more than 15 times in a season while playing for the Indians.
Speaker also assumed managerial duties for Cleveland midway through 1919, finishing the year with a 40-21 mark under his reign—and a year later, snagged the Indians their first-ever championship when they defeated Brooklyn in the World Series. Speaker managed the Indians through 1926, then was released by the team after it came to light that he might have been involved in fixing games during the 1919 season. He played two more seasons (for Washington and then the Philadelphia A’s) before retiring with 3,514 hits, second in AL history behind Cobb.

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