CLEVELAND -- When a player makes a name for himself, his uniform number is forever associated with him. So who are the best members of the Tribe to don each number? Let’s take a look.
00: Paul Dade
Dade spent half of his six-year Major League career with the Indians. The utility man hit .277 with a .673 OPS and was later traded for Mike Hargrove.
0: Junior Ortiz
Of the three players who have ever worn just one zero on their back, Ortiz stayed with the Tribe the longest. The catcher played in 181 games over two seasons in Cleveland.
1: Bobby Avila
The second baseman played for the Tribe for 10 seasons and was a three-time All-Star. In 1954, he took home the batting title with a .341 average.
2: Jhonny Peralta
Peralta didn’t become an All-Star until after he left Cleveland, but he spent more than half of his career in Cleveland, playing in 923 games with a .751 OPS.
3: Earl Averill
The Hall of Famer had his number retired by the Indians after his 11 years with Cleveland, during which he hit .322 with a .940 OPS in 1,510 games. He was a six-time All-Star and had his best season in 1936, batting .378 with a Major League-leading 232 hits and 15 triples.
4: Jim Hegan
Hegan beats out Joe Gordon – who spent the majority of his career with the Yankees – as the best No. 4 in Indians history. The backstop played for the Tribe for 14 seasons despite leaving to serve in the military for a three-year stint just two years after making his debut.
5: Lou Boudreau
Another Hall of Famer with his number retired by the Indians, Boudreau played 13 seasons for the Tribe. He was the team’s player-manager from 1942-1950, leading Cleveland to its last World Championship in ’48.
6: Rocky Colavito
Colavito had powerful seasons in 1958 and ’59, launching 41 and 42 homers, respectively, before the Indians traded him prior to the 1960 season. He later returned in ’65 and ’66.
7: Kenny Lofton
In a tight battle against Al Rosen, Lofton comes out on top as the Tribe’s all-time stolen base leader, while owning the best defensive WAR (13.1) of all Indians outfielders.
8: Albert Belle
As the only player to ever hit at least 50 homers with at least 50 doubles in a single season, Belle is the best player to don the No. 8 uniform in franchise history.
9: Carlos Baerga
Baerga was part of the franchise-altering trade in 1989 that helped establish the foundation for the magical teams of the '90s.
10: Max Alvis
Alvis played eight of his nine seasons in the Majors with the Tribe.
11: Art Houtteman
Although he spent the majority of his career in Detroit, Houtteman played a vital role in the Indians’ tremendous starting rotations in the 1950s.
12: Francisco Lindor
His stay in Cleveland ended after six years, but that was enough time for “Mr. Smile” to become the best to wear No. 12 as a four-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner and two-time Gold Glove Award winner.
13: Omar Vizquel
The long-tenured shortstop dazzled with his glove for 11 years with the Tribe and owned a .283 average with a .731 OPS.
14: Larry Doby
A six-time All-Star, Doby was the first African American player in the history of the American League. The Hall of Famer played 10 seasons with Cleveland, hitting .286 with an .889 OPS, and his number was retired by the Tribe.
15: Sandy Alomar Jr.
Joining Baerga, Alomar was the other piece in the franchise-altering trade in 1989. He won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in ’90 and became a staple of the ‘90s teams.
16: Larry Brown
Brown’s nine-year run with the Tribe was enough to secure his spot as the best to wear No. 16.
17: Shin-Soo Choo
Choo spent seven years with the Indians, producing a .292 average with an .853 OPS.
18: Mel Harder
Harder's career spanned 20 seasons, which is the most by any Indian. He finished with a 223-186 record, a 3.80 ERA and had his number retired by the organization.
20: Frank Robinson
The end of Robinson's Hall of Fame career came in Cleveland. He was a player-manager and managed the Tribe from 1975-77. He was the first African American manager in Major League history and his number was retired by the organization.
21: Bob Lemon
Lemon spent his entire 13-year playing career with the Indians, compiling a career record of 207-128 with a 3.23 ERA. The Hall of Famer and seven-time All-Star won 20 or more games seven times in his career, one of only four American Leaguers to do so. His No. 21 was retired by the Tribe.
22: Jason Kipnis
Kipnis’ nine-year run with the Tribe came to an end after the 2019 season. He owns the record for most homers hit by an Indians second baseman.
23: Michael Brantley
In 10 seasons with Cleveland, Brantley hit .295 with a .781 OPS and 528 RBIs.
24: Manny Ramirez
If there’s any number that would create a tie, it’d be No. 24. Ramirez and Early Wynn both had tremendous success with that uniform number, but Ramirez’s .313 average, .998 OPS and franchise-best .592 slugging percentage gives him the victory.
26: Brook Jacoby
Jacoby was a two-time All-Star and played in Cleveland for nine years.
27: Herb Score
Score was the AL Rookie of the Year Award winner in 1955, and he owned a 3.17 ERA in five seasons with the Tribe.
28: Corey Kluber
Bert Blyleven made his mark in Cleveland, pitching to a 3.23 ERA in 104 games (103 starts), but Kluber's tenure in Cleveland takes the victory. The right-hander is the only two-time Cy Young Award winner in Tribe history, as he owned a 3.16 ERA over nine seasons with the Indians.
30: Dick Donovan
In his first year of his four-year stay in Cleveland, Donovan was named to the All-Star team and placed fifth in AL MVP Award voting after going 20-10 with a 3.59 ERA in 34 starts.
31: Cliff Lee
Lee brought home the AL Cy Young Award in his final full season with the Tribe in 2008 after going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 31 starts.
32: Al Smith
In six years with the Indians from 1940-45, Smith owned a 3.47 ERA in 168 games (147 starts).
33: Luis Tiant
Tiant’s six seasons with Cleveland were highlighted by his performance in 1968, when he pitched to a 1.60 ERA in 34 games (32 starts).
34: Steve Hargan
Joe Charboneau deserves a mention here, but Hargan secured his spot with a 3.78 ERA over eight seasons with one All-Star selection.
35: Wayne Kirby
Kirby played a role in the early-to-mid-1990s teams, placing fourth in AL Rookie of the Year Award voting in ’93.
36: Gaylord Perry
Perry was spectacular for the Tribe, pitching to a 2.71 ERA with 96 complete games in four seasons.
37: Dennis Eckersley
Eckersley began his 24-year career in Cleveland as a starting pitcher, posting a 3.23 ERA in 103 games (87 starts). He’s responsible for one of the Indians’ 14 no-hitters, tossing one on May 30, 1977.
38: Eric Plunk
Plunk played a key role in the Tribe’s bullpen in the 1990s with a 3.25 ERA in 373 games.
39: Gary Bell
Len Barker deserves a mention here for tossing the Tribe’s last perfect game, but Bell had a more complete career with Cleveland, pitching to a 3.71 ERA in 169 games (144 starts) in 10 seasons with the Indians.
40: Bartolo Colon
Colon started his 21-year career in Cleveland, earning one All-Star selection and a fourth-place finish in the 1999 AL Cy Young Award voting during his six-season stay.
41: Victor Martinez
Both Charles Nagy and Carlos Santana could put up a fair argument to take No. 41, but Martinez had an impressive eight-year career with the Tribe and was the only backstop in franchise history to hit 100 homers.
42: Sonny Siebert
Siebert is responsible for one of 14 no-hitters in Tribe history, completing one against Washington on June 10, 1966.
43: Rick Sutcliffe
In two and a half years with the Indians, Sutcliffe was selected to an All-Star game and had a fifth-place finish for the Cy Young Award. After getting off to a slow start in ’84, he was traded to the Cubs and was so stellar that he won the Cy Young Award.
44: Don McMahon
McMahon was with the Tribe for two and a half seasons in the mid-1960s, owning a 2.81 ERA.
45: Paul Assenmacher
Assenmacher played a key role in the Indians’ bullpen from 1995-99.
46: Doug Jones
With Houtteman listed at No. 11, Jones can be recognized at No. 46. He only wore this number for two of his seven seasons with the Tribe, with whom he owned a 3.06 ERA in 295 games.
48: Sam McDowell
“Sudden Sam” was a six-time All-Star, and he led the AL in strikeouts per nine innings in six of 11 seasons in Cleveland (five of which led the Majors).
49: Jose Mesa
Mesa had a great seven years in Cleveland (Game 7 of the 1997 World Series aside), highlighted by a stellar ’95 season. Of any pitcher with at least 60 innings in a single season, Mesa’s 1.12 ERA in ‘95 is the lowest. In that season, the closer converted 46 of 48 save opportunities (and his first 38 straight), which stands as the most in a single season in franchise history.
50: Steve Olin
Olin pitched for the Tribe from 1989-92, but only wore No. 50 in ‘89. He owned a 3.10 ERA in his 195 career games.
51: Ed Morgan
Morgan didn’t have much competition for No. 51, but from 1928-33, he hit .323 with an .898 OPS for the Tribe.
52: CC Sabathia
Sabathia spent the majority of his career in New York, but he won his one AL Cy Young Award in Cleveland in 2007, pitching to a 3.21 ERA in an AL-best 34 starts.
53: Paul Shuey
Shuey was part of the Tribe’s bullpen from 1994-2002 and posted a 3.60 ERA with 450 strikeouts in 404 2/3 innings.
54: Chris Pérez
Pérez was a two-time All-Star and racked up 124 saves in five seasons with the Tribe.
55: Orel Hershiser
The prime of Hershiser’s career was behind him when he joined the Tribe, but he still pitched to a 4.21 ERA over three seasons in Cleveland.
56: Fernando Cabrera
Cabrera spent four of his seven Major League seasons in Cleveland, pitching to a 4.35 ERA.
58: Steve Farr
There haven’t been too many notable players to don No. 58, but Farr became the first in 1984.
60: Bill Selby
Though he only wore this number in 2000, he later made his mark in '02, launching a walk-off grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against Mariano Rivera.
61: Dan Otero
Otero was a reliable arm for the Indians out of the bullpen from 2016-19, owning a 3.33 ERA.
62: Jim Poole
Poole spent parts of four seasons with Cleveland, recording a 3.81 ERA in 89 games.
63: Justin Masterson
Masterson was the Tribe’s Opening Day starter from 2012-14.
64: Jason Davis
One of just four players to ever wear No. 64, Davis spent six years in Cleveland, pitching to a 4.69 ERA.
65: Zach Plesac
Plesac burst onto the big league stage in 2019 and owns a career 3.32 ERA in 29 starts with a 9.3 strikeout-per-nine-inning ratio.
66: Yasiel Puig
Puig may not have been around for a while and may not have flexed his muscles as much as the Indians expected, but he still hit .297 with an .800 OPS in 49 games with the Tribe in 2019.
67: Aaron Civale
Civale joined Plesac as the two rookie arms who took the spotlight in 2019. In 22 career starts, he’s pitched to a 3.69 ERA.
68: Jefry Rodriguez
With limited competition among other No. 68’s, Rodriguez comes out on top for his efforts in 2019, when he posted a 4.74 ERA in eight starts filling in after both Mike Clevinger and Corey Kluber went down with injuries.
69: Luis Medina
Medina played in parts of three seasons for the Tribe, and he sported No. 69 during his rookie year. Although he only played in 16 games that season, he owned a .917 OPS with six homers.
70: George Kontos
James Karinchak (whom we’ll talk about further down this list) is the only other player to sport No. 70 on his back. But Karinchak switched his number, leaving Kontos as the one to claim No. 70.
71: Johnny Hodapp
Hodapp played for Cleveland from 1925-32 and wore No. 71 in ’29. Hodapp is still the only member of the Tribe to wear that number.
72: Jason Giambi
Giambi ended his 20-year career with a stint in Cleveland from 2013-14. In his final season, he wore No. 72, and although he didn’t play in many games, Indians manager Terry Francona often references the tremendous leadership Giambi provided in his short time with the team.
73: Ricardo Rincón
With Kirby listed at No. 35, Rincón is left as the only other player to ever wear No. 73.
75: Mike Walker
With Triston McKenzie (who only has a few games under his belt) as the only other player to wear No. 75, Walker gets to claim it.
76: Tom Magrann
He may only have 10 Major League at-bats in his career (with no hits), but Magrann makes the list as the only Indians player to wear No. 76.
77: Jack Armstrong
Armstrong only played with the Indians for one season, pitching in 35 games (23 starts), but he was the only person in franchise history to wear No. 77.
88: Rene Gonzales
Gonzales became the first to wear No. 88 in 1994. Josh Outman and Phil Maton have since claimed the number.
90: Adam Cimber
The only member of the Tribe to ever sport No. 90, the submarine-throwing reliever pitched for Cleveland for parts of three seasons, owning a 4.30 ERA.
99: James Karinchak
The man who enters games to “Wild Thing” first made his debut in 2019. He had his first full season in the Majors in '20, when he recorded a 2.67 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 27 innings.