CLEVELAND – From dramatic walk-offs to one player’s tear-jerking return to baseball, the Indians' 2019 season was full of moments that will surely be remembered for years to come.
MLB.com has compiled a list of the Tribe’s best memories from this past season. Let’s take a look at the Top 10:
1. Jake Bauers hits for the cycle
June 14 vs. Tigers
Indians manager Terry Francona was asked prior to the game in Detroit whether it was time to send Bauers down to Triple-A for him to find his swing. Hours later, Bauers answered by recording the Indians' first cycle since Rajai Davis on July 2, 2016. In the Tribe’s 13-4 victory, the then 23-year-old hit an RBI double in his first at-bat, an infield single in his second and a triple in his third before capping off his night with a two-run homer in the eighth inning.
2. Carlos Carrasco makes emotional return after leukemia diagnosis
Sept. 1 vs. Rays
Word began to spread that something was wrong with the Indians’ beloved “Cookie.” The team gathered in the clubhouse before its game on June 4 to receive the gut-wrenching news that Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia and would need to step away from baseball. It quickly put the game in perspective for the remaining 24 guys -- who rallied behind the hurler over the next two and a half months until he was able to make his emotional return to the rubber on Sept. 1. It was one night where the results just didn’t matter. Carrasco sat in the bullpen and began shaking when his name was called to start warming up. He received a moving ovation at Tropicana Field and finally was able to settle back into game-mode after throwing his first pitch in over three months.
3. Shane Bieber named All-Star Game MVP
In his first All-Star Game, Bieber walked off the mound after striking out the side, listening to the entire Progressive Field crowd chant his name…except for two people. “It’s hard to chant when you’re crying,” his father, Chris, said. After his inning of work, Bieber stood on the field alongside Carrasco, who was being honored during the in-game Stand Up To Cancer moment. Carrasco turned to the 24-year-old and said, “You’re going to get MVP.” He was right. Five days prior to the night, Bieber wasn’t even on the All-Star team. He was a late addition to replace Rangers hurler Mike Minor and walked away with the Ted Williams All-Star Game MVP Award in his hands.
4. Zach Plesac throws first complete game and shutout
Sept. 10 vs. Angels
Just when Plesac seemed to be showing signs of fatigue, he responded by tossing his first career complete game and shutout in his 19th big league start. He allowed just four hits, permitted two walks and struck out five on a career-high 114 pitches. The 24-year-old became the first Indians rookie to throw a shutout since 2006 when Jeremy Sowers did it in back-to-back outings.
5. Carlos Santana saves Indians in back-to-back games
Aug. 12 vs. Red Sox
Indians closer Brad Hand blew consecutive saves against the Twins and Red Sox on Aug. 11-12, but both times, Santana was there to save the day. After launching a go-ahead grand slam in Minnesota in the 10th inning on Aug. 11, Santana blasted a walk-off solo homer a projected 410 feet in the bottom of the ninth. According to Elias, he became the first Indians player hit a game-winning homer in the ninth inning or later in back-to-back games since Albert Belle on Aug. 30-31, 1995.
6. Jason Kipnis delivers walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th
June 24 vs. Royals
Kipnis rounded third and saw his teammates crowding around home plate to celebrate their 14th win in their last 19 games. Then, he saw Francisco Lindor standing on the side with a Gatorade cooler full of ice water. He was steps away from the plate when he decided to make a spin move and dodge the splash, laughing as he ran into the dogpile. The second baseman was in one of his hottest streaks of the season, hitting .471 with a 1.411 OPS in a nine-game stretch that was capped with a walk-off solo shot in the 10th after a two-hour, 23-minute rain delay against the Royals.
7. José Ramírez hits first career walk-off homer
May 8 vs. White Sox
The Indians and White Sox were knotted up in the bottom of the ninth and Lindor stood on second with two outs. Ramírez had been slumping in the worst way, but released the built-up anger by demolishing a 3-1 pitch into the right-center-field seats to give the Indians a 5-3 win. It was Ramírez’s first career walk-off homer and fourth career walk-off plate appearance with his previous coming on a single against Detroit on Sept. 17, 2016.
8. Ramírez gives Indians the lead with a solo blast in the 14th
July 25 vs. Royals
The Indians went 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position and left 17 men on base. The bullpen was there to bail out the offense, tossing 7 1/3 scoreless innings to get them to the 14th. The club just needed someone to pick it up offensively. That’s when Ramírez stepped to the plate. The Tribe’s slugger hit the go-ahead homer in the top of the 14th inning that helped lift the Indians to a 5-4 win over the Royals in four hours and 51 minutes.
9. Santana’s go-ahead slam
Aug. 11 vs. Twins
Hand had just blown a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. When the team returned to the dugout, everyone was saying the same thing: “We’re not leaving here without a win.” Without making an out, the Tribe loaded the bases for Santana, who launched a grand slam in the 10th inning to propel the Indians to a 7-3 victory over the Twins. The Indians entered the four-game series in Minnesota trailing by two games in the American League Central -- and departed with a share of first place -- thanks to Santana’s extra-inning heroics.
10. Santana hits earliest walk-off by date in Indians history
April 5 vs. Blue Jays
Santana gave the Indians an early taste of just how valuable he’d be to his team throughout the 2019 season. In the seventh game of the year, he lifted the Tribe to a 3-2 walk-off victory over the Blue Jays on a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. At that point, runs had been hard to come by for the struggling Cleveland offense and the future ’19 Silver Slugger had carried his club, hitting .417 with six RBIs through the first week of games that was punctuated with the game-ending blast.