Game 95

July 14, 2015 – Fan Catches Four Foul Balls in One Game

Only 15,400 fans spun the turnstiles for this Sunday afternoon matchup with the Royals, despite the Indians being just one game back from the Central Division lead. That left plenty of room for Greg Van Niel to snag foul balls. 

Van Niel caught four foul balls over the course the game–numbers 1, 2, and 4 on the fly, directly to his seat. He retrieved number 3 off the ground a few seats away. 

“Three of them were catches and one was a ball I picked up off the ground,” said Van Niel. “The third one, I think was the hardest one … I ended up sprawled across a few rows, and I got some cheese on myself. But the other ones were just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.”

He kept three of the balls for the young family members who were at the game with him, and tossed the fourth to a child in his section. 

Van Neil said that he had never caught a Major League foul ball before, despite being a season ticket holder just one section over from the lucky spot. 

In on-the-field action, Jason Kipnis put the Indians up early with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first that scored Michael Bourn. 

The Royals chased starter Ubaldo Jimenez from the game after scoring two runs in the top of the second and another two in the top of the fourth. 

Down 4-3 with runners on second and third in the bottom of the sixth, Asdrubal Cabrera delivered a two run double into the right field gap. Jason Kipnis drive in Cabrera to add an insurance run later in the inning. 

The bullpen combination of Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith, and Chris Perez held off the Royals through the final third of the game to seal the 6-4 victory. 

Baseball Reference Box Score 

Honorable Mention: July 25, 1928 – First Indians Radio Broadcast Airs

The original WTAM Transmitter

Owner Alva Bradley had agonized over the decision whether to allow radio broadcast of Indians games for years. Some owners thought that broadcasts boosted interest in their club, others maintained that free access to real-time baseball would depress attendance. By mid-summer of 1928 Bradley elected to let WTAM broadcast all games live from League Park except for Sunday. 

Billy Evans and Tom Manning called the first game, a 10-2 win over the Red Sox featuring left fielder Charlie Jamieson going 3-5 with two RBI. 

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 9

April 16, 2016 – Couple Getting Frisky in Upper Deck Goes Viral

On a perfect 54° and sunny Saturday afternoon for early-season baseball, one couple temporarily stole the show from the big-leaguers.

In an odd April interleague matchup, the New York Mets came to Cleveland for a weekend series. The announced crowd of 20,165 was solid for an early Spring weekend, but several outfield upper-deck sections were closed.

Josh Tomlin gave up a home run on the third pitch of the game to Curtis Granderson, but then gained his composure. For the Mets, ace Matt Harvey struck out the side in the bottom of the first. Both offenses struggled through the fifth inning.

Around the middle of the 4th inning, Twitter user @savannah3marie posted a photo of a couple in the very top row of a closed seating section in right field with the caption “S/O [shoutout] to the people having sex at the Indians game!”

photo credit @savannah3marie

While the amorous event went largely un-noticed in the ballpark (except for the lone security guard in the photo), it lit up the internet.

Headlines making the most of middle-school metaphors appeared across the web such as “Couple Photographed Scoring Home Run in Nosebleed Seats”, “Couple Covered All the Bases in the Middle of an Indians Game”, and “Fans Ignore Game, Have Sex in Stands Instead” appeared across the web.

In the bottom of the 5th, the Indians took the lead on a double by Jose Ramirez and a single by Juan Uribe, followed by another three runs in the bottom of the 6th and two runs in the bottom of the 7th.

Brian Shaw pitched the top of the 8th and allowed the Mets back into the game, giving up a three-run home run to Yoenis Cespedes and a solo home run to Neil Walker.

Shaw was pulled in favor or closer Cody Allen who recorded the last four outs of the game and sealed the Indians victory.

News Channel 5 later followed up with Cleveland Police. No one was cited in relation to the incident, so it is unclear whether Granderson, Cespides, and Walker had the only home runs in the ballpark that day or not.

Honorable Mention: April 8, 2018 – coldest game in Indians history, Yan Gomes walkoff HR


Game 2

April 4, 2001 – 455 Game Sellout Streak Ends

The period between June 12th 1995 (Game 42) and April 4th 2001 will always represent one of the great love affairs between a City and its team. In 1995, John Hart and Dick Jacobs has cultivated a team of home-grown talent that was coming into its prime, the County’s smokers and drinkers had funded the beautiful new retro-modern Jacobs Field via the infamous “sin tax.” And most importantly, the Browns had just moved to Baltimore–leaving both civic affections and corporate season-ticket dollars adrift and looking for a new love. From 1995 onward, the Indians were a juggernaut, dominating public discussion and affection in Cleveland.

Five years on; however, the shine on the new stadium had begun to wear off. The Browns had returned as an expansion team to a new–if hastily constructed–home on the lakefront, and much of the core of the late-90s team had departed by this point. Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Sandy Alomar, Paul Shuey, and Chuck Nagy were the only veterans present throughout the entire 455 game run. The Indians were sellers at the trade deadline during the 2000 Season, moving promising outfielder Richie “Big Sexy” Sexson and veteran David Justice prior to the trade deadline.

After a long winter, Cleveland loves a reason to take the day off and perhaps do some day drinking. Along with St. Patricks Day and Dyngus Day, the Home Opener has long been an excuse to skip work or school and turn Downtown Cleveland into a party. That was the case in Monday the 2nd when 42,606 packed into the Jake to watch the Indians lose to the White Sox in Game 1.

Two days later on April 4th, Chuck Finley faced Cad Eldred in Game 2. After 11 years with the Indians, 2001 was catcher Sandy Alomar Jr.’s first year with the White Sox. In the top of the 2nd, Sandy launched a home run off Finley, scoring Herbert Perry (another former Indian). In the bottom on the second, Eldred gave up a leadoff walk to Jim Thome and consecutive singles to Ellis Burks and Jacob Cruz. Russell Branyan struck out swinging with the bases loaded (this would become a familiar refrain in 2001). Ed Taubensee, Alomar’s replacement behind the plate was hit by the next pitch, forcing in Thome. Consecutive singles by Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, and Sandy’s younger brother Roberto Alomar gave the Tribe a 5-2 lead.

The Indians would manufacture another run in the bottom of the 4th, and extend the lead via a Russell Branyan home run in the bottom of the 5th to cruise to an 8-4 victory. The streak ended with only 32,763 fans present for the first night game of the year. At the time,  the stadium seemed empty after 455 consecutive sellouts. In fact, this would be a near-capacity crowd today as Progressive Field’s seating has been reduced to 35,041 with various renovations.