John Hart

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ncinthenext3

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Yeah, Matt Williams had the divorce that rocked his world. The trade allowed him to be in the same state as his kids. Nobody can fault Williams for that. It did ruin the best defensive infield I've ever seen with Williams, Omar, both Alomars, and Big Jim Thome. Add Kenny up the middle and the Tribe boasted the best defense and best offense in MLB... they just didn't have starting pitching.

I always enjoyed the end of that run where the best offensive players on a bunch of other teams were former Tribe farmhands. Ritchie Sexton was the best Brewer, Giles was the best Padre, Sean Casey was the best Red... our utility guys could make up an All Star game.
Wow. That post brought back some memories.
 

Derek

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Yeah, Matt Williams had the divorce that rocked his world. The trade allowed him to be in the same state as his kids. Nobody can fault Williams for that. It did ruin the best defensive infield I've ever seen with Williams, Omar, both Alomars, and Big Jim Thome. Add Kenny up the middle and the Tribe boasted the best defense and best offense in MLB... they just didn't have starting pitching.

I always enjoyed the end of that run where the best offensive players on a bunch of other teams were former Tribe farmhands. Ritchie Sexton was the best Brewer, Giles was the best Padre, Sean Casey was the best Red... our utility guys could make up an All Star game.
We didn't have Robbie or Kenny in '97 when Williams was here.

He sure was incredible with the glove that year though on the left side with Omar. Made him a 4 win player despite being aggressively mediocre at the plate that year.

Our pitching fWAR leaders that year:
Charles Nagy - 2.9
Mike Jackson - 1.7
Chad Ogea - 1.7

For comparison, in a down year where he was traded midseason, Bauer was still worth 2.7 fWAR for us last year. Civale was worth 1.5 in 10 starts.
 

Randolphkeys

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We didn't have Robbie or Kenny in '97 when Williams was here.

He sure was incredible with the glove that year though on the left side with Omar. Made him a 4 win player despite being aggressively mediocre at the plate that year.
Memory fading from a lot of that era, it's been a while. Didn't feel like researching, the playoff let-downs tended to make that whole run more painful than nostalgic for me.

It's a good debate though: What was more unbelievable - Omar and Robbie Alomars connection in the middle of the diamond or Williams and Omar shutting down the left side completely?
 

macbdog

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I was disappointed to see Kent dealt, liked that they got him but Matt Williams had been a monster in 1994 and looked like a legit replacement for Belle in the lineup. That said, Matt Williams was turned into Travis Fryman who gave the team a couple solid years. Certainly wasn't a total waste of Jeff Kent. That honor belongs to the Mets. Let's also not forget that Kent was a complete asshole, only overshadowed by fellow asshole Barry Bonds. I could be wrong but I think the Tribe didn't consider him a viable 2b and were concerned about how he would react if moved.
 

The Human Q-Tip

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The Omar- Alomar duo up the middle was just incredible. To me, watching them turn one of those wild DP's was more fun than a HR.

Matt Williams' scoop and wrist flip/whip across his body was incredible. Watching him field bunts was a joy.
 

Cassity14

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I was born in 1992, so the teams at the turn of the century are my first legitimate memories of loving baseball. That 2001 team will always have a special place in my heart. On a whim, Dad decided we'd head downtown and try to scalp tickets. Ended up with great seats on the first base line at face value because he had his kid with him. That was the playoff game where the Tribe beat Seattle 17-2.
 

JMcCurry08

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Hart was a great general manager but not adding that sure fire ace during the mid to late 90s that could’ve put us over the top always hurts
 

Derek

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Hart was a great general manager but not adding that sure fire ace during the mid to late 90s that could’ve put us over the top always hurts
It's tough to tell because offensive stats were so inflated during that era, but the Indians actually had the third-best ERA in baseball in '95 and by far the best in the AL (3.83 for them to 4.31 for the Orioles).

There was just no plan for after Orel and El Presidente were no longer useful.

What a wild era though. Charles Nagy had a 4.95 ERA in 1999 and that was right about average for an AL pitcher at the time.
 

PIP

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I was born in 1992, so the teams at the turn of the century are my first legitimate memories of loving baseball. That 2001 team will always have a special place in my heart. On a whim, Dad decided we'd head downtown and try to scalp tickets. Ended up with great seats on the first base line at face value because he had his kid with him. That was the playoff game where the Tribe beat Seattle 17-2.
I was working at the stadium that day as a college intern since they didn’t allow us to go back to class just yet...I remember CC pitched and they placed auxiliary bleacher seating in centerfield.
 

The Human Q-Tip

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Hart was much better at acquiring more developed players through trade and FA, and at reading the market, than he was at drafting. And after awhile, the lack of talent coming through the farm system meant his teams lacked ammo for trades.

He succeeded in Cleveland largely because he was ahead of the curve in terms of signing budding MLB talent to below market value, longer-term deals. When other teams and player agents figured that out, his advantage as a GM vanished.
 
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Derek

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Hart was much better at acquiring more developed players through trade and FA, and reading the market, than he was at drafting. And after awhile, the lack of talent coming through the farm system meant his teams lacked ammo for trades.

He succeeded in Cleveland largely because he was ahead of the curve in terms of signing guys budding MLB talent to below market value, longer-term deals. When other teams and player agents figured that out, his advantage as a GM vanished.
This is a good way to describe him.

He was the first on quite a few things, but once other teams started doing those things, he had no answer. He absolutely deserves credit as an innovator though.
 

Obscured By Clouds

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Hank Peters built the foundation that was the team of the 90's, not John Hart. Hart continued what Peters built.
 

Derek

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I had forgotten that the declined Pedro trade was not just for Jaret Wright, but also Bartolo Colon.

Even trying to ignore hindsight, it's still something I think they should have done, but it's also understandable to give pause when trading two top 25 prospects for a guy entering the final year of his deal.
 

prf100

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I had forgotten that the declined Pedro trade was not just for Jaret Wright, but also Bartolo Colon.

Even trying to ignore hindsight, it's still something I think they should have done, but it's also understandable to give pause when trading two top 25 prospects for a guy entering the final year of his deal.
Also, let's not forget that Jaret Wright had just pitched a game 7 gem in the world series... as a rookie. Hard to part with that, though yes Pedro was clearly a stud.

ETA: also, Pedro was coming up on a contract. Given the Indians history at the time, and hindsight... do we even re-sign him?
 

macbdog

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Hank Peters built the foundation that was the team of the 90's, not John Hart. Hart continued what Peters built.
It's not that simple. Yes, Peters got many of the big parts and most certainly deserves credit. Hart didn't do it on his own; and for years many fans including myself didn't realize how much he really did. But Hart is the one who finished the job, took full advantage of the new stadium and turned what had been arguably the most embarrassing pro sports franchise up to that time into a perrenial contender. I think folks are forgetting just how bad things were, even with that talent- and let's not forget the club had to overcome the death of two of their players.

Hart most certainly built this team. He convinced Murray and Martinez to come here. He found the right aging vets to add, ones who still had something left in the tank and ones who really did help change the culture of a perpetual loser. This was no small feat- just look at the Browns repeated failures to do so despite some talented, experienced and skilled (not you Hue) FOs. He struggled to both afford and find an ace; so he went out and built dominant bullpens out of what was largely castoffs and spare parts. He made numerous shrewd trades. He got guys to buy in to what he was building with the long-term deals- which in turn led to both the return of Lofton and the addition of a HOFer in Roberto Alomar. Let's also not forget he turned Eddie Taubensee and David Rhode into not just Lofton but David Justice. Let is also not forget Hart's front office legacy- he started a FO tree that is still populating FOs to this day. Despite being a baseball lifer, he was open to new ideas here, hiring non-baseball guys like future GM Mark Shapiro and future NFL guy Paul DePodesta.

Hart didn't utlimatrly win a WS here and he certainly didn't build this team alone- but what he accomplished in Cleveland, turning the worst franchise in baseball into a yearly division winner, was most certainly a job worthy of an A.
 

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