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Indians Indians Archive Totem Poll: Vote for the Next Statue at Progressive Field, Pt 2
Written by Andrew Clayman

Andrew Clayman

larry-doby-statue2We started with four ballots and sixteen legends spanning more than a century of Cleveland baseball history. Now, your votes have brought us to the final 4-man ballot to decide which local icon the Indians should honor with his own statue at Progressive Field (unofficially, of course).

Before we get to the results and the final poll, however, let’s briefly recap. The premise behind this first edition of the Totem Poll was simple. Many Major League teams have a half dozen or more statues of great players outside their stadium gates. The Indians, for the time being, have just one—albeit it the most deserving one-- the late Bob Feller. The question is, for a franchise with so much history, don’t we have some more alumni worthy of statuization? And beyond that, who should be the next in line for the honor?

To find out, we created four separate polls with four candidates each: Historic Hurlers, Infield Generals, Centerfield Legacy, and Local Folk Heroes. After accumulating well over 1,000 total votes, we now have the winners of those preliminary ballots, and can get on to the business of letting the Indians know our final vote for “The Next Statue at Progressive Field.” So, let’s get to it.

Totem Poll #1: A New Tribe Statue – Final Ballot

Herb Score vs Lou Boudreau vs Larry Doby vs John Adams

herb-score-statue lou-boudreau-statue larry-doby-statue john-adams-statue

Overview: A while back, MLB Network aired an old, newsreel-style recap of the 1948 World Series, once shown at movie houses for audiences in the pre-television era. Amidst the pandemonium following the Indians’ series-clinching 4-3 win over the Boston Braves in Game Six, the program’s hokey narrator proclaimed that player/manager Lou Boudreau and company were a "good bet to win it all again in 1949." They didn’t, of course, and neither has any other Indians team in the 63 years since. With this in mind, the 1948 Indians are a predictable focal point of this ballot, with Hall of Fame teammates Boudreau and Larry Doby both in the running—essentially representing the franchise’s last moment of ultimate glory. Unlike the Tribe’s other championship in 1920, the 1948 season at least seems a bit more tangible. If we don’t remember it ourselves, our fathers or grandfathers certainly do. And whether you actually saw them play or not, Boudreau and Doby’s resumes are undeniable—both statistically and in the way they transcended the game (Boudreau as the kid manager and MVP, Doby as the AL’s first African-American player).

The ballot’s wild cards, meanwhile, are Herb Score and John Adams. While Score played with Doby himself back in the mid ‘50s, he was included in the Totem Poll more for what he meant to the franchise after his playing career than during it (though it should never be forgotten that he led the league in strikeouts his first two seasons before the infamous eye injury). So, does 33 years of broadcasting work truly makes one as statue-worthy as a Hall of Fame player? Well, it’s hardly unprecedented. The Cubs constructed a Harry Carey likeness outside Wrigley Field several years back, and Jack Buck got the same treatment in St. Louis. As for whether a fan in the stands deserves an honor typically bestowed upon the game's greats… well, why not? In truth, John Adams might be the single best known fan in all of pro sports (discounting the likes of Jack Nicholson and others who’s fame is unrelated to their fandom). Some have suggested that a better honor would be to name the bleachers after Adams, and perhaps a statue is a bit much. But if dedication is still a trait we rate among the most honorable, then John Adams is one hell of an honorable dude.

The Numbers:

Herb Score (1933-2008)
Indians Pitcher (1955-59): 49-34, 3.17 ERA, 1955 ROY, AL Strikeout Leader ’55, ‘56
Indians Broadcaster (1964-1997) – Elected to Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1998
Won Historic Hurlers Ballot with 33% of Vote
(Cy Young 23%, Satchel Paige 23%, Bob Lemon 21%)

Lou Boudreau (1917-2001)
Indians Shortstop (1938-50): .296 AVG, .798 OPS, 8-time All-Star, 1948 MVP
Indians Manager (1942-50): 728-649 record, 1948 World Championship
Hall of Fame: 1970
Won Infield Generals Ballot with 45% of Vote
(Omar Vizquel, 31%, Nap Lajoie 20%, Ray Chapman 4%)

Larry Doby (1923-2003)
Indians Centerfielder (1947-55, 58): .286 AVG., .889 OPS, 215 HR, 7-time All-Star
Hall of Fame: 1998
Has a statue in his hometown of Paterson, NJ (see photo at top of page)
Won Centerfielder Legacy Ballot with 51% of Vote
(Tris Speaker 21%, Kenny Lofton 19%, Ear Averill 9%)

John Adams (born 1951)
Indians Drummer (1973-Present): Over 3,000 games “played”
Won Local Folk Heroes Ballot with 41% of Vote
(Rocky Colavito 37%, Louis Sockalexis 14%, Andre Thornton 8%)

Who Deserves a Statue at Progressive Field? (Final Ballot)


Stay tuned in June for the final results of Totem Poll #1!


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