Joey Belle 1990 Fleer

As an avid baseball card collector as a kid, I was always fascinated by errors on cards. One such error that I always enjoyed was on Albert Belle‘s 1990 Fleer card.

Belle, going by Joey at the time, played in just 62 games in 1989, so it would be understandable for someone to confuse him with the Tribe’s starting shortstop Jay Bell. And that’s exactly what happened on his card. Fleer included “Did You Know” facts on the back of cards that year, and Jay Bell’s fact was placed on Joey Belle’s card.

Needless to say, Joey never played shortstop. And surprisingly, it was Jay, not Joey, who homered on the first pitch he ever saw.

Santana goes deep again

Carlos Santana belted his 3rd home run of the season on Friday, a two-run shot off Aaron Harang. He now has 12 RBI through his first 13 games, putting him on an impressive pace.

Since 1952 (as far back as baseball-reference goes in consecutive years) the only Indian with more RBI through 13 games was Albert Belle in 1989.

Chasing Chris Bando

If Luis Valbuena‘s season in the majors is over (unlikely, since he’ll probably be back in September at the latest) he’ll end this season with the second lowest batting average in team history (min. 175 PA).

The team record, which figures to stand for quite some time, belongs to Chris Bando. In 199 plate appearances in 1985, Bando hit .139.

Bando, the brother of former A’s All-Star Chris, split time with Jerry Willard in 1985. And he’s lucky he was even given the opportunity to raise his average to .139. At the end of April, Bando was batting .040. By the All-Star Break he was batting .071. If it weren’t for a .189 average in August and September, it could have been a lot worse for the local Cleveland product.

Welcome aboard Jayson Nix

The Indians claimed Jayson Nix off waivers from the White Sox yesterday and added him to the big league roster, optioning Jensen Lewis an Luis Valbuena to Columbus.

Nix was a 2001 1st-round pick of the Rockies, immediately making him the most successful 2001 1st-round pick to play for the Indians (our 1st rounders Alan Horne and Mike Conroy never made it to the majors).

The only good thing I can say about Nix is that he’s versatile. A poor man’s Jamey Carroll, if you will. Primarily a second baseman, he’s also played third, short and a little outfield over the past two seasons in Chicago.

He was batting .163 for the White Sox before being designated for assignment – one of the few players with a worse average than Valbuena this season. The thinking behind the move is likely that Valbuena is doing himself more harm than good in the majors. Down in the minors he can rebuild his confidence. Nix may be nothing more than a stop-gap solution until Valbuena straightens things out and gets recalled.

In an effort to find a good note on Nix, I did come across this oddity: he has just 13 career home runs, but three have come off Joe Saunders. He has no more than one homer against any other pitcher.

Branyan enters the record books

Russell Branyan made his 3,000th career plate appearance last night, qualifying him for baseball-reference’s list of all-time leaders for at-bats per home run. He checks in at 14th with a 14.9 mark, just behind Ted Williams. Of the 13 players in front of him, four are in the Hall of Fame (Ruth, Kiner, Killebrew and Williams). Eight of the other nine belong in the Hall of Fame (unless steroids connections keep them out). The only non-HOFer of the group is Adam Dunn.

As an Indian, Branyan has homered once every 15.9 at-bats – ranking him 4th in team history behind Jim Thome, Albert Belle, and Manny Ramirez.

Branyan hits 10th HR

Russell Branyan hit his 10th home run of the season, the first Indian to reach the double-digit mark this season in the team’s 69th game. That’s the longest its taken the Indians to get their first player to 10 home runs since 1991 when Albert Belle hit his 10th in their 72nd game of the season. Prior to 1991, you have to go back to Andre Thornton in 1983 to find the last time it took this long to reach 10 homers (71 games).

Indians face Jamie Moyer tonight

Jamie Moyer has allowed 504 career home runs, one shy of Robin Roberts’ career record. That record could fall tonight against the Tribe.

In his career against the Indians, Moyer has allowed 25 home runs – 6th most he’s allowed to any one franchise. But here’s the stat that really blows my mind: the first Indian to homer of Moyer was Cory Snyder! That was over 21 years ago, on May 2, 1989.

Since Snyder, 13 other Indians have homered off of Moyer. Manny Ramirez leads the way with five, followed by Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome and Casey Blake with two. Among the obscure Indians to go deep off Moyer: Lou Merloni, David Segui and Eduardo Perez.

Somewhat surprisingly, those 25 home runs don’t put Moyer anywhere near the lead for the most victimized pitcher by Tribe. Over the last 50 seasons that distinction belongs to Mark Buehrle – by a long shot.