Carlos Obed Ortiz Baerga
2 Time Silver Slugger (1993-1994), 3 Time All-Star (1992-1993,1995), Top 11 MVP (1992-1993)
Best Season (1993)
Post Season Career
Carlos Baerga was the All-Star second baseman that sat on top of the Indians lineup and helped raise the team to glory in the mid 1990s. In 1989, Baerga came over to the Tribe alongside Sandy Alomar, Jr in the trade that sent Joe Carter to San Diego. Carlos immediately started producing for the Tribe, knocking in 47 runs in his rookie year (1990) in a reserve role and becoming the second most productive offensive player on the team the next season when he knocked in 67 with a .288 batting average. In 1992, he placed himself on the all-time Indians leaderboards, breaking the top five in single season at bats and top ten in games played.
This was also his first of two 200 hit seasons. While this isn't the most miraculous of feats, it has been something hard to come by in recent years for the Tribe, with the last coming in 1996 when Kenny Lofton had 210. Baerga's two 200 hit seasons give him two of the last three in team history. Overall there have been 27 200 hit seasons in Indians history, but only the three mentioned already and one by Carter in 1986 occured after 1950.
Baerga peaked slightly before the rest of the Indians team as he started his decline when the the Indians were finally seeing some success in 1994 and 1995. He did play well in his only postseason, hitting .292 in 1995, including four RBI in both the ALCS and World Series. His ten hits in the ALCS that year remains in the top five all time for more hits in a postseason series.
In 1996 Baerga was reaching the end of his usefullness as a player and was traded to the Mets for his replacement, Jeff Kent. Kent was the first of many attempts to find a new great second baseman, a quest that continued until 1999 when Roberto Alomar joined the team. Since the departure of Baerga, the Indians have not had a single starting second baseman last more than three years (both Alomar and Ronnie Belliard lasted three years).
In 1999 Baerga came back to the Tribe after struggling with the Mets and Padres for three years, but he was unable to solve his hitting woes and there was no room for him on the roster with Alomar at second and Fryman at third. Baerga bounced around with a few more teams until 2005 (including some time in Korea) and had one more resurgent season in 2003 with the Diamondbacks, but never really found the success he had with the Tribe in the early 1990s.