All I wanted was Brook Jacoby’s autograph. I figured it would finally garner me the attention of Shelly, the self-proclaimed biggest Jacoby fan in school and the subject of one of my many sixth-grade crushes.
I had a plan, too. I was going to an Indians-White Sox game with friends, and the parent taking us promised we could hang around the players’ exit after the game.
Catcher Andy Allanson hit a three-run homer that day, helping move the Tribe within 1 1/2 games of first place in the American League East. The high, of course, would not last.
The Indians finished 1988 with a lousy 78-84 record. Allanson had the best season of his career, batting .263 with five home runs and 50 RBIs. Cory Snyder hit 26 homers and drove in 75 runs — a sign that, at the ripe age of 25, he was in decline.
I thought about that team a lot as the ’09 Tribe endured its worst season this side of Jacobs Field, even while there was still hope in our core of Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez and Grady Sizemore. But hope died in late July, and now the Indians look a lot like the squad of my youth.
That 1988 team had one bona fide star in Joe Carter. This team now has one star in Sizemore. Of course, the Tribe traded Carter too, before the 1990 season, for Sandy Alomar and Carlos Baerga, who helped bring winning baseball back to the city. Still, how depressing is the sound of, “We’ll get ’em in 2014?”
By the way, I got Jacoby’s autograph that day, though it didn’t get me anywhere with Shelly. Still, I have to believe if she and I were kids today, a Grady Sizemore autograph would make her mine.