Welcome to Blue HQ Media, your new location for everything Indianapolis Indians. With the 2017 season now underway, we decided to give a primer for the rest of the year. Here is a look at a brief history of the team, this year’s top prospects and other useful tidbits.
Founded in 1902, the Indianapolis Indians are the second-oldest minor league franchise in American professional baseball. In 1952, the franchise was purchased by the Cleveland Indians. After losing $500,000 on the club over four seasons, Cleveland looked to move the team. As news of their intentions spread, the Indianapolis community rallied to save their team. Robert E. Kirby, Chairman of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce Athletic Committee, obtained the option to purchase the team from Cleveland. A broad-based sale of stock in the franchise was organized and each stock was priced at $10 per share. Kirby along with several other investors sparked the momentum with investments of $200 each, which is roughly $1,808 in today’s money. The certificate of incorporation for Indians, Inc. was received from the state of Indiana on November 9, 1955.
The current Indians franchise was an original member of the American Association. The American Association was also founded in 1902 and ceased existence in 1997. In 1962 the league was disbanded. It was not until 1969 when the need for four new Triple-A teams arose that the league made its return. During that hiatus, the Indians joined their current league, the International League, for one season before joining the Pacific Coast League until 1968.
The team has been affiliated with eight different MLB franchises ranging from the Montreal Expos (1984-1992) to the current day Pittsburgh Pirates. One of the most prolific stretches in franchise history came under the Expos. During a six-year period, the Indians won four division titles, four straight league championships and two Triple-A Classic playoffs. Those teams featured future MLB greats such as Randy Johnson, George Foster and Bernie Carbo.
Overall, the franchise has stacked up 25 division titles, 14 league titles and seven class titles since their inception. The team has resided at Victory Field since moving from Bush Stadium in 1996.
Austin Meadows, OF
Austin Meadows is arguably the best prospect in the Pirates organization not named Tyler Glasnow, who is now in the MLB as a starter so is he technically a prospect? At only 21-years old, Meadows has mounds of potential and growth left to be discovered. The Pirates took him ninth overall in the 2013 draft. While his batting average is lower than expected through the first few games, he has plenty of time to recover. Meadows will be a name to watch in 2017.
Nick Kingham, RHP
Nick Kingham was a fourth-round pick in 2010. Standing at 6’6” with a fastball in the low-90’s, Kingham has the frame to be an MLB starter. At 25-years old, his career was unfortunately delayed in early 2015 when he was forced to undergo Tommy John Surgery. Thankfully he came back healthy and performed well in the second half of that season. While currently in Indianapolis, scouts do project him to be in Pittsburgh by late 2017.
Max Moroff, INF
Max Moroff is your standard young polished infielder who has an excellent glove with an average bat. The 23-year old second baseman has already seen slight action with the Pittsburgh Pirates, being optioned back to Indianapolis on March 23, 2017. Moroff can also play third base and shortstop with a decent overall efficiency. While it is true that he has an average bat, he is a very patient hitter. In nine Triple-A games this year he has drawn five walks.
Steven Brault, LHP
Steven Brault was originally drafted in the 11th round of the 2013 draft by the Baltimore Orioles. In 2015, the Orioles traded Brault and Stephen Tarplay to the Pirates for Travis Snider. Brault is another prospect who has seen limited MLB time at just 24. Much like Moroff, Brault was optioned back to Indianapolis in March of this year and will look to polish his game before returning to the bigs.
Elias Diaz is another defensive gem. While he is mainly a line-drive hitter with a lack of power, Diaz has the glove and leadership traits of a MLB catcher. Diaz has played a total of three professional Major League games to this point in his career, going 0-6 with two strikeouts and one RBI. While this season is still very young, Diaz is batting at a .290 clip to start 2017.
The Indians have a handful of great promotions coming up on the schedule. All Tuesday home games carry the promotion of two-for-one. Fans can visit any Central Indiana McAlister’s Deli and pick up a voucher for two-for-one admission While April 18 is already a 2-for-1 Tuesday, it is also Bark in the Park. Bark in the Park is a unique experience for fans to bring their dogs to the game and watch the action from the right field lawn. April 22, Indians players will be signing autographs for fans from 5:45-6:30 p.m. and the first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a poster. One of our favorite promotions thus far, May 13 is MARVEL Super Hero Night. The first 2,500 fans will receive a Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy bobblehead. The players will also be wearing themed jerseys that will be auctioned off with the proceeds helping the Community Health Foundation.
The Indians also know how to take care of their younger fans as they offer the Knot Hole Kids Club. The club is available to any child 14-years or younger as is extremely affordable at just $17 per year. Members will receive a ticket to every Indians home game in either the Reserved or Lawn areas based on availability, a Knot Hole Kids Club t-shirt, the option to run the bases after Sunday home games and the chance to be on the field as the Play Ball Kid. The Indians organization is definitely great at taking care of their fans.