Something else they've got is star quality. They may have been short on superstars lately, but now they have got Joe Carter, who's 27, and Cory Snyder, who's only 24. Carter was kicked around in the Cubs organization for 3½ years, then was traded with Hall in June '84 to Cleveland for Rick Sutcliffe. The Cubs got a quick fix, but they've had nothing but heartbreak since. Carter and Hall are around for the long haul.
Carter needed a year and a half to get going, then whamo! Just look at his '86 stats: .302 average, played all 162 games, 200 hits, 108 runs scored, 36 doubles, 9 triples, 29 homers, 29 stolen bases and a major league-leading 121 RBIs. And he played in the outfield, mostly in left, and first base, which he'll do again this year. Team captain Andre Thornton says Carter is "the complete player."
And Snyder? The Indians drafted him in '84 out of Brigham Young, where he set an NCAA record with a career slugging average of .844. That's .844! He played on the '84 Olympic team, and with only a little more than a year in pro ball, Cleveland called him up last June from Triple A. In just 103 games with the Indians he hit 24 homers. He can play any position in the infield or outfield, and Cleveland manager Pat Corrales says he has a Clemente-type arm. There's no higher compliment than that. This year Snyder will play Clemente's position, rightfield. Heard enough?
Enough. I'll shut up.
So will I.
It's a few minutes before 11 a.m. at Hi Corbett Field, the Indians' spring headquarters in Tucson, and Carter is taking batting practice. He's also taking a considerable ribbing from Corrales and hitting instructor Bobby Bonds, who are watching him from behind the cage. "Where'd that one go?" Corrales asks Bonds as Carter lofts a soft fly to right.
"Rightfield. Easy out," says Bonds.
Carter drives a ball to the base of the centerfield fence.
"How about that?" Corrales inquires.
"Out," says Bonds contemptuously.