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April 18, 1966
On the last day of last season—the first year since 1959 that the Cleveland Indians had won more games than they had lost—Manager Birdie Tebbetts called a clubhouse meeting. He told his players: "Next season will be our year. There are no ifs or maybes about it. We're going to win the whole thing."
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April 18, 1966

Cleveland Indians

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Behind these two, however, is abundant potential but not much cash on hand—so little, in fact, that Gary Bell, four years a relief pitcher, will probably be the Indians' No. 3 starter. Behind him may be Lee Stange, rookie Tom Kelley, Jack Kralick, who was hampered by a sore arm in 1965, and Ralph Terry, a holdout. Hopefully, Luis Tiant (11-11) has lost enough weight to return to the form he displayed in winning 10 starts as a rookie in 1964.

Don McMahon, now 36, will be used in long relief instead of short, leaving those duties to 23-year-old Steve Hargan, a lanky right-hander who was 4-3 as a rookie. Another possible reliever is right-hander Bob Heffner, plucked from the Boston system.

An assist to Cleveland's pitching may come from behind the plate in the person of Del Crandall. At 36, Crandall is still expert at channeling young and inexperienced throwers into the strike zone, and most of the Indian staff feels better when he is catching. "You don't know how much he's helped us already," says McDowell. But Crandall doesn't hit very often anymore, which means that Joe Azcue is still No. 1.

Plenty of players, plenty of talent, plenty of potential. But the pitching is not as good as it looks, and pitching wins pennants.

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