The story of the artifacts saved from the final Cleveland Indians game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium
Oct. 3, 1993, marked the end of baseball at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. Today fans still remember the good times they spent at the old ballpark. Although the stadium no longer stands, and more than 20 years have passed, artifacts preserved from the stadium still bring back memories of that last game.
Among some of the items in our team archive are the lineup cards for both teams. Although badly faded, the names of Tribe greats can still be seen: Lofton batting leadoff, Thome batting third and Belle at cleanup. The White Sox lineup card displays the names of Bo Jackson and Hall of Famer Frank Thomas.
During the pregame festivities, White Sox manager Gene Lamont presented Tribe skipper Mike Hargrove with a bat signed by the Sox as well as an autographed Frank Thomas jersey.
Although Charles Nagy walked Ellis Burks leading off, the ball used for his first-pitch strike was saved. During the same inning, Frank Thomas doubled in Burks and in the sixth singled in Joey Cora to finish the season one RBI shy of Albert Belle’s MLB-leading 129 mark.
The last pitch of the game was a slider and a swinging strike three. Home plate umpire Larry Barnett was instructed to pass the ball to a member of the Indians staff. White Sox catcher Mike LaValliere and pitcher Jose DeLeon, however, tried their best to obtain the historic artifact. In a post-game interview, LaValliere said, “I tried to bargain with the ump.” Luckily the ball was saved.
The postgame ceremony featured the removal of home plate, which received a second life as home plate for the 1994 opener before being removed again for posterity. These artifacts are displayed on special occasions such as TribeFest and special games.
Do you have any items from old Municipal Stadium?
–Indians curator Jeremy Feador