The Cleveland Indians have not won a World Series since 1948, but they've gotten close to that mountaintop several times over the past few decades. Nonetheless, the Indians are a storied franchise and Cleveland fans have seen legends of the game pass through town.
However, there are a few surprises when it comes to WAR leaders for individual seasons. Bet you didn't know these former Indians managed to lead the way for the team for an entire season!
4. Shin-Soo Choo
Shin-Soo Choo did not make his first All-Star Game until the 2018 season with the Texas Rangers, but he did have early success with the Indians from 2006-2012. He led the team in WAR in both 2009 and 2010 with a combined total of 11.4. That accounts for nearly one-third of his entire career total. Choo hit exactly .300 in both seasons and even beat out Cliff Lee in WAR during the 2009 season.
3. Jason Kipnis
Kipnis was always a reliable player for the Indians during his nine-year tenure. He was just never a star. But in 2013 he managed to post a 5.0 WAR to lead the team over the likes of Carlos Santana, Yan Gomes, and Justin Masterson in a season where the Indians finally returned to the postseason. It was the best year of the second baseman's career in terms of WAR and helped earn him significant money later on.
2. Toby Harrah
Toby Harrah arrived in Cleveland in 1979 and proceeded to spend five years with the team. This came during a terrible stretch of Indians baseball and Harrah saw himself lead the team in WAR in both 1980 and 1982. The latter year was his best as he posted a 6.6 mark to make his fourth and final All-Star Game. He played in all 162 games and beat out talented pitchers Rick Sutcliffe and Len Barker in the category.
1. Milton Bradley
Milton Bradley appeared in a total of 209 games for the Indians from 2001-2003. That final season was his best as the outfielder led the team with a 4.1 WAR, beating out young star CC Sabathia. Bradley had a .923 OPS and 34 doubles on an Indians team that sputtered to a 68-94 finish. Then came a clash with manager Eric Wedge that saw Bradley get traded before the start of the 2004 season, ending what could have been a promising tenure with the Tribe.