What’s the story behind the iconic statues outside Progressive Field?

What’s the story behind the iconic statues outside Progressive Field?

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It all started with Bob Feller.

Feller’s journey with the Cleveland Indians began in 1936, when he was only 17 years old.

Feller left the team to serve in the Navy when the U.S. entered World War II, but returned to The Land to continue his baseball career through 1956.

More than 60 years have passed since Feller’s time with the Indians came to an end, but Feller still holds the franchise record of three no-hitters.

Now, his legacy has been memorialized with a statue outside of Progressive Field.

His was the first statue added, which is fitting for the man whose number was the first to be retired by the Indians.

Feller’s statue was joined by those of Cleveland baseball legends such as Jim Thome and Lou Boudreau.

Thome holds the special distinction of hitting a 511 foot home run, the longest ever at Progressive Field. He is also a member of the elite 600 Home Run Club.

Boudreau was recognized as the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1948, and his number five was retired by the Indians.

A statue of Larry Doby also greets fans as they enter Progressive Field.

Doby was the first African-American to play for the Indians.

Doby and Jackie Robinson were the first two African-Americans selected to play in the All-Star Game in 1949, and Doby and Satchel Paige were the first African-Americans to win the World Series.

Progressive Field also has a statue of Frank Robinson, who was the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball.

Robinson holds the honor of being the first MLB player to receive an MVP award from both the American League and the National League.

When Cleveland hosts the 90th annual All-Star Game on July 9, fans will walk by these immortalized baseball legends when entering Progressive Field.

As baseball enthusiasts turn to the Midsummer Classic to watch today’s top players, it would be a swing and a miss not to recognize the celebrated players of the Cleveland’s past who continue to inspire the celebrated players of the present.

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