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This Date In Indians History – April

A look back at the Tribe's opening month throughout the years
April 29, 2020

The Indianapolis Indians have a rich history that dates back to 1902. Take a trip down memory lane as we highlight notable performances that occurred in the month of April for the Tribe.

The Indianapolis Indians have a rich history that dates back to 1902. Take a trip down memory lane as we highlight notable performances that occurred in the month of April for the Tribe.

April 5, 1989 – The Tribe won their season opener over Nashville by a 4-2 score at Bush Stadium, and right-hander Mark Gardner picked up his first of a team-high 12 wins with 5.0 innings of two-run ball. The future 99-game winner in the big leagues also led the American Association with 175 strikeouts that summer. Gardner bookended Indy’s fourth consecutive American Association title by later pitching 8.0 shutout innings in Game 5 of the American Association championship on Sept. 6 at Omaha, a 5-0 Tribe win.

April 8, 2005 – In Indy’s second game of the 2005 season, Graham Koonce belted the first of four walk-off homers for the Tribe that summer. The Tribe first baseman launched a solo shot off Pawtucket’s Jason Kershner to open the bottom of the ninth, giving the Indians a 7-6 win. The long ball was Koonce’s first of a team-high 23 on the season. The Indians later reached the postseason before falling to Toledo in the Governors’ Cup championship, 3-0.

April 11, 1993 – On this date in 1993, Brian Dorsett tied a single-game franchise record with three home runs as the Tribe earned their first win of the season with an 11-1 triumph over Oklahoma City at Bush Stadium. Dorsett, born in Terre Haute, Ind. and an Indiana State University product, hit 18 home runs and drove in 57 runs in just 77 games for the Tribe that year. He returned to Indy in 1995 and belted 16 more home runs in 91 games before retiring after the 1996 season.

April 20, 1956 – Roger Maris hit a pair of home runs for Indy in an 8-7 home loss to Denver. Maris ripped 17 homers that year and led the Indians to an American Association pennant, American Association championship and Junior World Series title. Five years later, he set MLB’s single-season home run record with 61 homers for the Yankees.

April 22, 2016 – After leading the Indians to Game 5 of the Governors’ Cup championship in 2015, Josh Bell put up massive numbers for the Tribe in 2016, including hitting for the cycle in a 13-1 rout on April 22 at Louisville. He finished 4-for-5 with five RBI and two runs scored and became the fourth player to hit for the cycle in the Victory Field era.

April 25, 1954 – In the second game of a twin bill at Columbus, left-hander Herb Score fanned 11 batters in a 7.0-inning, complete-game effort to give the Indians an 8-1 win and doubleheader sweep. The victory was the first of an American Association-leading 22 wins for the southpaw. He also led the league in ERA (2.62) and strikeouts (330), the latter holding as the American Association single-season record to this day.

April 28, 1998 – Tribe hurler Steve Parris recorded 16 strikeouts over 7.0 innings of two-run ball, and the Indians rolled to a 14-3 win over Charlotte at Victory Field. The 16 punchouts set a new Victory Field era record, a feat that lasted until Ian Snell fanned 17 Mud Hens on June 28, 2009.

April 29, 2012 – Three Indians combined on a no-hitter in Durham, just the second no-no in the Victory Field era and first since Ian Snell spun a 9.0-inning no-hitter in 2005. Justin Wilson got the nod and threw 7.1 innings, yielding two walks with nine strikeouts. Jose Diaz then recorded the final two outs in the eighth inning before Doug Slaten slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth to give Indy a 2-0 victory. The no-hitter was just the third combined effort of 12 no-hitters in franchise history and first since Randy Johnson and Pat Pacillo combined for 8.0 no-hit innings on August 6, 1988 at Nashville.

April 30, 1963 – The Indians split a doubleheader at Richmond to finish the month of April at 8-7 overall, 1.5 games out of first place in the International League Southern Division. Third baseman Don Buford hit .308 (16-for-52) in 14 April games and went on to lead the IL in batting average (.336), hits (206), doubles (41), runs scored (114) and stolen bases (42) en route to team and league MVP honors. The Tribe finished the 1963 campaign as Southern Division champions and defeated both Syracuse (4-1) and Atlanta (4-1) in consecutive best-of-seven series to win their first Governors’ Cup.