The "Indians" name originates from a request by the club owner to decide on a new name, following the 1914 season. In reference to the Boston Braves (now the Atlanta Braves), the media chose "the Indians". Common nicknames for the Indians include the "Tribe" and the "Wahoos", the latter being a reference to their logo, Chief Wahoo.
Since their establishment as a Major League franchise in 1901, the Indians have won two World Series championships, in 1920 and 1948 and have won seven AL Central titles, the most in the division.
Cleveland sprinted to a 100–44 record in 1995 winning its first ever divisional title. After defeating the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series and the Seattle Mariners in the ALCS, Cleveland clinched a World Series berth, for the first time since 1954. The World Series ended in disappointment with the Indians falling in six games to the Atlanta Braves.
The Indians repeated as AL Central champions in 1996, but lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the Division Series. Notably in 1996, tickets for every home game for the Indians sold out before opening day.
In 1997 Cleveland started slow but finished with an 86–75 record. Taking their third consecutive AL Central title, the Indians defeated the New York Yankees in the Division Series, 3–2. After defeating the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS, Cleveland went on to face the Florida Marlins in the World Series which featured the coldest game in World Series history. With the series tied after Game Six, the Indians went into the ninth inning of Game Seven with a 2–1 lead, but closer José Mesa allowed the Marlins to tie the game. In the eleventh inning, Edgar Rentería drove in the winning run giving the Marlins their first championship. Cleveland became the first team to lose the World Series after carrying the lead into the ninth inning of the seventh game.
In 1998, the Indians made the playoffs for the fourth straight year. After defeating the wild-card Boston Red Sox 3-1 in the Division Series, Cleveland lost the 1998 ALCS in six games to the New York Yankees, who had come into the playoffs with a then-AL record 114 wins in the regular season.
Between June 12, 1995 and April 4, 2001, the Indians sold out 455 consecutive home games, drawing a total of 19,324,248 fans to Jacobs Field. The demand for tickets was so great that all 81 home games were sold out before Opening Day on at least three separate occasions. The sellout streak set a Major League Baseball record; this was broken by the Boston Red Sox on September 8, 2008, though Boston's Fenway Park is considerably smaller than Progressive Field. One night after the streak ended, the Indians then honored the fans by retiring the number 455.
Roberto Alomar (1999-2001), Earl Averill (1929-1939), Bert Blyleven (1981-1985), Lou Boudreau (1938-1950),
Steve Carlton (1987), Stan Coveleski (1916-1924), Larry Doby (1947-1955,1958), Dennis Eckersley (1975-1977),
Bob Feller (1936-1941,1945-1956), Elmer Flick (1901-1910), Joe Gordon (1947-1950), Addie Joss (1902-1910),
Ralph Kiner (1955), Nap Lajoie (1902-1914), Bob Lemon (1941-1942, 1946–1958), Al Lopez (1947, MGR.1951-1956),
Eddie Murray (1994–1996), Hal Newhouser (1954–1955), Phil Niekro (1986-1987), Satchel Paige (1948–1949),
Gaylord Perry (1972–1975), Sam Rice (1934), Frank Robinson (1974–1976, MGR.1975–1977), Joe Sewell (1920-1930),
Billy Southworth (1913, 1915), Tris Speaker (1916–1926), Hoyt Wilhelm (1957–1958), Dick Williams (1957), Dave Winfield (1995), Early Wynn (1949–1957,1963), Cy Young (1909–1911)
Earl Averill, Mel Harder, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ken Keltner, Nap Lajoie, Steve O'Neill, Joe Sewell, Tris Speaker, Hal Trosky, Cy Young
Bill Bradley, Bob Feller
Stan Coveleski, Larry Doby, Jim Hegan
Ray Chapman, Rocky Colavito, Addie Joss, Al Lopez (MGR), Sam McDowell, Al Rosen, Herb Score
Jim Bagby, Mike Garcia, Charles Nagy, Andre Thornton
Joe Gordon, Mike Hargrove
Sandy Alomar Jr., Wes Ferrell
Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven