Grady Sizemore joined the Cleveland Indians in 2002 and has been a focal point of every season, good or bad, since his arrival. When healthy, he is one of the best center fielders in the game, when injured, he is a major hole the Tribe struggles to fill.
Throughout his career Sizemore has electrified fans and became a instant fan favorite, especially among the ladies or better yet, "Grady's Ladies." Although Sizemore is once again on the disabled list, let's take a look at what made his one of the games best.
In possibly the best trade in MLB of the last 15 years, the Cleveland Indians acquired Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips in exchange for Bartolo Colon. Tim Drew and Lee Stevens were also involved. Bartolo Colon went on to win one Cy Young award during his career, not with the Expos.
Sizemore, Lee and Phillips have gone on to all have better careers than Colon and are still key pieces to their respective teams.
Grady Sizemore excelled in his first full season as a member of the Cleveland Indians, hitting for better than 20 doubles, 10 triples, 20 home runs and stealing more than 20 stolen bases. Besides Roberto Alomar, he is the only player to ever accomplish this feat.
Sizemore's sophomore season reassured fans that he was not a one-year wonder. In 2006, Sizemore elevated his game to new heights. He led the American League in runs and doubles.
In addition to this, he became just the second player in MLB history to hit at least 50 doubles, 10 triples, 25 home runs and steal 20 bases in a single season.
2007 was more of the same from "one of the greatest players of our generation" as GM Mark Shapiro labeled him in a Sports Illustrated article. In the first week of the season, Sizemore had hit four home runs.
Sizemore also led the Tribe to a shocking run at a World Series visit before losing to eventual champions, Boston Red Sox in a thrilling seven-game ALCS. 2007 also marked Sizemore's first Gold Glove Award.
Cleveland opened the 2008 season in New York as it unveiled its new billion dollar stadium. Sizemore did his part to ensure he remembered his experience as he hit the first-ever grand slam in the new ball park.
In 2008, the Cleveland Indians did not live up to expectations. Sizemore however, continued his trend as one of the best young players in baseball. Sizemore joined the exclusive 30/30 club after hitting over 30 home runs and stealing over 30 bases.
In addition to this, he won his second Gold Glove award and first Silver Slugger award. Unfortunately, injuries were about to derail this promising career.
Injuries have plagued Sizemore's career since 2009, but his impact on baseball and the Cleveland Indians franchise is undeniable.
Throughout his career, Sizemore has appeared in three all-star games, won two Gold Glove awards, one Silver Slugger award and was in the 20/20 club from 2005-08.
To go along with these accomplishments, Sizemore still maintains the third best career fielding percentage of all center fielders at .933.
His impact on the Tribe will not be forgotten and fans and team executives are not ready to give up on this phenomenal athlete, hoping for a successful return from injury in 2012.