RIP Former Indians Player and Broadcaster Herb Score
- Updated: November 11, 2008
Most casual baseball fans outside of Cleveland probably never heard of Score, especially if they were born after the 1950s.
If Score would have been able to play the length of a normal career, he would have no doubt been the talk of the league for years to come. He was a hard throwing left hander who made his debut in 1955 with the Indians.
During that season, he ran away with the American League Rookie of the Year award and went 16-10.
During just his second season in the league, he won 20 games and was named to the All-Star team.
He was such a talent that during the 1957 season, the Indians turned down an offer of one million dollars for Score.
His career was derailed, however, by a moment that happened on the field. On May 7, 1957, Score was facing the New York Yankees when Gil McDougald hit a sharp line drive back to the pitchers mound. The ball hit Score directly in the middle of his face, leaving him with a broken nose and a number of other broken bones in his face.
Many at the stadium that day thought Score might have died as he lay motionless on the pitcher’s mound after the play.
Before the injury, Score was known for being the hardest throwing left hander in the game, but he could never get that form back after that fatal day.
Many experts have claimed that if Score would have stayed healthy for his entire career, he would be at the top of this list of the best left handed pitchers ever to play the game with Sandy Koufax.
Although he did go on to play a few seasons after the injury, he finished his career in 1962 with an overall record of 55-46.
He did receive other accolades later in life as he was named one of the 100 greatest Indians of all time and was inducted to the Indians’ Hall of Fame in 2006.
Score was not out of work for long though as he signed on as the television voice of the Indians just two years later. In 1968, he would move to the Tribe’s radio booth where he would stay until 1997.
Many recent Tribe fans can better relate to the voice of Herb Score than his great pitching. Score was the voice of the Tribe during a two and a half decade streak where they didn’t even make the playoffs.
While he sometimes stretched the truth to make the fans feel better about their pitiful team, he would always say whatever happened straight and to the point.
Score will no doubt be missed by those in the Indians community and all of those ears who will no longer be able to hear his subtle New York accent across the radio waves.
As a lifelong Northeast Ohioan, I have a strong connection with Mr. Score. Although I never met the man in person, I heard his voice over the radio many nights during the heyday of the Tribe during the 1990s.
My father also grew up in Cleveland, and was a resident of the city during the years Score pitched for the Indians. About five years ago, I gave my father an autographed Herb Score baseball for Christmas, which to this day, proudly sits on the family mantle place.
The last game Score ever called was the Indians 1997 World Series game seven loss to the Florida Marlins. If the Tribe would have won the game, there would have been no better way to go out, but Score didn’t focus on that during his last minutes in the booth.
He simply thanked the Indians’ fans for all of their support over the years and reassured the city that he had no regrets. Sweet, simple and to the point. Nothing could have been more telling of his career and relationship with the fans.