Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor always dreamed of playing in the World Series, and in his first full season at the Major League level, he helped the team get back to The Fall Classic for the first time in 19 years.
After winning 94 regular-season games, Lindor and the Indians swept through the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series, defeated the upstart Toronto Blue Jays in just five games in the Championship Series and pushed the best team in baseball, the Chicago Cubs, to extra innings in the seventh game of the World Series.
“Oh, man, it was awesome,” Lindor said of the postseason run. “It was awesome the way the fans embraced it, the way the team embraced it. It was one of the best, if not the best (experiences). It was one of the greatest experiences of my life playing sports.
“It was one of the best because of the way the city felt. Every out, every pitch, how we felt, it was unbelievable, and that’s what we’re working toward this year. Trying to make it all the way and win the last game.”
Known for his ever-present smile and fun-loving attitude, Lindor took a moment during each of the postseason games to soak up the atmosphere.
“It’s pretty special,” Lindor said. “I loved every single second of it, and I thank the Lord for the opportunity. I’m looking forward to it this year. God-willing, we can do the same thing.”
In his first full season with the Indians, Lindor made the American League All-Star team, led the franchise on its first trip to the World Series in 19 years and earned postseason recognition for his efforts.
At the plate, Lindor batted .301 with 182 hits in 604 at-bats, 99 runs scored and 78 driven in. Lindor smacked 30 doubles, three triples and 15 home runs with 19 stolen bases, a .358 on-base percentage and .435 slugging percentage.
Defensively, over 155 regular-season games, Lindor had a .982 fielding percentage. In 674 total chances over 1,365 innings of work, Lindor registered 215 putouts, as well as 447 assists against only 12 errors. Lindor helped turn 83 double plays in the regular season.
For his efforts in the field, Lindor was honored with his first AL Gold Glove Award.
In the postseason, Lindor hit .310 with 18 hits, three doubles, two home runs and six RBI along with five runs scored.
And all of that has proven motivational for Lindor.
“I don’t see why I should stop to try and get better,” Lindor said. “I feel like if I stop, if I don’t try to get better, if I don’t try to compete, I can’t help my team win. That’s ultimately what you want, to help your team win.
“That’s what I try to do, day in and day out. I want to win. I want to make sure I do everything right, do the little things to help our team win. I feel if I do the little things and take care of business, day in and day out, I’ll get better.”
© 2017 WKYC-TV