By Zane Miller
In the 97-season long history of the Spokane Indians, there have been 90 different starting pitchers to lead the team in wins in each season. Also during this time, Spokane has gone 12 for 19 in championship finals appearances, to go along with 26 playoff appearances in total. These are the top five starting pitchers that I felt have stood out the most during the team history of the Indians.
In total, the team has won 19 championships. The Indians were also previously known as the Spokane Blue Stockings in 1901 and the Spokane Smoke Eaters in 1902, before becoming the Spokane Indians in 1903 and has remained the name since, with the exception of briefly being named the Spokane Hawks in 1937 and 1938.
5. ??? Evans (Active 1916)
Despite not having a known first name, Evans had a strong campaign with the Indians in 1916, claiming a 20-10 record while allowing 110 runs and 238 hits in 261 innings pitched, getting a run average of 3.79. Spokane picked up a 79-48 record during the regular season to win the second championship in franchise history.
4. Robert Costello (Active 1947)
Costello played with the Indians in the 1947 season, as he went 21-10 on the season with 111 earned runs and 265 hits allowed over the course of 251 innings to claim a 3.98 ERA. Spokane took a regular season record of 87-67, winning their fourth championship in team history.
3. Robert Kinnaman (Active 1940-46)
Kinnaman took a total of 34 wins during his career with the Indians, winning the championship in 1941 along with making a finals appearance in 1940. His best season statistically came in the 1941 season, pitching to a 22-8 record while allowing just 78 earned runs and 227 hits in 246 innings to get a 2.85 ERA. Spokane claimed an 89-44 record to win their third championship in the team’s history.
Tragically, after returning to Spokane following the team’s hiatus due to World War II, Kinnaman would be killed after a bus accident on June 24th, 1946, which also took the lives of eight other members of the team.
2. Frank Nelson (Active 1948)
Nelson joined the Indians for the 1948 season, going 24-10 on the year with 97 earned runs and 276 hits allowed in 300 innings, claiming a 2.91 ERA as Spokane dominated the season with a 102-64 record, which is still the team record for most wins in a single season, for their fifth championship in team history.
1. Jesse Baker (Active 1910)
Baker went 28-10 during the 1910 season with the Indians, as he still holds the team record for most single-season wins, with only 92 runs and 210 hits allowed over the course of 335 and a third innings pitched, taking a run average of 2.47. Spokane took a record of 96-65, winning their first championship in franchise history.
Baker also reached the major league level, playing for the Chicago White Sox during the 1911 season.