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All-Time 25, Victory Field Era Roster: Nos. 9-6

February 25, 2021 - Triple-A East League (AAA East) - Indianapolis Indians News Release

The illustrious history of the Indianapolis Indians features some of the best players to ever step on a baseball diamond over the past century. Now, as we approach the 25th anniversary of a beautiful ballpark in downtown Indianapolis, we've broken down the best players to step foot on the grass at Victory Field.

The All-Time 25, Victory Field era roster countdown began Jan. 29 with honorable mentions and Nos. 25-22. Over the last three weeks, player Nos. 21-18, 17-14 and 13-10 were revealed ahead of this week's list of Nos. 9-6, all leading up to the announcement of the top player in the Victory Field era the week of March 9. Some you may remember because of their fan-favorite status in Indianapolis and others because of their future place in Cooperstown, but no matter how you remember them, they all made their mark on the game of baseball in the Circle City.

#9 - OF Corey Hart (2004, 2015)

After being drafted by Milwaukee in 2000, Corey Hart made his way through the Circle City with two different organizations in his career. He first donned an Indianapolis uniform in 2004 when he spent 121 games with the Indians and hit .281 with 52 extra-base hits and an .827 OPS. That season, he appeared in one game with Milwaukee and kickstarted what would be an 11-year major league career.

After playing in 22 games in 2004-05 combined, Hart's big-league career started to take off. He had a breakout season in 2007 when he hit .295 with 24 home runs for Milwaukee and earned his first All-Star bid the following year. In 2010 he repeated the effort, setting career highs with 31 home runs and 102 RBI to earn bids to the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. He finished the season 25th in National League MVP voting.

In the final year of his MLB career, 2015, Hart found himself in Indianapolis again. After spending the first three months of the season with Pittsburgh, the outfielder-turned-first baseman finished out his playing days in an Indians uniform.

Indianapolis Stats & Accolades

134 games, .271 AVG (131-for-483), 68 R, 30 2B, 8 3B, 15 HR, 74 RBI, 17 SB


MLB Stats & Accolades

1,048 games, .271 AVG (1,009-for-3,729), 549 R, 221 2B, 33 3B, 162 HR, 538 RBI, 85 SB, .806 OPS, 14.4 bWAR

2008 & 2010 National League All-Star (Milwaukee), 2008 & 2012 Milwaukee MLBPAA Heart & Hustle Award nominee, 2010 MLB Home Run Derby participant

#8 - SS J.J. Hardy (2004)

Before he was a three-time Gold Glove shortstop with the Orioles, J.J. Hardy wore an Indianapolis uniform. After being drafted by Milwaukee in 2001, Hardy rose through the minor league ranks to land in Triple-A three years later. That 2004 campaign in Indianapolis was cut short, however, due to an injury that ended his season.

One year later, Hardy rebounded in the major leagues. He played in 124 games with the Brewers in his rookie season and hit .247 with 50 RBI. He solidified himself as an everyday big-league player in 2007 when he earned his first All-Star bid and never looked back. His success continued when he was traded from the Brewers to the Twins in Nov. 2009, and then from the Twins to the Orioles a year later. As Baltimore's everyday shortstop, Hardy posted impressive defensive numbers and won three straight Gold Gloves from 2012-14. In 2013, with a .263 batting average and 25 home runs, he was named an AL All-Star and Silver Slugger.

Indianapolis Stats & Accolades

26 games, .277 AVG (28-for-101), 17 R, 10 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 0 SB, .825 OPS


MLB Stats & Accolades

1,561 games, .256 AVG (1,488-for-5,805), 718 R, 291 2B, 14 3B, 188 HR, 688 RBI, 8 SB, .714 OPS, 28.1 bWAR

2007 (National League, Milwaukee) & 2013 (American League, Baltimore) All-Star, 2012-14 AL Gold Glove, 2013 AL Silver Slugger

#7 - OF Starling Marte (2012, 2014, 2017)

For Starling Marte, a solid 99 games in Triple-A in 2012 led him to the big leagues. It took him a couple months to get warmed up, but once the Indians center fielder hit his stride in June, he skyrocketed to league honors and his MLB debut. After hitting .264 through the first two-and-a-half months of the season, Marte reeled off an eight-game multi-hit streak to earn International League Player of the Week honors. He extended it to a 15-game hitting streak overall where he hit an even .400 and improved his season average to .290.

It didn't take long for Pittsburgh to notice what it had in the minors, and a couple weeks after he was named to the IL midseason All-Star team, Marte was making his MLB debut. As he grew into his everyday outfielder role for the Pirates, Marte improved each year. In 2015, with a .995 fielding percentage in left field, the best in the National League and third in MLB, Marte earned his first Gold Glove with the Pirates. A year later he added another Gold Glove and boomed offensively with a .311 batting average and .818 OPS to be named to the only All-Star Game of his career.

Indianapolis Stats & Accolades

111 games, .284 AVG (124-for-436), 68 R, 23 2B, 13 3B, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 24 SB, .831 OPS

7/2/2012 International League Player of the Week, 2012 IL mid and postseason All-Star

MLB Stats & Accolades

1,014 games, .287 AVG (1,111-for-3,875), 591 R, 206 2B, 43 3B, 114 HR, 447 RBI, 249 SB, .791 OPS, 29.9 bWAR

2015 National League Wilson Defensive Player of the Year, 2015-16 NL Gold Glove, 2016 NL All-Star

#6 - 1B Sean Casey (1998)

Although Sean Casey's career in Indianapolis was brief, it led to his status as an everyday big-league player for the next 11 years. After being traded from Cleveland to Cincinnati just one day before the 1998 season opener, "The Mayor" spent two days in Cincinnati facing San Diego before suffering an eye injury during pregame throwing that nearly ended his career. He returned to game action on May 1 in Indianapolis and was back to his hitting ways, going 5-for-12 with four runs scored, two RBI, a double and triple in three games.

When Casey returned to Cincinnati, he was there to stay. With a .332 average, .938 OPS, 25 home runs and 99 RBI in 1999, he was named to his first National League All-Star Game and finished 14th in MVP voting. He continued to be a hard hitter in the Reds lineup, eclipsing the .300 mark in each of his next two seasons and in five of his eight total seasons in Cincinnati. Casey earned his third and final All-Star bid in 2004, when he went on to amass the seventh-best batting average in the NL.

Indianapolis Stats & Accolades

27 games, .326 (31-for-95), 14 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 0 SB, .881 OPS


MLB Stats & Accolades

1,405 games, .302 AVG (1,531-for-5,066), 690 R, 322 2B, 12 3B, 130 HR, 735 RBI, 18 SB, .814 OPS, 16.5 bWAR

1999, 2001 & 2004 National League All-Star (Cincinnati)

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