Today, the Cleveland Indians signed former Cleveland Indian Russell Branyan. The 38-year-old utility player returns to Ohio by way of the Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican Baseball League (.296, 19 home runs, y'know). He'll be playing Triple-A ball for the Columbus Clippers for now.
The move, despite its temporary geographic misfire, cements Cleveland's sports renaissance narrative.
In a 2013 "Hey, Hoynsie!" piece, PD baseball writer Paul Hoynes had this to say about a reader inquiring into Branyan:
If you're into all-or-nothing swingers, Branyan would have to be an option. Branyan, 37, didn't play in the big leagues last year after signing a minor-league deal with the Yankees and coming down with back problems.Branyan was originally drafted by the Indians in 1997, and, frankly, we couldn't be happier to have the slugger back in the
When you think of power hitters, you think of Branyan. He's hit 194 homers in the big leagues and 222 in the minors. One day at Baseball City, Kansas City's old spring training site in Florida, Branyan hit the longest homer I've ever seen. It cleared the right-field fence, a road behind the fence, and a fence behind the road before landing in a sand pile.