|Birth: ||Feb. 14, 1931|
|Death: ||Aug. 1, 2011|
Joe Caffie, 80, former Cleveland Indians outfielder started in the Negro Leagues-
"I have seen a lot of fast ones, but Caffie is the fastest, and that includes guys like Sam Jethroe," said the legendary Luke Easter in Moffi & Kronstadt's Crossing the Line. Joe Caffie had his start as an outfielder with the Cleveland Buckeyes of the Negro Leagues in 1950, before being signed by the Indians in 1951. He passed away at his home in Warren, OH, on August 1st, 2011. He was 80.
Caffie's trademark was his speed, which was evident when he led Class-C Duluth with 18 triples and a .342 batting average in 1952. He led the league in six batting categories en route to winning the MVP award for the Northern League, which earned him a promotion to AAA Indianapolis.
Caffie continued to perform well at the AAA level, swiping bases, legging out extra- base hits and covering much ground in the outfield. Finally, Caffie was brought up to the Cleveland Indians in September, 1956. He hit .342 in 12 games and played without making an error on defense.
Unfortunately for Caffie, he did not make the club out of spring training in 1957. With the emergence of young stars Roger Maris and Rocky Colavito, as well as the veteran presence of Al Smith and Gene Woodling, manager Kerby Farrell could not find a spot for Caffie in the crowded Indians outfield.
Determined to find his way back to the major leagues, Caffie batted .330 for AAA Buffalo, making the International League All-Star team. When the Tribe optioned catcher Dick Brown in early August, Caffie was summoned from Buffalo. Only a few weeks later, against the New York Yankees, Caffie would have what was his best game in his major league career, going 4-5, while swatting his first major league home run. He finished the season with three round-trippers in only 89 at-bats.
He would spend the next three seasons at the AAA level, never receiving the call to return to the majors. He ended his playing career in 1961 with Charlotte. He returned to Warren, where he worked as a laborer at Thomas Steel for 37 years before retiring.
Created by: K
Record added: Nov 29, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 81172586
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