Former Indians pitcher Jason Stanford lived the dream while he pitched in three different seasons with the Cleveland Indians. Along the way, Stanford provided thrills for fans of the Akron Aeros as the talented 6-foot-2 left-handed starting pitcher had two strong seasons and another two partial ones at Canal Park. The Arizona native was a standout at Barton County Community College in 1996 and 1997 and then was a two-time All-ACC honoree for the University of North. He signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians in November 1999.
Stanford earned a promotion to the AA Aeros in 2000 near the end of the season and posted a win in the only game he pitched. He received the Bob Feller Award as the top pitcher in the Indians’ minor-league system. Stanford was 6-11 with a 4.07 ERA as a member of the Aeros starting rotation and earned a promotion to AAA Buffalo at the end of the 2001 season. He also was a member of the TEAM USA and earned a silver medal at the World Cup in Taiwan. He was back in Akron’s rotation in 2002 and compiled a 7-6 record with 3.43 ERA with the Aeros before moving up to Buffalo. He was impressive at the AAA level with a 3-1 record and 2.78 ERA. He made his major-league debut in 2003 against the Twins and went on to post a 1-3 record with 3.60 ERA in 50 innings. He started the 2004 season as the Tribe’s fifth starter and got off to a strong start with an 0.82 ERA in 11 innings.
But arm problems necessitated Tommy John surgery. He worked his way back to the Tribe in 2007 to pitch in two games, but was released in 2008. He later tried to make comebacks with the Nationals, Cubs and Indians. Since retiring, Stanford has been a broadcaster in Northeastern Ohio, high school coach at Howland High School and pitching coach at Youngstown State University.