Cleveland Indians History: Steve Olin, Tim Crews Killed

The water can be a dangerous place at any time, especially for those boating while drunk. On this day in 1993, the Cleveland Indians came face to face with that tragedy when Steve Olin and Tim Crews were killed in a boat accident.

When Jose Fernandez was killed while boating in the early morning hours of September 25, 2016, it brought to mind another tragedy. On this day 23 years earlier, Cleveland Indians relievers Steve Olin and Tim Crews were killed when their boat struck a pier, while fellow pitcher Bob Ojeda was seriously injured.

Crews, who was legally drunk, was piloting the boat when it struck the pier, shearing three posts. He was placed on life support following the accident, and died the next morning. Olin was killed instantly, taking the brunt of the collision. Ojeda, meanwhile, survived because he was slouched in his seat. As it was, he lost four pints of blood, and had a severe cut on his head, but he never lost consciousness.

This was a terrible tragedy on what had been the Indians only day off during Spring Training. The day had begun as a bonding experience, with a barbecue and horseback riding. Olin and Ojeda brought their families, and the three friends headed out to look for gators during the night. Florida police said that if the boat had veered another ten feet, no one would have been harmed.

A submariner, Olin was coming off his best season as the Indians closer. He notched 29 saves, posting a 2.34 ERA and a 1.211 WHiP. Crews, meanwhile, had just signed with the team in January, but had already become a beloved teammate.

This accident led to the first deaths of active players since Thurman Munson was killed back in 1979. In fact, the circumstances were similar in that an outing with friends went tragically wrong.

The impact made by this accident could be felt even when the Indians won the American League Central in 1995. Mike Hargrove, who was managing the team, had requested that Olin’s favorite song, Garth Brooks’ “The Dance,” be played when the Tribe clinched. For those who were teammates of Olin’s, it was an emotional experience unlike any other.

Tragedy struck the Cleveland Indians on this day in 1993, when a boat accident took the lives of Steve Olin and Tim Crews. What was to be a fun bonding experience went impossibly wrong.

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