Jason Kipnis thanks Indians fans in farewell to Cleveland: "Forever grateful, forever part of the Tribe"

Kipnis signed a one-year minor-league deal with the Cubs on Tuesday

James Rapien
February 12, 2020 - 1:15 pm
Categories: 

CLEVELAND, OH — Jason Kipnis met with the media last September knowing it could be the last time he talked at Progressive Field as a member of the Indians.

The 32-year-old suffered a broken hamate bone in his right hand that cut his season short and prematurely ended what was ultimately his final campaign with the Tribe.

“It sucks. There’s no need to sugarcoat it,” he said at the time. “It just sucks, because it’s just been that much fun of a trip for me. I have very few regrets about the last eight years. It’s been an absolute joy to play here.”

The Indians moved on when they signed second baseman César Hernández to a one-year deal in December. That ended any hope of Kipnis returning to the Tribe and left some wondering if the 9-year veteran would be on a team by the start of spring training?

That question was answered on Tuesday when Kipnis agreed to a one-year minor-league contract with the Chicago Cubs. The two-time All-Star signed with his hometown club, but he made it clear that Cleveland will always have his heart.

Kipnis wrote an emotional farewell to Indians fans and the City of Cleveland on Wednesday afternoon.

"Cleveland, I’ll keep it short... Thank you," he wrote on Instagram. "For taking a chance on me as an organization and as a fan base. You guys joined me on this ride to get this great org back to where it belonged, at the top competing for a (World Series) every year! I’m sorry I couldn’t finish the job for you. You helped shape me into the person I am today and I’m forever grateful. From the polite and respectful greetings you showed my family, friends and I everywhere we went. Every restaurant, every bar, every Heinen’s, everywhere! You made me feel 10 feet tall!

"Many of you went from fans, to familiar faces, to even friends. Keep that Rally Together spirit going for this team. You’re holding them to a high standard and that’s the way it should be. I was fortunate enough to play with some of the best teammates, coaching, medical and equipment staff in the game and wouldn’t have had the run I did without them. Many of which are lifelong friends now. I’ll always cherish my time in Cleveland and always tried to show you how much I loved wearing that jersey by the way I played for you! Forever grateful, forever part of the Tribe! Thank you Cleveland. Kip, Dirtbag, #22"

Cleveland, I’ll keep it short... Thank you. For taking a chance on me as an organization and as a fan base. You guys joined me on this ride to get this great org back to where it belonged, at the top competing for a WS every year! I’m sorry I couldn’t finish the job for you. You helped shape me into the person I am today and I’m forever grateful. From the polite and respectful greetings you showed my family, friends and I everywhere we went. Every restaurant, every bar, every heinen’s, everywhere! You made me feel 10 feet tall! Many of you went from fans, to familiar faces, to even friends. Keep that Rally Together spirit going for this team. You’re holding them to a high standard and that’s the way it should be. I was fortunate enough to play with some of the best teammates, coaching, medical and equipment staff in the game and wouldn’t have had the run i did without them. Many of which are lifelong friends now. I’ll always cherish my time in Cleveland and always tried to show you how much I loved wearing that jersey by the way I played for you! Forever grateful, forever part of the Tribe! Thank you Cleveland. Kip, Dirtbag, #22

A post shared by Jason Kipnis (@jasonkipnis22) on

In 2018, Kipnis became the first player in Indians history to reach 1,000 hits, 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases. He hit 123 home runs, which is the most by a second baseman in team history.

He'll battle for a roster spot in Chicago. If he makes the team, he could start at second base until youngster Nico Hoerner is ready to play everyday.

The Indians responded with a tribute video honoring Kipnis' contributions to the organization. Watch it below.