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1887-1899 Cleveland Blues/Spiders

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  • 1887-1899 Cleveland Blues/Spiders

    Cleveland joined the American Association for the 1887 season, when they were known as the Clevelands or the Blues (because of their uniform color). The team was owned by Frank Robison, who was later joined by his brother Stanley. Before the 1889 season they moved to the National League and became known as the Spiders.

    The Spiders had their first taste of success in 1892 when they finished 93–56 overall; winning the second half by three games over Boston with a 53–23 record. Other than standout second baseman Cupid Childs, the Spiders had an unremarkable offense. Their success in 1892 was built on pitching strength; Cy Young was the NL's most dominant hurler, and 22-year-old rookie Nig Cuppy had an outstanding year. Following the season, a "World's Championship Series" exhibition was played between Cleveland (the winners of the second half of the 1892 split season) and the first-half winner Boston, but the Spiders could only muster one tie in six games.

    In 1895, the Spiders again finished second, this time to the Baltimore Orioles. Young led the league in wins, and left fielder Jesse Burkett won the batting title with a .409 average. The Spiders won the Temple Cup, an 1890s postseason series between the first- and second-place teams in the NL. Amid fan rowdyism and garbage-throwing, the Spiders won four of five games against Baltimore, including two wins for Cy Young.

    The 1895 championship was the high water mark for the franchise. The following season, Baltimore and Cleveland again finished first and second in the NL, but in the battle for the 1896 Temple Cup, the second-place Spiders were swept in four games. In 1897, despite a winning record, the franchise finished fifth, a season highlighted by Young throwing the first of three career no-hitters. The Spiders again finished fifth in 1898.

    In 1899, the Spiders' owners, the Robison brothers, bought the St. Louis Browns out of bankruptcy; the team became known as the Perfectos. They kept the Spiders as well--a blatant conflict of interest. Believing the Perfectos would draw greater attendance in more densely populated St. Louis, the Robisons transferred most of the Cleveland stars, including future Baseball Hall of Famers Cy Young, Jesse Burkett, and Bobby Wallace to St. Louis. They also shifted a large number of Cleveland home games to the road.

    With a decimated roster, the Spiders made a wretched showing. They finished with a dismal won-lost record of 20–134 (.130), 84 games behind the pennant-winning Brooklyn Superbas and 35 games behind the next-to-last (11th) place Washington Senators.

    The Robisons had announced after buying the Perfectos that they intended to run the Spiders as a "sideshow," and Cleveland fans apparently took them at their word. The Spiders' first 16 home games drew a total of 3,179 fans, or an average of 199 fans per game. Due to these meager attendance figures, the other 11 NL teams refused to come to League Park, as their cut of the revenue from ticket sales did not even begin to cover their hotel and travel expenses. The Spiders were thus forced to play 85 of their remaining 93 games on the road. They played a total of 42 home games during the season, including only eight after July 1, and finished 9–33 (.214) at home and 11–101 (.098) on the road. Only 6,088 fans paid to attend Spiders home games in 1899, for an average of a mere 145 spectators per game in 9,000-seat League Park.

    The team's longest winning streak of the season was two games, which they accomplished only on May 20–21. The Spiders’ opponents scored ten or more runs 49 times in 154 games. Pitchers Jim Hughey (4–30) and Charlie Knepper (4–22) tied for the team lead in wins.

    The 12th-place Spiders were one of four teams contracted out of the National League at the end of the 1899 season (the others were the 11th-place Senators, the ninth-place Louisville Colonels, and the fourth-place Baltimore Orioles, who were bankrupt). The 1899 fiasco played a role in the National League passing a rule which barred one person from owning controlling interest in two clubs.

    The short history above has been adapted from the Wikipedia entry on the Cleveland Spiders.

  • #2
    1887 Cleveland Blues; 39-92-2, .298, 8th place out of 8, 54 GB, managed by Jimmy Williams.

    No photo yet.


    • #3
      1888 Cleveland Blues; 50-82-3, .379, 6th place out of 8, 40.5 GB, managed by Jimmy Williams and Tom Loftus.

      Standing, L-R: Ed McKean (SS), Mortimer Hogan (LF/RF), George Proesser (P), Tom Loftus (Mgr.), Pete Hotaling (CF), Gus Alberts (3B), Bob Gilks (LF/CF).
      Sitting, L-R: Cub Stricker (2B), Cinders O’Brien (P), Bill McClellan (RF), Ed Keas (P), Jay Faatz (1B), Chief Zimmer (C), Deacon McGuire (C), Dick van Zant (3B).
      (McGuire joined the team on August 28th, and the only remaining games in Brooklyn (where this photo was taken) were October 7th-9th, thus the photo dates from that 3-day period.)
      1888 AA Cleveland.jpg

      Standing, L-R: Ed McKean (SS), Mike Morrison (P), Chief Zimmer (C), Pop Snyder (C), Jimmy Williams (Mgr.), Jay Faatz (1B), George Proeser (P), John McGlone (3B), Jersey Bakley (P), Mike Goodfellow (P).
      Sitting, L-R: Gus Alberts (3B), Pete Hotaling (CF), Bob Gilks (LF/CF), Cub Stricker (2B), unidentified, Doc Oberlander (P), Mortimer Hogan (LF/RF).
      Player IDs from Nigel Ayres (except Bob Gilks and Pete Hotaling by RUKen, Doc Oberlander by Bill Grinder).
      1888 AA Cleveland 2.jpg
      Last edited by RUKen; 10-05-2016, 08:56 AM.


      • #4
        1889 Cleveland Spiders; 61-72-3, .459, 6th place out of 8, 25.5 GB, managed by Tom Loftus.

        Standing, L-R: Henry Gruber (P), Chief Zimmer (C), Jersey Bakley (P), and Bob Gilks (CF).
        Seated, L-R: Cub Stricker (2B), Cinders O'Brien (P), Jay Faatz (1B), Patsy Tebeau (3B), Paul Radford (RF), Tom Loftus (Mgr.), Sy Sutcliffe (C), Ed Beatin (P), and Ed McKean (SS).

        1889 NL Cleveland 2.jpg
        Last edited by RUKen; 02-03-2015, 07:37 AM.


        • #5
          1890 Cleveland Spiders; 44-88-4, .333, 7th place out of 8, 43.5 GB, managed by Gus Schmelz and Bob Leadley.

          Top Row, L-R: Len Stockwell (1B/LF), Bob Gilks (LF), Peek-A-Boo Veach (1B), Vince Dailey (RF), Ezra Lincoln (P), Jack Wadsworth (P),Will Smalley (3B), Charlie Parsons (P).
          Middle Row, L-R: Joe Ardner (2B), Ed McKean (SS), Bill Garfield (P), Gus Schmelz (Mgr.), Chief Zimmer (C), Ed Beatin (P).
          Bottom Row, L-R: George Davis (CF), unknown, Tom Dowse (OF).

          1890 NL Cleveland.jpg

          1890 NL Cleveland photo.jpg

          1890 NL Cleveland 3.jpg
          Last edited by RUKen; 10-07-2016, 04:38 AM.


          • #6
            1891 Cleveland Spiders; 65-74-2, .468, 5th place out of 8, 22.5 GB, managed by Bob Leadley and Patsy Tebeau.

            Top Row: Jimmy McAleer (CF).
            Second Row, L-R: George Davis (LF), Cupid Childs (2B), Spud Johnson (RF), Ed McKean (SS).
            Third Row, L-R: Henry Gruber (P), Frank Knauss (P), Ed Beatin (P), Cy Young (P), Lee Viau (P).
            Fourth Row, L-R: Patsy Tebeau (3B), Bob Leadley (Mgr.), Jake Virtue (1B).
            Bottom Row, L-R: Jack Doyle (C/OF/3B), Chief Zimmer (C).

            1891 NL Cleveland.jpg


            • #7
              1892 Cleveland Spiders, 93-56-4, .624, 2nd place out of 12 (second-half winners), 8.5 GB, managed by Patsy Tebeau.

              Standing, L-R: Cy Young (P), George Davis (3B), George Rettger (P), John Shearon (DNP), Jack Doyle (RF/C), Jimmy McAleer (CF), Jack O’Connor (RF), George Davies (P).
              Kneeling, L-R: Jake Virtue (1B), Tom Williams (P/RF), Nig Cuppy (P), Cupid Childs (2B), Patsy Tebeau (1B/Mgr.), Lee Viau (P), Jesse Burkett (LF), Ed McKean (SS).

              This photograph was taken at the Spiders' home field, League Park in Cleveland.

              1892 NL Cleveland.jpg

              Top Row of Composite, L-R: Cy Young (P), George Rettger (P), John Shearon (OF-DNP*), Jake Virtue (1B), George Davies (P).
              Upper Center of Composite: Patsy Tebeau (3B/Mgr.).
              Second Row of Composite, L-R: Chief Zimmer (C), Cupid Childs (2B), Ed McKean (SS), Jimmy McAleer (CF), Jesse Burkett (LF).
              Bottom Row of Composite, L-R: George Davis (3B/RF/SS), Jack O'Connor (RF/C), Lee Viau (P), Jack Doyle (RF/C).
              *John Shearon was an outfielder on the 1891 Spiders but did not play in the major leagues in 1892.

              1892 NL Cleveland composite.jpg
              Last edited by RUKen; 05-12-2015, 05:43 AM.


              • #8
                1893 Cleveland Spiders, 73-55-1, .570, 3rd place out of 12, 12.5 GB, managed by Patsy Tebeau.

                See posts #40 and #48 for an explanation of these composites.
                1893 NL Cleveland 2018 revision.jpg

                My first version, prior to the addition of Charlie Hastings:


                Here is a composite that actually dates to 1893:

                Top Row (L-R): Tom Williams (P), George Davies (P), Cy Young (P), George Cuppy (P), John Clarkson (P).
                Middle Row (L-R): Jake Virtue (1B), Jack O'Connor (C), Patsy Tebeau (1B/3B/Mgr.), Chief Zimmer (C), Buck Ewing (RF).
                Bottom Row (L-R): Jesse Burkett (LF), Jimmy McAleer (CF), Ed McKean (SS), Cupid Childs (2B), Frank Boyd (C).

                Last edited by RUKen; 03-09-2018, 06:20 AM.


                • #9
                  1894 Cleveland Spiders, 68-61-1, .527, 6th place out of 12, 21.5 GB, managed by Patsy Tebeau.

                  Top Row, L-R: Charlie Dewald (DNP*), Cy Young (P), Nig Cuppy (P), Jack O'Connor (C/CF), Jimmy McAleer (CF).
                  Middle Row, L-R: Cupid Childs (2B), Chippy McGarr (3B), Patsy Tebeau (1B/Mgr.), Ed McKean (SS), Chauncey Fisher (P).
                  Bottom Row, L-R: Jake Virtue (CF/RF), John Clarkson (P), Buck Ewing (RF), Chief Zimmer (C), Jesse Burkett (LF).
                  *DNP=Did not play for Cleveland in 1894

                  1894 NL Cleveland Sp.jpg
                  Last edited by RUKen; 02-12-2014, 10:14 AM.


                  • #10
                    1895 Cleveland Spiders, 84-46-2, .646, 2nd place out of 12, 3 GB, managed by Patsy Tebeau.

                    Top Row, L-R: Eddie O’Meara (C), Harry Blake (RF), Jimmy McAleer (CF), Cy Young (P), Chief Zimmer (C), Jack O’Connor (C/1B), Cupid Childs (2B).
                    Middle Row, L-R: Chippy McGarr (3B), Frank Robison, Patsy Tebeau (1B/Mgr.), Stanley Robison, George Tebeau (RF/1B), Ed McKean (SS).
                    Bottom Row, L-R: Nig Cuppy (P), Phil Knell (P), Jesse Burkett (LF), Bobby Wallace (P).

                    1895 NL Cleveland 2.jpg
                    Last edited by RUKen; 10-07-2016, 04:39 AM.


                    • #11
                      1896 Cleveland Spiders, 80-48-7, .625, 2nd place out of 12, 9.5 GB, managed by Patsy Tebeau.

                      Top Row, L-R: Jimmy McAleer (CF), George Tebeau (DNP), Jack O’Connor (C/1B), Cupid Childs (2B), Bobby Wallace (OF/P), Jesse Burkett (LF).
                      Middle Row, L-R: Chippy McGarr (3B), Ed McKean (SS), Patsy Tebeau (1B/Mgr.), Cy Young (P), Ice Box Chamberlain (P).
                      Bottom Row, L-R: Tom Delahanty (3B), Zeke Wilson (P), Chief Zimmer (C), John Shearon (DNP), Harry Blake (RF), Jack Scheible (DNP), Nig Cuppy (P).

                      1896 NL Cleveland.jpg

                      A caricature of the team (with apologies for the representations of "Nig" Cuppy, Jesse Burkett, and a few others):
                      1896 AL Cle composite large.jpg
                      Last edited by RUKen; 07-31-2014, 12:08 PM.


                      • #12
                        1897 Cleveland Spiders, 69-62-1, .527, 5th place out of 12, 23.5 GB, managed by Patsy Tebeau.

                        Clockwise around the perimeter from the top left: Nig Cuppy (P), Zeke Wilson (P), Cy Young (P), John Shearon (DNP), Harry Blake (CF), Dale Gear (CF), Ed McKean (SS), Chief Zimmer (C), Lou Criger (C), Jack O’Connor (CF/RF/1B), Cupid Childs (2B), Jack Powell (P), Chippy McGarr (DNP), Bobby Wallace (3B).
                        Upper center, L-R: Jimmy McAleer (CF), Jesse Burkett (RF).
                        Center: Patsy Tebeau (1B/Mgr.). Lower center: John Pappalau (P).

                        1897 NL Cleveland.jpg


                        • #13
                          1898 Cleveland Spiders, 81-68-7, .544, 5th place out of 12, 21 GB, managed by Patsy Tebeau.

                          Top Row, L-R: Fred Frank (RF/CF), Emmet Heidrick (CF/RF), Cy Young (P), Zeke Wilson (P), Ed McKean (SS).
                          Middle Row, L-R: Nig Cuppy (P), Harry Blake (RF), Patsy Tebeau (1B/Mgr.), Jesse Burkett (LF), Bobby Wallace (3B), Lou Criger (C).
                          Bottom Row, L-R: Jack Powell (P), Jack O’Connor (1B/C), Chick Fraser (P).

                          1898 NL Cleveland 1.jpg
                          Last edited by RUKen; 02-21-2014, 05:25 AM. Reason: Moved one photo to next post (for 1899) as a result of information received in post #35 in this thread.


                          • #14
                            1899 Cleveland Spiders, 20-134-0, .130, 12th place out of 12, 84 GB, managed by Lave Cross and Joe Quinn.
                            Photograph from spring training in Hot Springs, Arkansas, prior to the mass transfer of players to St. Louis
                            Top Row, L-R: Sport McAllister (OF/C), Emmet Heidrick (DNP), Cy Young (DNP), George Bristow (LF/RF), Jesse Burkett (DNP), Chief Zimmer (C).
                            Middle Row, L-R: Jake Stenzel (DNP), Ed McKean (DNP), Ossee Schreckengost (C), Jack O'Connor (DNP), Patsy Tebeau (DNP), Cupid Childs (DNP), Zeke Wilson (DNP), Harry Blake (DNP), Bobby Wallace (DNP).
                            Bottom Row, L-R: Jack Powell (DNP), Lou Criger (DNP), James Paschal (DNP), Long (DNP), Frank Bates (P).
                            DNP=Did not play for Cleveland in the 1899 season
                            1898 NL Cleveland 2.jpg

                            Perhaps not surprisingly, no photo of the team that actually played for Cleveland in the 1899 season has survived.

                            (A photo of the team from one of the previous years, with Cy Young prominent, is sometimes mistakenly labeled as the 1899 Spiders on internet sites.)
                            Last edited by RUKen; 07-02-2014, 06:23 AM. Reason: Corrected "Stengel" to "Jake Stenzel".


                            • #15
                              Jimmy Williams, Mgr., 1887-88

                              Williams (Jimmy) 1887-88.jpg

                              Bob Gilks, OF/P, 1887-90

                              Last edited by RUKen; 10-07-2016, 04:42 AM.


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