1880 saw the Blues surge to a 3rd place finish with a record of 47-37 ! McCormick had a huge turnaround leading the league in games with 74 , IP with 657.2 , complete games with 72 and wins with 45. His ERA of 1.85 was only good for for another 5th place finish.They were still lacking offensively , however , with a team batting average of only .242 and scoring 387 runs ( league leaders : .279 and 538 ). 1880 also saw the beginning of the reserve clause. Each team could "reserve" the services of 5 players for the following year.Initially , some players looked at it as a form of status or value to the team , but with only 11 or so regular players on each team nearly half received the "status". Owners quickly saw it as a way lock players in at a lower salary. National League president , William Hulbert , removed the Cincinnati club from the league for selling liquor in their park and trying to play games on Sunday !
1881 Well , you knew it wouldn't last. The Blues tumbled to 7th place out of 8 with a 36-48 record. McCormick was still among the league leaders in several pitching categories , unfortunately , losses was one of them with 57.Catcher , John Clapp led the league in walks with 35 and 2nd baseman Fred Dunlap hit .325 but league leading Chicago hit .295 as a team.
1882 brought some major changes so that will be the next post. Also , still working on Cleveland baseballcards. The oldest I've found so far is 1897 Old Judge.