Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cleveland Baseball History , Part III

1882 The start of what is sometimes called the "Golden Age" of baseball. During the mid to late 1800's baseball was a very big part of life and almost everyone wanted to be a part of it in one way or another.Many merchants and factories organized teams to play against each other. Many new teams were being formed and banding together to form rebel or independent leagues wanting to compete with the professional National League. On November 2,1881 the American Association was founded in Cincinnati. The National League owners scoffed at the idea of another baseball league competing against them , but in 1882 when the season started , the new league proved to be formidable opponent.
The Cleveland Blues had a decent team that year and moved up to 5th place with a 42-40 record , 12 games back but only 3 games out of the 3rd spot.The Chicago White Stockings won the league again with the Providence Grays only 3 games behind them. Jim McCormick was a power house again after his poor showing last season , leading the league in games at 68 , IP with 595.2 , CG AT 65 and wins with 36. But again leading with 103 BB. The offense , or lack there of , was their downfall ( sound familiar ?) . Although they led the league with 20 HR their .238 team BA couldn't compete with Chicago who hit .277 and led the league in 6 other offensive catagories.In contrast , The Cincinnati Red Stockings won the American Association with a higher wining percentage than Chicago , scored more runs , had more hits in less at bats and fewer games. So they showed the world they could compete. There were some differences in the rules between the two leagues , which they began to iron out in 1883 , but no "World Series " would be played for for several years.

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