Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cleveland Baseball History , Part V

I was up early today so I decided to add another episode to my Cleveland Baseball History.


1884 was a unique time in baseball history as, for the one and only year, there were three major leagues.
The National League
Providence Grays
Boston Beaneaters
Buffalo Bisons
New York Gothams
Chicago White Stockings
Philadelphia Quakers
Cleveland Blues
Detroit Wolverines
The American Association
New York Metropolitans
Columbus Buckeyes
Louisville Eclipse
St. Louis Browns
Cincinnati Reds
Baltimore Orioles
Philadelphia Athletics
Toledo Blue Stockings
Brooklyn Grays
Pittsburgh Allegheny's
Indianapolis Hoosiers
Washington Statesmen
Union Association
St. Louis Maroons
Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Outlaw Reds
Boston Reds
Washington Nationals
Philadelphia Keystones
St Paul Apostles
Altoona Mountain Citys
Kansas City Cowboys
Wilmington Quicksteps

The teams are listed in their final standings for 1884.

The formation of the Union Association came about late in 1883 with Henry Lucas as the brain trust. Lucas, an ambitious 26 year old who stemmed from a wealthy St.Louis lawyer and banker, didn't like the reserve clause and decided to start a new league of his own ! If only it was that easy. Since I'm concentrating on Cleveland here, I don't want to delve too deeply into this comical season but some of you may want to research it on your own. Basically, Lucas was behind the St.Louis Maroons team. With his scheduling and other activities, they ended up running away with a 94-19 record. All of the Union Association problems spilled over to the other leagues and it just wasn't a pretty season.One more quick sidebar to that year, a little known fact, Jackie Robinson was not the first to break the color barrier in baseball (no it wasn't Jefferson Jacks either !). The Toledo Blue Stockings, of the American Association, brought in Moses Walker in 1884 who became the first Afro-American major league player.Obviously that did not set well back then.Cap Anson led a group of star players who planned a boycott if professional baseball wasn't kept all-white.The leagues, in 1885, entered into a secret,unwritten pact to bar Afro-Americans from then on.

Meanwhile, Cleveland finished with a 35-77 record for next-to-last place barely beating out the Detroit Wolverines at 28-84.Even Jim McCormick had a losing season at 19-22. Jack Glasscock,their normal shortstop, actually pitched 5 innings over 2 games ! 1-K , 2 -BB and a 5.40 ERA. The worst part happened in 1885 when the National League admitted Henry Lucas and his St.Louis Maroons in to replace the Cleveland team !! However, the Maroons finished in last place in 1885. Cleveland would not show up again until 1887 in the American Association.

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