1892 Cleveland Spiders
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1892 Cleveland Spiders / Franchise: Cleveland Spiders / BR Team Page
Managed by Patsy Tebeau
History, Comments, Contributions
The 1892 Cleveland Spiders were chock full of talent and finished second in the 1892 National League under manager Patsy Tebeau, who managed them during almost all of the 1890's. The 1892 Spiders were beaten only by Frank Selee's 1892 Boston Beaneaters, who had such players as King Kelly, Hugh Duffy, Herman Long, Tommy McCarthy, John Clarkson and Kid Nichols. The Spiders finished 1/2 game ahead of the 1892 Brooklyn Grooms managed by John Ward, who had stars such as Dan Brouthers, Bill Joyce and Oyster Burns.
Cleveland was doomed by a weak first half, especially in May and early June when they played under .500. However, during the second half of the season they won over 70% of their games.
The Spiders featured many well-known players. Cy Young, at age 25, went 36-12, winning the most victories in one season for his career. John Clarkson, who started the season with the Beaneaters, when 17-10 during his time with the Spiders. Rookie George "Nig" Cuppy was 28-13 and went on to win 162 games in his major league career, but he would never again win as many games in a season in the majors.
Among position players, Cupid Childs was the top hitter with a .443 on-base percentage, helped by his getting 117 walks - he was third in the league in batting even without considering all the walks. Chief Zimmer, the esteemed catcher, led the team with 29 doubles despite appearing in only 111 games. Zimmer played in Cleveland from 1887-1889 during a 19-year major league career.
Two future Hall of Famers were youngsters. Jesse Burkett, age 23, had a decent year although it was below average compared to the rest of his career. He played from 1891-98 for Cleveland. George Davis, only 21 years old, had one of the worst years with the bat of his career (the next season he would have a batting average that was 100 points higher and a slugging percentage that was two hundred points higher, after the mound was moved back). However, his defense was strong. He mostly appeared at third base and in the outfield, as Ed McKean held down shortstop.
Veteran McKean was with Cleveland from 1887-98, and like Davis, 1892 was one of his worst years with the bat (again, adjusting for a low-offense season). A top defensive shortstop, he wasn't quite as dominant defensively in 1892 as he was in some other years.
First baseman Jake Virtue, not as well-known as some of the other players due to having a short career, had one of his best seasons, hitting 20 triples to finish second in the league in that category. He was also among league leaders in walks and on-base percentage. Jake tailed off in 1893-94 and that ended his major league career.
Jimmy McAleer, a weak hitter, had one of his best seasons with the bat, and led the team with 40 stolen bases. He would play more than a decade with Cleveland, and begin his managerial career with the Cleveland entry in the new 1901 American League.
Jack O'Connor, who played 21 seasons in the big leagues, was in his first season with Cleveland and did not have a strong year with the bat. He would be with Cleveland from 1892-98 as a multi-position player; in 1892 he played less at catcher than he would in other years, appearing most often in the outfield that year.
The young Jack Doyle, at age 22, was hitting well before he was released in June and signed by the 1892 Giants. Doyle had been with the Spiders in 1891 after breaking into the majors in 1889. He would go on to play through 1905.
Manager Tebeau himself appeared in 86 games but was not a particularly strong hitter. He mostly played third base, but had the sense to see that George Davis was a rising young talent and let George play there a lot.
The Spiders would never again win as many as 93 games in a season, although they would later finish second a couple times again with higher winning percentages.