Cleveland Forest Citys
From BR Bullpen
Cleveland Forest Citys: (1865-72), (1879-84), (1885), (1887-89)
Win-Loss Record: (1) 71-68-1 (.511)
Win-Loss Record: (2) 242-299-8 (.448)
Win-Loss Record: (3) 13-16 (.448)
Win-Loss Record: (4) 89-174-5 (.341)
Leagues: National Association of Base Ball Players (1865-70), National Association (1871-72), National League (1879-84), Western League (1885), American Association (1887-88)
Ballparks: Kinsman Grounds (1865-68), Case Commons Grounds (1869-70), National Association Grounds (May 11, 1871- Aug. 19, 1872), Kennard Street Park (May 1, 1879-June 15, 1885), National League Park II (1887-89)
Baseball was played in Cleveland, OH as early as 1857, and a club named the Forest Citys began play in 1865. The first game Forest Citys participated in was against the Oberlin Penfields on October 20, 1865, 4 pm, located at Kisman Grounds which was at the corner of E. 40th and Woodland. The Forest Citys at the time were a cricket club while the Oberlin team was made up of college players. The game lasted 7 innings and was called on account of darkness. The final score read Oberlin 67, Cleveland 28. On June 2, 1869, the team participated in the first pro baseball game against the Cincinnati Red Stockings. The game was held at Case Commons Grounds (located at the corner of Putnam Ave. & E. 38th St., between Scovill and Central), where 2,000 people saw the Forest Citys lose by a score of 25-6. During the team's six seasons in the National Association of Base Ball Players, the team produced a 55-33-1 record. Following the 1870 season, the team joined the National Association. The 1871 Cleveland Forest Citys and 1872 Forest Citys constitute their only two seasons in a professional league, both of which produced really bad seasons. During the team's two seasons in the National Association they won 31.4% of their games for a 16-35 record. After a really bad season in 1872 which saw the team go 6-16, the team dropped out. Of course, their only claim to dame was that they were defeated by the Fort Wayne Kekiongas 2-0 in the first game in major league history and in the National Association.
Baseball would not return to Cleveland until 1879 when a second Forest City team joined the National League. The team would play six seasons in the National League before dropping out due to the financial problems caused by the Union Association. Most of the players would wind up on the Brooklyn Atlantics for the 1885 season. A third Forest Citys team joined the Western League for the 1885 season, but folded in mid-June.
The fourth and final Forest Citys team joined the American Association on November 22, 1886. The team played two seasons of sub-.500 ball before joining the National League on November 21, 1888, almost 2 years to the day that the team joined the American Association. During the 1889 season, owner Frank Robison commented on how tall and spidery his players were. This prompted the name change to Cleveland Spiders.
- Russell Schneider: The Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia , Temple University Press, Philadelphia, Pa © 1996
- Peter Filichia: Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebrations of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks Past and Present, Addison Wesley Publishing Company (March 1993)