Cleveland Bearcats

From BR Bullpen

In 1914 Charley Somers, the owner of the Cleveland Naps and Toledo Mud Hens, moved the Toledo club to Cleveland, OH to provide daily baseball games in the city, as the new Cleveland Bearcats shared League Park with the American League team. This was meant as a preventative measure to firce out the Federal League, as there were no other good stadiums in the city. The previous season, the outlaw Federal League had put a team in Cleveland, in a small local diamond called Luna Park which was clearly unsuitable for a major league team. Thus, when the Federal League upgraded to major league status in 1914, it was forced to move its Cleveland franchise out of town.

The Bearcats went 82-81 in 1914, finishing 5th in the American Association. They were forced to play more than half of their games on the road, as their schedule had been drawn while the team was still based in Toledo, and thus there were a number of conflicts with the Indians' schedule (for example, the Bearcats did not play their first home game until May 14, then had a month-long road trip from mid-July to mid-August). In 1915 they fell to 67-82 and seventh place, and were on the losing end of more scheduling conflicts that forced them on the road for long periods, which led some reporters to refer to them jokingly as the Spiders, in memory of the infamous 1899 team. Several players split time between the Cleveland teams in the AA and AL, including Sad Sam Jones, Elmer Smith, Jack Lelivelt, Jay Kirke, Joe Evans, Jim Eschen, Dennis Wilie, Roy Wood, Nick Carter and Buck Brenton. When the Federal League dissolved and the reason for the Bearcats' existence was eliminated, the team returned to Toledo, again taking the Mud Hen nickname.

Source: "The American Association" by Bill O'Neal

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1914 82-81 5th Herman Bronkie

Further Reading[edit]

  • Marshall Wright: "Keeping the Federals at Bay: Cleveland in the American Association, 1914-1915", in Brad Sullivan, ed.: Batting Four Thousand: Baseball in the Western Reserve, SABR, Cleveland, OH, 2008, pp. 19-21.