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CLEVELAND SPIDERS

The CLEVELAND SPIDERS were a professional baseball team in the American Assn. in 1887-88 before moving to the National League for the 1889 season. Streetcar tycoon FRANK DEHAAS ROBISON received a Cleveland franchise to play in the AA in 1887 and built a ballpark on his streetcar line at Payne Ave. and E. 39th St. The team, known first as the Forest Citys, and after 1889 as the Spiders, fared poorly in its 2 years in the AA. At the end of the 1888 season, however, the team was chosen to replace Detroit in the NL and assumed the nickname Spiders due to the skinny appearance of many of the players. The Spiders fared little better in the NL until 1891, when Oliver "Patsy" Tebeau became player/manager and the Spiders moved to a new ballpark (still on a Robison streetcar line) at Lexington and E. 66th St. Under Tebeau, who often harassed opposing players and umpires, the Spiders were transformed in 1892 when, led by the pitching of DENTON TRUE "CY" YOUNG, the team finished in 2nd place behind the Boston Beaneaters. Cleveland was one of only 2 teams that made money that year. The Spiders challenged the Baltimore Orioles in 1895 and 1896, finishing 2nd to them at the end of both regular seasons. The Spiders played the Orioles in the postseason series for baseball's Temple Cup, defeating the Orioles in 1895, but the Cleveland team lost to Baltimore in 1896 and never were contenders after that. Poor attendance at their home games angered Robison, and after the 1898 season he punished local fans by transferring the Spiders' talented players to the St. Louis team he had purchased in July 1898. In 1899 the team, regularly called "the Misfits," compiled a won-loss record of 20-134 (.129), and Cleveland was one of 4 teams dropped from the league in 1900.