The FOREST CITY BASEBALL CLUB, or the Forest Citys, was the name of several early amateur and professional baseball teams in Cleveland. The first was an amateur team sponsored by the Forest City Baseball Club, organized in 1865. In 1868 the club had 150 members and enjoyed a good reputation locally until 24 June, when the Forest City team suffered a humiliating 85-11 defeat at the hands of the Athletics of Philadelphia.

Members of the Forest City Baseball Club pose for a formal studio photograph in uniform and with bats in the early 1880s. WRHS.
Members of the Forest City Baseball Club in the early 1880s. WRHS.

It finished the season with 12 wins and 11 losses. A professional Forest City team was organized the following year, including pros Arthur Allison, outfielder and first baseman, Albert G. "Uncle Al" Pratt, pitcher, and James L. "Deacon" White, each of whom remained with the team until its demise in 1872. With a team that was half amateur—several players remained "pure" and refused payment—and half professional, the Forest Citys played the first pro baseball game in Cleveland on 2 June 1869. They lost 25-6 to the professional Cincinnati Red Stockings, in front of 2,000 spectators at Case Commons at Putnam Ave. (E. 38th St.) between Scovill and Central avenues. The Forest Citys continued as a pro team in 1870, and on 17 Mar. 1871 became a charter member of the National Assn. of Professional Baseball Players. Playing their home games on a new field at Willson (E. 55th St.) and Garden (Central Ave.), the team finished in 7th place in the 9-team league, with a record of 10-19 (.345). In 1872 the team won only 6 of 21 games in their final season. From 1879-84 Cleveland fielded a National League team known as the Forest Citys. Organized by businessman William Hollinger and J. Ford Evans, the team played its home games on a field at Kennard (E. 46th St.) and Cedar. In its 6 years of operation the club had winning seasons in 1880, 1882, and 1883 behind their star pitcher, iron-armed Jim McCormick, who had a 45-28 record in 1880, leading the league in most wins and most innings pitched. After a dismal 35-77 record in the 1884 season, the Forest Citys resigned from the NL in early 1885. Cleveland's 1887 pro baseball team was called the Forest Citys before it became known as the Spiders, and amateur teams revived the Forest Citys name in later years.

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