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A Brief History of the Cleveland Indians

Cleveland’s professional baseball is older than the American League. It was first played in 1869 between Cleveland Forest City and Cincinnati Red Stockings. However, in 1872, the club disbanded and Cleveland made a return to professional baseball only in 1879 when it participated in the National League.

Early History of Cleveland Indians 

It was in the November of 1886 that a Cleveland team gained admission to American Association after it replaced Pittsburgh’s team, after being dropped from National League in 1885.

It returned only in 1889. In 1890, Cleveland played in both Player’s and American Association as it had two major league teams but the Player’s league closed down, and the American Association also folded up. This left only the National League.

Cleveland enjoyed both successes and failures in the National League from 1891 to 1899. Although it never led the National League, it found a place in three National League trips (in 1892, 1895 and 1896).

By the 1900, Cleveland became an established major league. It played its first American League game in 1901.

Change of Names 

In 1901 and 1902, the Cleveland teams were called Blues and Broncos respectively but then it earned the nickname, Naps in 1903. The team had an excellent ballpark, Lajole, as its second batsman and a solid ownership, which led to the belief that it was a major contender for championship. However, the team finished second, even though it played one of its greatest games ever played.

After Nap Lajole played his last game with Naps, a new name was needed. It was decided that the team would revive an old name that it had once used, Indians. The name was given in honor of a Penobscott Indian, Lous Socalexis.
Tragedy Strikes Cleveland Indians

The Indians experienced the worst tragedy ever in the history of baseball in their game against New York Yankees played in the year 1920. During the fifth innings, Carl Mays, the pitcher for the opposition, hit Ray Chapman, the shortstop for the Indian on the head with a pitch.

Immediately, Chapman got up and all seemed well. However, he collapsed as soon as he reached the first. He was taken to the hospital and died the next day. The team, however, won their first World Championship after winning their sixth and seventh games.

First Loss in Nine Years 

The Cleveland Indians suffered their first loss in nine years in 1924, when they scored a poor 67-86 and finished in the sixth place.

1997 World Series 

1997 saw the Indians struggling throughout the season and winded up with an average 86-75. This year saw the Indians play their second World Series in three years. They were playing against Florida Marlins, who were the underdogs. The opponent team beat the Cleveland Indians in seven stunning games. This was the first time a wild card team won the Series.

The Bug Game 

One of the most memorable games for the Cleveland Indians is, perhaps, “The Bug Game“. In 2007, after having a disappointing season, when the team hoped for a rebound, it faced the New York Yankees at Jacobs Field.

During the game, a swarm of Mayflies came down on the hot night leading to a funny scene. Players from both teams waved their arms and each time they tried to focus on something, a bug would sit on their nose. This game will always be known as the Bug Game.

There are many such events in the history for the Cleveland Indians. Their history is full of difficulties and wins and losses. Despite the fact that they were knocked down by a Wild Card, they still have had a great and eventful history.

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