Rowdy Patsy Tebeau and the Cleveland Spiders

Fighting to the Bottom of Baseball, 1887–1899


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SKU: 9780786499472 Categories: ,

About the Book

 In an era of rowdy teams, the Cleveland Spiders (1887–1899) were baseball’s rowdiest. Managed by Oliver “Patsy” Tebeau, a quick-tempered infielder, the Spiders seemed to heap abuse of one kind or another on everyone—umpires, opposing teams, even the fans. Their aggression never brought home the pennant, but Cleveland’s battles with the league’s top clubs, including an 1895 Temple Cup victory over the Baltimore Orioles, are now legendary.
Yet the story of the Spiders amounts to more than a 12 year free-for-all. There were top-flight players like Ed McKean, George Davis, Jesse Burkett, and Cy Young. There was the racially progressive signing of Holy Cross star Louis Sockalexis, the first American Indian in the major leagues. And then there was the team’s final season, 1899, when a club ravaged by syndicalism set the standard for baseball futility.

About the Author(s)

David L. Fleitz is a web developer and database analyst who lives in Troy, Michigan. A longtime SABR member, he has written nine other books on baseball history.

Bibliographic Details

David L. Fleitz
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 32 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9947-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2766-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

Introduction 1

 1. Frank Robison and Cleveland Baseball 5

 2. Association Blues 9

 3. The Spiders Are Born 20

 4. The Players League 32

 5. Patsy Takes Over 44

 6. Half a Pennant 56

 7. The Battling Spiders 72

 8. Team Turmoil 86

 9. The Temple Cup 99

10. A Riotous Season 114

11. The Cleveland Indians 134

12. The End of an Era 150

13. The Disaster of 1899 163

14. The Bitter End 181

Epilogue 190

Chapter Notes 205

Bibliography 211

Index 213

Book Reviews & Awards

“Baseball buffs will be crawling all over this account of the star-crossed Patsy Tebeau and the storied Cleveland Spiders, who worked their way down from excellence to the worst record in major league history. As usual, David Fleitz packs his story with compelling detail gleaned through prodigious research.”—Edward Achorn, author of Fifty-Nine in ’84 and The Summer of Beer and Whiskey; “David Fleitz has once again combined his dogged research and his talent for telling a story to bring Patsy Tebeau and his Cleveland Spiders into a modern light. Unlike the names of Cobb and McGraw, which have endured, the name of the highly intense and successful Tebeau has become mostly obscure to all but devoted baseball historians. Today’s baseball fan will be rewarded here with historical accuracy and an enjoyable read.”—Peter Mancuso, chair, Nineteenth Century Research Committee, Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).