Cleveland Indians/League Park Timeline.
1891: Cleveland Spiders ace Cy Young wins the home opener at the newly christened League Park, thumping Cincinnati 12-3 before 9,000 fans.
1892: Cleveland won its first ever championship by taking first place in the second half of the season.
1893: Cleveland wins in a forfeit at League Park when Baltimore catcher Wilbert Robinson refused to return the ball to pitcher Kirtley Baker, reasoning it was too dark to continue.
1894 Cy Young goes 26-21 for the Cleveland Spiders.
1895: Cleveland Spiders lead-off hitter and left-fielder Jesse Burkett a.k.a. “The Crab” hits for a scorching .423.
1898: On June 19th, The Cleveland Spiders played Sunday baseball at Euclid Beach Park in Collinwood, 9 miles west of Cleveland in order to elude the league’s Blue Laws (also known as Sunday laws). After the Spiders took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the 8th inning, the Collinwood police arrived on the scene to arrest the entire Cleveland team for participating in Sunday baseball.
1899: The Cleveland Spiders (on September 16) lose to the Washington Senators at Boundary Field in Washington D.C., making it the Spiders 24th consecutive loss, a National League record.
1900: The Grand Rapids Rustlers of the Western League (founded in Michigan in 1894) moved to Cleveland in 1900 and was named the Cleveland Lake Shores, a minor league team.
1902: The Cleveland Bluebirds change their name to the Cleveland Bronchos (or Broncos).
1904: Cleveland Naps led the American League with a.260 batting average and 647 runs scored, while finishing fourth, 7.5 games out of first place.
1905: Bedford, Ohio native Elmer Flick won a batting title with the Cleveland Naps , hitting .308, the lowest average awarded a batting title recipient until Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox hit .301 in 1968, the year of the pitcher.
1907: Detroit Tigers manager Hughie Jennings offered Ty Cobb to the Cleveland Naps in exchange for outfielder Elmer Flick. Cleveland owner Charles Somers considered the troublesome Cobb to be too great of a risk, and declined the trade offer.
1909: The Cleveland Naps acquire their former pitching ace, Cy Young, 42, who returned to Cleveland after having spent the eight previous seasons with the Boston Americans/Red Sox. Young won 19 games for the Naps in 1909.
1910: Before the start of the season, League Park underwent a facelift. The wooden grandstands were replaced by steel and concrete.
1911: League Park hosted the first all-star game–a benefit game for the family of Cleveland pitcher Addie Joss who had died of meningitis a few months earlier
1914: On September 27, Nap Lajoie becomes the first Cleveland Naps (Indians) player to reach the exclusive 3,000 hit mark.
1915: Based on the results from a newspaper contest, the new name for the Cleveland club (with Nap Lajoie no longer with the team) was “Indians,” a name selected (at least partly) in recognition of the legendary Louis Francis Sockalexis, the first Native American to play professional baseball.
1917: 21,000 crammed into Dunn Field (League Park) on Opening Day against the Detroit Tigers, the largest crowd in the city’s history.
1919: Tris Speaker became the Cleveland Indians player/manager on July 19 after manager Leo Fohl resigned over a dispute between himself and Speaker (his assistant) over which pitcher would face Babe Ruth with the bases loaded at League Park. Fohl settled on Fred (Fritz) Coumbe and the Bambino slammed his slow curve over the right-field wall for a majestic grand slam.
1923: The Cleveland Indians right-handed pitcher and native Clevelander George Uhle led the American League in victories (26), complete games (30), and innings pitched (357 2/3) as the Tribe ended the season in third place behind New York and Detroit.
1925: Cleveland Indians player/manger Tris Speaker belted a home run on Opening Day and went on to have a spectacular season, compiling a .389 average, his best season of his 22-year major league career.
1926: The Cleveland Indians the season in second place, three games behind the New York Yankees. The team was stunned to learn player/manager Tris Speaker was resigning as manager when he announced his retirement after being accused by former Detroit Tigers pitcher Dutch Leonard that he and Ty Cobb conspired to fix a game played between the Tigers and Indians in 1919.
1928: In November, Cleveland voters approved a $2.5 million bond issue to support construction of a municipal stadium on the city’s lakefront.
1929: On August 11, Babe Ruth, the “Sultan of Swat’’ belted his 500th home run over the 290 feet and 40 foot high right field fence at League Park. The historic solo shot was hit off of Indians’ pitcher Willis Hudlin in the second frame of a game between Cleveland and the New York Yankees.
1930: Five Cleveland Indians’ regulars batted over .300, including second baseman Johnny Hodapp (.354), sixth in the American League. Poor defense, however, left them in fourth place when the season ended, 21 games behind the league leading Philadelphia Athletics.
1931: A public address system was installed at League Park in 1931, replacing the antiquated megaphones behind home plate.
1932: The Cleveland Indians played their first game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium on July 1. They would play the entire season at Cleveland Municipal in 1933.
1936: Bob Feller mows down 15 St Louis Browns’ hitters with a blistering fastball in his first major league start. “Rapid Robert’’, in fact, struck out the first eight batters he faced in his League Park debut. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/bob-feller-strikes-out-17-at-17
1938: Cleveland Indians center fielder Earl Averill was honored on “Earl Averill Day’’ in Cleveland where he was showered with a number of gifts, including a new Cadillac, the same year his batting average rebounded to .330.
1939: On May 16, the Cleveland Indians played in the first American League night game against the Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park in Philadelphia before 15,000 fans.
1941: On July 16, the hot hitting Joe DiMaggio stretched his consecutive hitting streak to 56 games, going 3-for-4 in front of 15,000 fans at League Park. His streak would end the following night at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
1942: Shortstop Lou Boudreau begins his first season as player/manager of the Cleveland Indians, becoming the youngest manager in baseball at the tender age of 24.
1943: Because World War II drained teams of talent, Cleveland Indians manager Lou Boudreau was forced to use Jim Bagby , one of his best pitchers, as the team’s backup second baseman.
1944: Cleveland Indians player/manager Lou Boudreau won the batting title with a .327 average; batting a blistering .392 in September to nip Bobby Doerr of the Boston Red Sox by two points.
1945: League Park played host to the Negro League World Series in which the Cleveland Buckeyes swept the Homestead Grays ; the same year the Cleveland Rams played their last game at League Park by defeating the Boston Yanks, 20-7.
1946: On June 22, Bill Veeck became principal owner of the Cleveland Indians https://goo.gl/ma1T69 and wanted his new team to play the all games at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. As a result, the Indians final game at League Park was September 21, 1946 in front of a small gathering, 2,772, in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers.
Bill Lucey January 2018