At the races

3 More Fun Facts About the Cleveland Indians

The Indians ball club first played in 1894 in Grand Rapids, Michigan as the Grand Rapids Rustlers. They moved to to Cleveland in 1900 and changed their name to the Cleveland Lake Shores. This name didn’t go over big with some local fans. One fan said, “Sure, Lake Shores. Why not? Very threatening. Ooh, I’m shaking in my boots. If we are going geographically-wise, why not call them the creek beds, or the river banks, yeah, the Cleveland Cuyahoga River River Banks. No? Of course not.”

Some newspapers called the Grand Rapids Rustlers the Rippers. One of their opponents was the Kansas City Blues, known by some papers as the Kansas City Cowboys. Did newspapers in the late 1800s and early 1900s make up names for teams willy nilly? A reporter from that era said, “Heck yeah, we tried to make up as crazy names as possible. Before they were called the Yankees, I always called them the Overpaids, and I called Boston the Beans, and referred to Philadelphia’s team as the Waiting Room before Retirements.”

The Indians were one of the first charter franchises of the American League in 1901. The other teams were the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Stockings, Detroit Tigers, Washington Senators, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Athletics and the Boston Americans. A league official said they looked at and rejected a bid from Akron, Ohio. A league official told the newspapers, “We had to reject Akron because they wanted to put bowling lanes for the fans at each level of their stadium. They guaranteed a sellout every home game, but the noise of the balls and the pins would have been too distracting.”


About Joe Ditzel

Joe Ditzel is a keynote speaker, humor writer, and really bad golfer. You can reach him via email at jditzel@joeditzel.com as well as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.