September 26, 1896 marked the season finale for the Cleveland Spiders, which they played against the Louisville Colonels at Eclipse Park. Cleveland outfielder Jesse Burkett collected three hits as the Spiders won, 4-3. Burkett thus finished the season with a .410 batting average, making him the first player to hit .400 in consecutive years, having batted .405 the previous season.
The first ‘Ladies’ Day’ in major league history took place on June 16, 1893 when the New York Gothams (later known as the Giants) offered free admission to all women, both escorted and un-escorted, at the Polo Grounds. The lucky ladies had the opportunity to watch their Gothams defeat the Cleveland Spiders, 5-2.
On June 7, 1892, the Spiders’ Jack Doyle became the first player to collect a pinch hit with a single, coming off the bench to bat for Cleveland hurler George Davies. The Spiders lost 2-1 that day to the Grooms at Brooklyn’s Eastern Park. Doyle, a utility player, would finish his 17-year career going 3-for-5 (.600) as a pinch-hitter.
On March 9, 1897, the Cleveland Spiders signed Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot Indian and former Holy Cross star. Nicknamed “Deerfoot of the Diamond,” Sockalexis was a huge hit with the team’s fans, due to his performance and skill. His career with Cleveland only lasted three seasons, however, as Sockalexis battled alcoholism. Some speculate that when the Cleveland team changed its name to the Indians in 1915, it was due in part to Sockalexis’s popularity.
On 6 August 1890, pitching legend Cy Young made his Major League debut at Chicago’s West Side Park at the age of twenty-three. He is credited with the win as the Cleveland Spiders defeated the Colts 8-1. Young dominated, allowing the Colts only three hits. He finished his rookie season with a 9-7 record, and would go on to win 511 games in his career.