All-Time Indians: Cupid Childs

Name: Clarence Lemuel Childs       Position: Second Base    
Nick Name: Cupid             DOB: 08/08/1867    
Tribe Time: 1891-1898                          
Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB OBP SLG AVG OPS ISOP
Best Season (1896) 132 498 106 177 24 9 1 106 222 100 18 25 .467 .446 .355 .913 .090
Career 1004 3894 941 1239 138 71 17 541 1570 758 165 184 .434 .403 .318 .837 .085

Despite being remembered as one of the worst franchises in baseball history due to their historically futile 1899 season, the Cleveland Spiders actual had a decade of pretty good baseball teams at the end of their existence, including multiple Hall of Famers and the greatest pitcher of all time. Cupid Childs was one of the most solid members of those teams, playing at least 100 games at second base every season he was with the team. As a middle infielder, he was one of the top hitters on the team as well as one of the top five defensive second basemen of the time, despite making 646 career errors (the fifth most of all 2B ever).

Childs was a patient hitter, but also hit for a high average, setting a team record with 120 walks in 1893 while batting .326. He had three other seasons of at least 100 walks as well, giving him four of the top five best single season totals in pre-Indians Cleveland baseball. He also grabbed two of the top five most runs scored totals during his prime between 1893 and 1894. 

In his career, he played in more games than all but three other Cleveland players from before 1900, allowing to accrue some impressive statistical totals. He ranks in the top five in career runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, steals, OBP and average among those players and holds the career record in walks by more than 140.

There are some interesting similarities between these 1890's Spiders and the Indians of a century later. A core group of players stuck together for most of the decade before being dismantled at the end (the 1800's version due to all the good players being sold to St. Louis while the 1900's version was killed by free agency) and took most of the career statistical records in team history. For the Spiders, it was Ed McKean at short, Childs at second, Patsy Tebeau at third and an outfield comprised of Jimmy McAleer and Hall of Famer Jesse Burkett. Just like the modern version, the Spiders made it to the Championship Game and lost (in 1892) as well. The Spiders and Cupid Childs should be remembered for this success, when they went 613-470 (.566 W%), instead of the 20-134 (.130) record in their final year after Childs and the rest of the stars were traded away.

Like most of the 1899 St. Louis Perfectos, Childs didn't stick around after that season, instead moving on to the Chicago Cubs for two season. After 1901, he attempted a comeback with the New York State League and a few different minor league clubs before ultimately hanging up his spikes in 1904. Like many early baseball players, he didn't survive long after baseball, dying in 1912 at the age of 45.

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians.

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