All-Time Indians: Ed McKean

 

Name: Edwin John McKean           Position: Short Stop      
Nick Name: Mack                      
Tribe Time: 1887-1898           DOB: 06/06/1864      
Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB OBP SLG AVG OPS ISOP
Best Season (1894) 130 554 116 198 30 15 8 128 282 49 12 33 .412 .509 .357 .921 .152
Career 1588 6617 1187 2012 265 155 64 1084 2779 616 191 320 .367 .420 .304 .787 .116

Ed McKean was the longest tenured Spider and the only player to stay with the team from their first season through their second to last in 1898 when he and the rest of the good players were sent to St. Louis. In his career he outpaced every other pre-American League Cleveland baseball player in almost every single career stat. In fact, the only positive counting stat he didn't rank number one in was walks, where he ranked second. This all should seem a foregone conclusion when you see that he played in 500 more games than any other player. Even compared to modern players, McKean would rank in the top two batters in games, at bats, runs, hits, triples, RBI and steals.

McKean was one of the more powerful members of the Spiders, hitting six or more home runs seven times including a team record nine in 1898 (he also set single season Spider records for RBI (133) and triples (24) in 1893). Over his career he had a smooth transition, starting as a speed player and changing over to power as he aged. In his first three seasons he stole 76, 52 and then 35 bases all while his batting average, doubles and RBI increased. He had a significant peak from 1893 through 1894 seeing a dramatic increase in run production, average and a jump up in his speed numbers as well, hitting 24 triples in 1893 and stealing 33 bases the next year.

McKean wasn't a perfect player despite his gaudy offensive numbers as he did have one significant failing. He ranks tenth all time in career errors with 892, twice leading the league in this negative stat. However, back before the modern baseball mitt, errors were much more common, making it very hard to compare this stat with modern players. Poorly maintained fields and no stadium lighting also contributed, but this is an important thing to keep in mind when considering what look like great Earned Run Averages by the Blues and Spiders pitchers.

In 1899 McKean was moved to the St. Louis Perfectos along with the rest of the Spiders who had talent (including Cy Young, Nig Cuppy, Patsy Tebeau, Cupid Childs and Jesse Burkett). This was his last season and he only played 67 games in it after averaging almost 130 games per year while with Cleveland. He died less than 20 years later in 1919 at the age of 55.

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.

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