All-Time Indians: Jimmy McAleer

Name: James Robert McAleer     Position: Outfield/Manager  
Tribe Time: 1889-1898,1901/1901         DOB: 07/10/1864  
Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG AVG OPS
Best Season (1892) 149 571 92 136 26 7 4 70 63 54 40 .318 .329 .238 .647
Career 1017 3978 620 1006 114 40 11 469 365 329 262 .316 .310 .253 .626
As Manager W L W%                        
Career 54 82 0.397                        

Jimmy McAleer was an Ohio guy, all the way. He was born in Youngstown, died in Youngstown and played all but four games of his 1,021 games for Cleveland baseball teams including the first year of the Cleveland Spiders, the only year of the Cleveland Infants and the first year of the American League Cleveland Blues. 

McAleer made his debut in 1889 with the Spiders at the age of 24 and was immediately an integral part of the Spiders lineup. The team had just moved into the National League and already had a pretty potent pitching staff and was beginning to assemble an offensive core to match it. After just one season with the Spiders, McAleer joined the short lived Infants of the Players League. In 1891, he came back to the Spiders, rejoining players like Ed McKean and George Davis who never left. The Spiders offense was far advanced from a few seasons earlier as the young players matured and McAleer himself had his best season to date. That year he became an elite base stealer, nabbing 51 bases.

The following season was something special for the Spiders. A young starter named Cy Young lead the way with one of the greatest seasons in Cleveland history while McKean and Hall of Famer Buck Ewing lead the offense. For his own effort, McAleer set career highs in RBI (70) and doubles (26) as the Spiders went to their first and only championship series. In the series they were swept 5-0-1 and McAleer went just 4 for 22.

The rest of his career with the Spiders, McAleer kept accumulating and ended up building up some pretty gaudy numbers. Only two players played more games in Cleveland (McKean and Patsy Tebeau) prior to 1901 and McAleer's numbers show that. He ranks second all time ins teals and in the top five in walks, hits and runs. Even his 11 home runs rank in the top ten as do his RBI, doubles and triples.

When the Robison brothers sold the greatest Spiders players to their other team, the St. Louis Perfectos in 1898, McAleer left baseball rather than be part of the travesty, but he came back in 1900 to play for the minor league Cleveland Lake Shores, the American League team that would eventually become the Indians. When the Blues made the jump to the big leagues in 1901, McAleer stayed on and became the team's first manager at the age of 36. He was called a player/manager, but his playing career had all but ended and he made his way into just three games that season.

In 1902 he left Cleveland for the first time, joining the St. Louis Browns as their manager. He spent the next eight seasons there, before ending his career with two seasons with the Washington Senators. While there have been many superior players in the history of Cleveland baseball, McAleer should be remembered by all Indians fans as not only one of the greatest Spiders hitters of all time, but as the first manager of the Indians franchise and the only player to have played for the Spiders, Lake Shores and Blues.

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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