Elmer Cleveland

Third Base
  • Card series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Elmer Ellsworth Cleveland (1862-1913) was a third baseman and shortstop who was a good enough hitter to carve out a very respectable pro career, principally in the minors. He began with Johnstown of the Western Interstate League in 1883 and, as so many of his talent and age, got a chance at the “big leagues” the following season with the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds, the aptly-named club in the upstart Union Association. Elmer actually had a great season for Cincy playing against other mostly minor league talent. He hit .322 in 29 games. His limitations as a hitter caught up to him in his future appearances with major league teams. He next came up with the New York Giants in 1888, getting into nine games before being shipped to Pittsburgh’s Alleghenys where he got into 30 games. His combined average tumbled to .235. Cleveland got one more shot, with the Columbus Solons of the American Association in 1891 where his miserable .171 average signaled the end of any dreams of big league glory. Nevertheless, he stayed in minor league baseball through his twenties, finally calling it quits after playing the 1892 season back in Johnstown with the Pirates, now in the Pennsylvania State League and finishing up the year with Danville in the same circuit. His opponents that year included the Wilkes-Barre Coal Barons, the Reading Actives and the Lebanon Pretzel Eaters.

  • Cleveland must have cut an imposing figure in that era, standing 5’11” and tipping the scales at 190 lbs. However, the sturdy third baseman learned the unfortunate consequences of not hitting one’s weight