Cross was a bowlegged wonder, cheered by Philadelphia fans in four different major leagues. He was primarily a catcher the first part of his career. When he switched to infield positions, he played them (until the rules were changed) using his catcher’s mitt. With the Phillies on August 5, 1897, he set a still-standing ML record for most assists by a second baseman in a game, with 15 (12 innings).
Cross left Philadelphia in 1898 to become the everyday third baseman for St. Louis (NL). For the first 38 games of 1899, he managed the Cleveland Spiders (NL), who compiled the worst record in ML history – 20-134. He returned to Philadelphia as a member of the Athletics in 1901, the first AL season. From April 23, 1902 until May 8, 1905, he played in 447 consecutive games, all but one at third base. For seven straight seasons (1898-1904) he never batted below .290. Lave’s brother, Amos, was a catcher for Louisville (AA) in 1885-87, and another brother, Frank, played one game for Cleveland (AL) in 1901.