Every baseball fan has their team. Some people have more than one team, or an entire division, or league, but all fans pull for somebody. Some of those fans have it easier than others. Obviously Yankees fans with 27 World Series Championships to their credit, have an easier time pulling for their team then say Houston Astros fans. They have one World Series appearance in the last 50 plus years, so their dedication has a higher price. These are obviously two ends of the spectrum, but for other teams there have been prolonged slumps in that team’s history that has been difficult for fans to endure. The Cleveland Indians was one of those teams. From the mid 1950’s through the mid 90’s, fans endured a slump that they felt would never end. Most thought they were cursed when the Tribe made a bad trade and sent Rocky Colavito packing to Detroit, which brings me to today’s book.
Terry Pluto, writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a homer in every sense of the word. He has had a life-long love affair with the Cleveland Indians and now writes about them on a daily basis. He has written several books about the Indians and this one is a real winner as far as I am concerned. Originally released in 1994 and updated in 2007, Pluto has chronicled the Indians stumble through the American League.
Starting in the 50’s with the Colavito trade the Indians operated on a shoestring budget, barely staying afloat in Cleveland and playing at cavernous Municipal Stadium. They put teams on the field that would make any beer leaguer proud. For over three decades they were the laughing-stock of the American League, always hoping for that promise of next year. Failed trades that left the Indians on the short end of the deal, prospects that never panned out, free agents signings that imploded, ownership changes every few years and Gabe Paul doing what he thought best all added up to miserable times to be a Indians fan. The Indians also were no strangers to money woes and poor attendance. All of these factors kept the Indians in the basement of the American League bailing out water as fast as they could. It is no wonder the fans of Cleveland were so excited in the 90’s when the Indians finally found success.
This is a fun book for all fans to read. If you are an Indians fan these are all probably very familiar stories for you. If you’re a fan of any other team, you will enjoy it because hey…….you are not an Indians fan. Check it out because you will gain new respect for the history of your own team and they may not be as bad as you thought they were.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Gray & Co.