Every town that has sports fans has that one character. One person that spends their whole career in that town as a journalist, announcer or sometimes both. Fans relate to those types of people and after a certain amount of time consider them part of the family. A strong sports town like Cleveland has one of those types of people. Dan Coughlin has spent his life weaving himself into part of the fabric of Cleveland sports. Now he has a new book out re-living some of his greatest memories.
Coughlin, as mentioned above has spent his entire career and life for that matter in the Cleveland area. He has endeared himself to fans and become a part of the Ohio sports family. During his career he has covered more than just baseball as does this book, but I figured that he has also been such a mainstay in Cleveland baseball that his book should be acknowledged.
This is the third in Coughlin’s series of books where he looks back on the highlights of a career spent in Cleveland. He re-lives some of the great stories and characters that he crossed paths with through the decades. If you are from Cleveland or have spent any time in the area taking in the sports scene, you will really enjoy these stories.
Now for those of us who have never lived in Cleveland or witnessed Dan Coughlin’s work first hand, this book still has some appeal. You may not identify with Coughlin on as strong a level as Cleveland fans but you will still be able to enjoy the history contained in these stories. It gives outsiders an inside pass to what Cleveland sports has to offer behind the scenes. It also offers a history lesson about Cleveland sports that may be difficult to obtain on any other level except for a lifer at the heart of the action.
As I mentioned above, it does cover sports other than baseball. On the other hand it does offer a fun look at Cleveland sports and allows the reader to engage in the sports history of a new city. Readers should check it out, because there is is some funny stories contained in here as well as some detailed history.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Gray & Co Publishers
Since I have been submerged in my book sorting project lately I have not had much time to post anything on here. I figured now would be a good time to show a little something for everyone. I am learning first-hand just how many variances are out there in the baseball book world. If you are even a casual fan that enjoys reading, you would be hard pressed not to find something that would appeal to you. Sometimes all you have to do is dig around and find your niche. These books tonight may not all be new but they were new to me at one time, if you will. So I felt they would be worthwhile to share, but fair warning this is a fairly long post. So without further delay…………
Willie Keeler of “hit them where they ain’t” fame was one of the great players of his time. There were many superstars of that era, but Keeler was always able to hold his own during his career. Not as much of a household name in this day and age, but he easily was still good enough to need his own book. Lyle Spatz has done a nice job of keeping this one interesting for the reader as well making sure you don’t get bogged down in details. It is a very comprehensive book without being burdened by statistics and in the end feeling cumbersome. You get a nice feel for a player from a long ago ended era. Willie Keeler from Roman & Littlefield Publishers
Terry Pluto has a love affair with the Cleveland Indians and it is always very evident in his writing. That is not a bad thing, but it is good to know beforehand that you will always be getting the “Homers” view of the team. Pluto and Hamilton walk you through the first few years of Jacobs Field in a time when the town was desperate for a winner. It really is a good feeling book that Indians fans will be glad they get to revisit. Glory Days in Tribe Town-Gray & Co. Publishers
I think with the advent of better government relations with Cuba, this will be the first of many baseball books on this topic. It takes an in-depth look at baseball in a time before Cuba was off-limits. How Cubans, Americans and other nationalities all came together and played within the league. It almost is what the current model of MLB is today. Numerous nations becoming one on the fields for a great pennant race. It is a very good look of an era long ago and if you have any interest in Cuban baseball history, this is the book for you. Havana Hardball-University Press of Florida
A true baseball pioneer in every sense of the word. Alexander Joy Cartwright is considered the father of the modern game and honestly someone I did not know all that much about. This book takes a serious look at his life and works and puts it in a modern-day perspective. The reader can really relate to the subject and gets a feel for what he envisioned. With all the controversy that surrounds the invention of baseball, this one will help clarify some things for some fans. Live All You Can-Columbia University Press
More entertainment than baseball, but we will include it here. It is a behind the scenes look at a baseball movie that became a cult classic. Maybe for some folks it’s the best of both worlds, baseball and movies? If you really like baseball movies this would be a great sneak peek for you to see what really went on during filming. The Making of Major League-Gray & Co. Publishers
I will be the first to admit that I am never usually drawn to fiction. But I did find this one interesting because of this seasons circumstances with the Chicago Cubs. They are the topic of this book and its all about the Cubs and Red Sox making it to the World Series. It’s a fun book that shows what great lengths die-hard fans are willing to go to get a winner. This book hits on a lot of human nature points and is pretty accurate in the human psyche analysis. The Cubs almost were there this year, but this book might help some of those fans make it through to he promise of next year. Killing the Curse-Publisher Page
Another team with high-hopes this postseason. This is the type of book that helps Bucs fans make it through the long, hard Pennsylvania winter as well. It walks the reader through team history and re-lives the highs and lows of seasons past. You may ask why do we want to remember the lows? Because that is what makes it so great when your team finally accomplishes something. Both players and fans have earned that win and get to celebrate it together. Pirates fans should definitely check this one out. Pirates Reader-University of Pittsburgh Press
This one has a ton of information for the reader in how the government treats sports leagues. At time it can be almost overwhelming. It does a nice job of giving the background and how its effect on future dealings with the leagues, but it is still a lot to comprehend. This is by far not light reading and at times seems text bookish, but if you can find the will to persevere and get through it, you will be much the wiser in doing so. Not a book for the faint of heart but still worth the effort. The Big Leagues Go to Washington-University of Illinois Press
This is a book of short stories that shows the reader how baseball really does take hold of us. It almost is like it becomes part of our souls and infiltrates multiple parts of our lives. Whether you love just one player, one team or the entire game itself, you will read this and be able to relate to almost all of these stories. This one has something for all fans regardless of age and makes you realize just how important the game really is to us. Dreaming .400-Summer Game Books
Another player autobiography by a Cleveland Indians favorite. Vizquel comes off as a likeable guy in this one. Nothing of great earth shattering substance included here, but an enjoyable read nonetheless. If you are not real familiar with Omar Vizquel this gives some nice insight to him beyond just a player. Cleveland Indians fans who were desperate for a winner before Omar, will surely enjoy this one.
Its obvious the Yankees have the greatest history in baseball. This book takes the opportunity to show fans of other teams one of those aspects that is so great. Freedman takes a look at some of the most iconic home runs in Yankee history and helps fans relive those great moments. From Babe Ruth to Reggie Jackson and Bucky Dent, this one covers them all.
I wasn’t sure where to file this one. The author takes a look at the accepted truths within the history of the game and attempts to refute them. It basically makes you question everything we as a society accept about our game. It makes you wonder how much of it is true and will appeal to the conspiracy theorists in the bunch. You make the call on this one because I am still not sure.
This is another one that is hard to explain. The author shows the reader how sports effect every day life at all levels. It is one mans opinion of these things and how they effect his own life. He tells a bunch of his own stories in this book some of which he is the main character and some where he is not. It was a little hard for me to grab hold of this one and not put it down, it definitely wasn’t what I expected, but you be the judge on it.I wore Babe Ruth’s Hat-University of Illinois Press
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.
Cleveland fans have no illusions about their team history. The Indians were the doormat of the American League for decades. Flashes of greatness came and went, with nothing substantial to show for it. Happily, the fortunes changed in the decade of the 90’s. With the opening of a new stadium and new ownership breathing new life into the tired franchise, the Indians fans time had finally come. Well as with most things in life, all good things come to an end, and the Indians were in the crapper once again. Today’s book shows how the Indians took on a plan to rebuild again in hopes of finding new success on the field.
Terry Pluto loves his Indians. Being a home-grown Cleveland guy, he has taken on the Indians a few different times in his books and always produced quality, insightful results. Pluto’s newest topic is the rebuilding of the Indians after their success of the late 90’s and eventual decline due to the normal baseball shift of power. This book discusses ownership, players, management, the stadium and everything in between that has contributed to the downfall of the Cleveland Indians.
You can always tell through his writings that Terry Pluto is a homegrown Cleveland guy. That being said, it does not seem to have a negative effect on his work. You can see an intense passion towards the city and the team, as well as his personal caring about them. What it doesn’t do is incorporate any sort of bias about the team. He is quite honest in his assessments of the moves the Tribe has made and the final results of such moves. He is honest in his assessments of the players and management and the future plans of the team.
The most interesting aspect of this entire book was his look at ownership change and the newness of Jacobs field wearing off. It is interesting to see how these two things have such a great effect on the team you see on the field. Change in ownership can usher in a change of culture that affects the entire team. It effects who makes what decisions and that can wreck all sorts of havoc for a team. Also when a stadium loses its newness, naturally attendance will drop if the product on the field is not all that good and that is another challenge a team then has to overcome. These are all things every team will face at one point or another, and it’s actually something my Phillies are going through currently. This book is a little dated and the Indians are really now on the second round of rebuilding but the same basic principles and problems are still applicable. At least this time around they seem to be heading in the right direction.
This is a very good book and will easily appeal to Indians fans. Some general baseball fans may have a little trouble getting into it, but should really give it a chance, because eventually your own team will be facing the same problems and doing the exact same thing.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Gray & Company Publishers
Sometimes families can be difficult. Sometimes difficult is an understatement! Personality conflicts and generation gaps are just a few of the problems that arise within a family dynamic. There are things we encounter in life that overcome those family quarrels and create a bond strong enough to endure the dysfunction. Sometimes these bonds between family members are so strong and also subtle enough that the people involved don’t even realize they were created at the time. Today’s book shows how it happens when you are not even paying attention.
By:Terry Pluto 1999-Gray & Co Publishers
I really should go into most books with no expectations, because as we have seen in my previous posts a lot of these books are not what I expected. This book is no exception. I assumed that this was going to be a book about the high and low points of the Cleveland Indians. Happily I can say it was so much more. It was the authors personal look back at what the Indians meant to him and his own Dad.
Terry Pluto, who is a life-long Cleveland Indians fan, highlights both the highs and lows of the Tribe history. Honestly they were the same highs and lows that everyone associates with the Indians, so you were not getting much new information there. What made the book more interesting for me was the author discusses how he and his Father had a relationship formed around the Indians.
Pluto gives you a glimpse into his own world and personal memories of growing up of the Tribe. Special times with his Dad also involving the Tribe are highlighted throughout the book. The reflections on his childhood and adult life involving his father seem to have been precipitated by a serious stroke his Father had several years before his death. It shows that even though communication channels had been broken, the Indians still afforded an avenue to connect. The book also allowed the author to reflect on his relationship as a whole with his Father and the short-comings on both their parts throughout their lives.
As stated above the book was much more than expected and in the end made me reflect on my own relationship with my Father. It made me look back at the relationship I have had through the years with my own Dad. I had realized that through the years whatever point in life we were at individually, the Phillies always brought us back to the same point, and be able to communicate. From taking me to my first game, the 1977 NLCS at Veterans Stadium to this very day, it has been the strongest common ground. Baseball as a whole has always been our center to build from. Now 30 plus years later I appreciate all the times playing catch after a hard days work. I now realize that he probably didn’t feel like doing it, but did because he loved me. Fathers sometimes have a funny way of showing their kids they love them, but in the end you know they do.
Baseball fans should really enjoy this book. It really helps you remember what make the game of baseball so special to so many people. Even if you hate the Indians you should still probably read this one.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Gray&Co Publishers