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.
In my last post we talked about how a stadium becomes like part of the family. These stadiums, that we talk about, are usually gone. But today, we are going to look at how progress and moving on, is not always a bad thing when it comes to a ball park.
Jacobs Field – History & Tradition at the Jake
Vince McKee – 2014 The History Press
Moving to the other end of Ohio, we take a look at Jacobs Field. Replacing Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, the Indians ushered in a new era of baseball in 1994 with the opening of the Jake. A new state of the art facility that fans and players could now call home and put to rest the bleak memories of Municipal Stadium. It brought about new hope and promises for the team and fans alike.
Vince McKee takes a very nice look at the events that have happened in the first 20 seasons at the new palace in Cleveland. It brought an era of post season baseball and superstars wanting to call Cleveland home. The author did not only make this a good times book. He also takes a look at what happens when after a sustained period of success how a team has to rebuild. The tear down and rebuilding process is never a pleasant one. It shows how through free agency and trades how one era ends and another one begins in the hopes of getting even better.
You see the sights, sounds and people who have made memories for the fans in the Jake’s first twenty seasons. You see why the fans who call it home love it. You see the civic pride that is derived from having a park this nice to call home. In the end this book really shows how a city desperate to have a respectable stadium of its own has embraced their new baseball palace. Change is not always good in terms of a baseball stadium. In the case of the Cleveland Indians change was needed and created a boost to both the team itself and the fan base, and both were long overdue. Indians fans will enjoy this and probably wonder where the first twenty seasons at the Jake really went.
You can get this book from the nice folks at The History Press