Curse of Rocky Colavito: A Loving Look at a Thirty-Year

Excellent book about how heartbreaking it used to be to be a Cleveland Indians fan I moved to Cleveland well after the curse had been mostly lifted, but I can appreciate this tale of years of stupidity, immaturity, and greed Plus a whole lot of bad luck Pluto s too good a writer to just poke fun at the ridiculous he also shapes all of these characters into real people There are great pictures of players who might be legends, if not for alcohol, prejudice, bad judgment, or injury I esp Excellent book about how heartbreaking it used to be to be a Cleveland Indians fan I moved to Cleveland well after the curse had been mostly lifted, but I can appreciate this tale of years of stupidity, immaturity, and greed Plus a whole lot of bad luck Pluto s too good a writer to just poke fun at the ridiculous he also shapes all of these characters into real people There are great pictures of players who might be legends, if not for alcohol, prejudice, bad judgment, or injury I especially liked reading about Mudcat Grant, Andre Thornton, Super Joe Charboneau and Sudden Sam McDowell Pluto s also too good a writer not to include some cheap laughs and a little sentiment But just a little And, yes, Pluto also thinks Chief Wahoo is stupid The Indians didn t knock the Rock, they just traded him The date was April 17, 1960That was the day my hero worship of Rocky Colavito began He is still my favorite ball player I am not aloneMany are aware of Rocky s limitations But they love him because he is Rocky Colavito Nothan half a dozen players in the history of Cleveland baseball have been accorded the hero worship he enjoysI was hoping this book would haveinformation about The Rock, but I still enjoyed reaThe Indians didn t knock the Rock, they just traded him The date was April 17, 1960That was the day my hero worship of Rocky Colavito began He is still my favorite ball player I am not aloneMany are aware of Rocky s limitations But they love him because he is Rocky Colavito Nothan half a dozen players in the history of Cleveland baseball have been accorded the hero worship he enjoysI was hoping this book would haveinformation about The Rock, but I still enjoyed reading about all of the players from various teams that I remember from the late 50s and then the 60s They were players who played for love of the game, not just the money Many of the top players didn t make 100,000 a year in the early 60s Writing style was light hearted and covered a variety of topics Good book to accompany me into the stretch run of the Indians pennant race Good writing from Mr Pluto He s pretty frank and brutally honest in it I could see this book pissing offthan a few people who s names came up in it unfavorably Go Tribe I really enjoyed Terry Pluto s history of the Cleveland Indians in some wilderness years The Indianswon a pennant in 1954 and and won their next one in 1995 They still haven t won a World Series since 1948, but as I write this they are the American League Central Division winners so who knowsif this is the year for them.Terry Pluto grew up in Cleveland and writes this from both the point of view as a sportswriter and along suffering fan He as was I was in his youth when in 1959 they last seri I really enjoyed Terry Pluto s history of the Cleveland Indians in some wilderness years The Indianswon a pennant in 1954 and and won their next one in 1995 They still haven t won a World Series since 1948, but as I write this they are the American League Central Division winners so who knowsif this is the year for them.Terry Pluto grew up in Cleveland and writes this from both the point of view as a sportswriter and along suffering fan He as was I was in his youth when in 1959 they last seriously contended for theAmerican League pennant That year they had the home run king of the American League in RockyColavito On one magic night Colavito joined that select group of sluggers who have hit four homeruns in a game He had matinee idol looks, batting power, and a cannon for an arm that was onlyrivaled in his time by Roberto Clemente and Carl Furillo, both right fielders like the Rock The Indians finished second that year behind the White Sox.But the Indians had a general manager named Frank Lane who traded players for the hell of it Hegot the nickname Trader or in some mind s Traitor Lane He decided on a blockbuster deal, thehome king for the batting champion So a day or so before the 1960 season started Rocky Colavitowho was popular beyond belief in Cleveland was traded for batting champion Harvey Kuenn of Detroit Lane liked trading so much he traded his manager Joe Gordon to Detroit also for their skipper Jimmy Dykes A one and only deal like that in baseball history.Colavito was the heart of that team and where the Boston Red Sox had the curse of the Bambino, the Indians had the curse of Colavito They spent the next 35 years or so in the second division ofthe American League both before and after it was split into east and west divisions in 1969 Playerscame and went, promising stars blossomed with other teams.There was tragedy too, the one I remember best was the death of Walt Bonds a potential outfieldstar in the middle 60s of leukemia., I remember star catcher Ray Fosse who was never the same after his collision with Pete Rose in an All Star game left him with multiple injuries He was never thesame after that The strangest of all was Joe Charbonneau who had a Joe Hardy like season in 1981 and just lost it all after that One thing after another with the Indians until the Mid 90s.Curiously enough the film Major League was set in Cleveland where we see the futile Indians catchfire and win a pennant Sonovagun they did it in real life in 1995 after the film came out.Baseball fans especially Cleveland Indian fans will laugh and cry with Terry Pluto, I know I did Anybody can have an off decade But three It s enough to make you believe in the supernatural The Cleveland Indians were surely tempting the fates when they traded away Rocky Colavito He was young, strong, rugged, popular, and coming off back to backhome runRBI seasons He was the type of player you just don t trade, especially not for a three years older singles hitter, even if Harvey Kuenn had just won the American League batting title Frank Lane s blunder could be expected to hurt the Tribe s pennant chances for a while But for a generation In the thirteen years before the trade, the Indians finished above twelve times, and were first, second, or third in the league nine times In the thirty three years since the trade, they ve finished above six times, and were in the top three in their league just once never finishing as high as third in their division With the sharp edged wit and keen eye for detail that have made him Cleveland s favorite sportswriter, Terry Pluto looks at the strange goings on of the past thirty plus years, unusual occurrences that could only be the result of some cosmic plan Other teams lose players to injuries the Indians lose them to alcoholism Sam McDowell , a nervous breakdown Tony Horton , and the pro golf tour Ken Harrelson okay, so it was only for a little while Other teams bask in the glow when a young star plays in the All Star Game in his first full season the Indians saw catcher Ray Fosse s career derailed by a homeplate collision with Pete Rose in themidsummer classic Other teams make deals to improve the ballclub the Indians had to trade young Dennis Eckersley because his wife had fallen in love with hisbest friend and teammate, Rick Manning Through long years of trials and tribulations that would have tested Job, the Indians faithful have continued to come to huge, drafty Cleveland Stadium Pluto understands the fierce attachment Tribe fans feel for their team, because he s I rarely give a book any stars at all, but mostly because I tend to start at 2.5 and figure the author has to push me one way or another Seeing that many others give out 4s and 5s with wreckless abandon, I simply choose not to give out stars unless I REALLY like something Well, as a lifelong Cleveland fan, I loved this book I ll likely ship it to my oldest brother sometime soon, because he and I were introduced to baseball via WWWE in the mid 70s, back in Bedford, Ohio If you grew up as an I I rarely give a book any stars at all, but mostly because I tend to start at 2.5 and figure the author has to push me one way or another Seeing that many others give out 4s and 5s with wreckless abandon, I simply choose not to give out stars unless I REALLY like something Well, as a lifelong Cleveland fan, I loved this book I ll likely ship it to my oldest brother sometime soon, because he and I were introduced to baseball via WWWE in the mid 70s, back in Bedford, Ohio If you grew up as an Indians fan, with the resulting L branded on your forehead, this book is for you Any baseball team can have a bad decade All it takes is a few bad trades mixed with a few underperforming players and suddenly your team resides in the cellar of their respective division.But three bad decades That s quite an accomplishment sort of Terry Pluto does indeed take a lovingly look at his hapless Cleveland Indians from 1960 1993 and shows us not just the bad trades and inept managers, but also the really weird stuff that just happens to the Indians Like a star pitcher discoverin Any baseball team can have a bad decade All it takes is a few bad trades mixed with a few underperforming players and suddenly your team resides in the cellar of their respective division.But three bad decades That s quite an accomplishment sort of Terry Pluto does indeed take a lovingly look at his hapless Cleveland Indians from 1960 1993 and shows us not just the bad trades and inept managers, but also the really weird stuff that just happens to the Indians Like a star pitcher discovering while he s an Indian alcohol for the first time and becoming an alcoholic Or, because of a contract mistake, giving a player a 2.5 Million 5 year contract instead of a 75,000 one year contract Or, and this is my favorite, a veteran player in the 80s sobbing at his locker after a loss because he wants to be traded What I really enjoyed about the book, was that Pluto is so obviously a fan of the Indians, not just a sports historian Interesting time to read this book, since some of our Cleveland Indians were fighting their way through slumps Terry Pluto, a great Cleveland sports writer, focuses on that long dark era between the 1960s and early 1990s He ends just before the Tribe s exciting mid 90s resurgence It was cool to get an inside glimpse of baseball ownership and management, their impact on teams, and some Tribe history. Cleveland based sportswriter Terry Pluto does a fantastic job describing how the Indians began and stayed in a long stretch finishing at the bottom or close to the bottom of the AL East standing If you are a Cleveland sports fan or a MLB fanatic you should read this book It is informative, interesting and fun. An insightful, although sometimes dry, loving look at a thirty year slump Pluto has plenty of behind the scenes gossip and enough entertaining stories to tell to keep the book moving along His ultimate conclusion an amazing string of coincidences and bad trades hadto do with the slump than Colavito. Curse of Rocky Colavito: A Loving Look at a Thirty-Year Slump


About the Author: Terry Pluto

Terry Pluto is a sports columnist for the Plain Dealer He has twice been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the nations top sports columnist for medium sized newspapers He is a nine time winner of the Ohio Sports Writer of the Year award and has receivedthan 50 state and local writing awards In 2005 he was inducted into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame He is the author of 23 books, including The Curse of Rocky Colavito selected by the New York Times as one of the five notable sports books of 1989 , and Loose Balls, which was ranked number 13 on Sports Illustrateds list of the top 100 sports books of all time He was called Perhaps the best American writer of sports books, by the Chicago Tribune in 1997 He lives with his wife, Roberta, in Akron, Ohio.


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