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Any team can have an off-decade. But three in a row? Only in Cleveland.
The Indians tempted fate when they traded away Rocky Colavito in 1960. Young, strong, popular, and coming off back-to-back 40 home run/100 RBI seasons, he was the type of player you just don't trade.
Then, for the next thirty-three years, the Indians slumped miserably, finishing above .500 just six times, never higher than third in their division.
Only pride and masochism brought fans back to drafty old Cleveland Stadium during those awful seasons, when even the most optimistic knew their hopes would be dashed by June.
Veteran sportswriter Terry Pluto takes a witty look at the endless parade of strange events that afflicted the Tribe. Other teams lose players to injuries; the Indians lost them to alcoholism (Sam McDowell), a nervous breakdown (Tony Horton), and the pro golf tour (Ken Harrelson). They even had to trade young Dennis Eckersley (a future Hall-of-Famer) because his wife fell in love with his best friend and teammate.
Pluto profiles the men who made the Indians what they were, for better or worse, including Gabe Paul, the underfunded and overmatched general manager; Herb Score, the much-loved master of malaprops in the broadcast booth; Andre Thornton, who weathered personal tragedies and stood as one of the few hitting stalwarts on some terrible teams; Super Joe Charboneau, who blazed across the American League as a rookie but flamed out the following season; and Hank Peters, John Hart, and Mike Hargrove, who eventually pointed the team in the right direction.
Long-suffering Indians fans survived the curse and finally got an exciting, star-studded, winning team in the second half of the 1990s. But The Curse of Rocky Colavito still stands as a classic look back at those years of futility and frustration that made the rare taste of success so much sweeter.
Buy The Curse of Rocky Colavito: A Loving Look at a Thirty-Year Slump by Terry Pluto from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781598510355 & 1598510355 upc: 711364510356
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