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The Curse of Rocky Colavito: A Loving Look at a Thirty-Year Slump [Paperback]

Our Price $ 12.71  
Retail Value $ 14.95  
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Item Number 371399  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   303
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.12" Width: 5.02" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 13, 2007
Publisher   Gray & Co., Publishers
ISBN  1598510355  
EAN  9781598510355  
UPC  711364510356  

Availability  7 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 12:12.
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Item Description...
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.

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More About Terry Pluto

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Terry Pluto is an award-winning sportswriter who writes primarily for "The Plain Dealer". He was a sportswriter for the "Akron Beacon Journal" from 1985-2007. He has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and twice been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the nation's top sports columnist for medium-sized newspapers. He is an eight-time winner of the Ohio Sports Writer of the Year award and has received more than fifty state and local writing awards. He is the author of twenty-one books, including "The Curse of Rocky Colavito", "Unguarded", and "Loose Balls". He lives in Akron, Ohio.

Terry Pluto currently resides in Akron. Terry Pluto was born in 1955.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Let's Add The Red Sox and Cubs Curses   Aug 2, 2007
I agree 100% with everything Roger Launius said - curses are not curses, unless you have inept managers and even more inept front offices - the Indians had players just as good as anyone else, and their pitching in the late Sixties was among the best in the game - what killed the Indians' chances were inept front office people like Frank Lane and Gabe Paul, people who were far more interested in promoting themselves and bettering themselves than their teams - people like Gabe Paul were just happy to have a team to run.

The corresponding curses of the Red Sox and the Cubs were/are also due to inept management and inept front offices - people who jockey for position to appear in the news or for control of the team, like what happened with the Red Sox with the LeRoux-Sullivan(?) rift - people who were more concerned with their own egos than the good of the team - maybe the Cubs need to quit promoting venerable Wrigley Field, etc. and get more serious about fielding a winning team.

I read this book many years ago - I'm hoping that Pluto wrote this book as an exercise in folly.
Witty, Funny, and Painful for Cleveland Indians Fans  May 31, 2004
The Cleveland Indians are as much a hard luck team as the storied Boston Red Sox or the Chicago Cubs; they just don't get as much media attention. They were one of the best teams in the American League during the latter 1940s and 1950s, winning a World Series in 1948 and a pennant in 1954, but the last pennant race that they really participated in was in 1959. That is, until the 1990s when the team took several division titles and two pennants, 1995 and 1997, but lost in the World Series.

Author Terry Pluto contends that the demise of the Indians on the field can be traced to the April 1960 trade of slugger Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn. It wasn't a particularly good trade; Colavito was a ball-crushing slugger and a fan favorite but Kuenn was a batting champion who specialized in flares to the gap. For more than thirty years thereafter the Indians were pretty awful. The team did poorly on the field, which prompted fans to stay away from the games, which put the team into the red, which prompted the team's ownership to sell or trade its best players and to forego investment in its farm system, which led to even poorer performance on the field, and the continuation of a downward spiral.

There are an enormous number of bumbling incidents in the history of this baseball team, all detailed in excruciating detail by Pluto. Take the example of Rick Manning's contract. Before the beginning of the 1978 season the team sent him a contract offer 25 percent less than he was paid in 1977, despite the restriction in the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement against cutting a player's salary more than 20 percent. It was a mistake, pure and simple, but emblematic of the team's slipshod management. Rather than allow him to become a free agent, the Indians resigned Manning to a five year, $2.5 million contract instead of $75,000 for a one year contract. It was stupid. So was letting Jim Bibby get away in 1978 by failing to pay him a $10,000 merit bonus he had earned during the 1977 season for making 30 starts. This incident became legendary and some of the players even wrote a little ditty about it:
"Pack up all my gear and dough
Here I go
Ho, ho, ho
Bye, bye, Bibby.
No one here understands me,
Look at the late check they tried to hand me...
Bye, bye, Bibby" (p. 196).

Then there was the June 1974 ten-cent beer night in which drunken fans rioted, went after members of both teams playing that night, and forced a forfeit. That was a disaster, but at least no one was seriously injured. What a screwy attempt at a promotion! What did the team's leadership think would happen? It ranks as one of the all time worst episodes in the history of Major League Baseball. Then there was the team's one foray into the free agent market. The Indians signed Wayne Garland to a ten year, $2.3 million contract in 1977 and Garland injured his arm in his first spring raining game. He never recovered. Then there were ridiculous trades: notably a 1965 trade to reacquire Rocky Colavito, but they had to give up both Tommie Agee (who went on to star with the New York Mets during their championship season in 1969) and Tommy John (who won 286 games after departing Cleveland).

The real curse of the Indians has nothing to do with Rocky Colavito. It has everything to do with incompetent management. Terry Pluto indicts Gabe Paul for most of the mismanagement. He served as general manager and/or owner of the Indians for more than 20 of the 30+ years that the Indians were horrendous. His supporting casts of buffoons includes general managers Frank Lane-known to all by his nickname of Trader because he loved to make deals to move players and almost all of them were Indian losses-and Phil Seghi. Perhaps the epitome of ineptitude was when the dignitary scheduled to throw out the first pitch at an Indians game couldn't make it and was replaced by Bozo the clown. The irony is striking.

Terry Pluto ends his book with a review of movement of the Indians from doormats to dominators of the American League. That really began when Dave and Dick Jacobs bought the team and infused it both with new leadership, who knew what they were doing, and the cash necessary to succeed.

"The Curse of Rocky Colavito" is an interesting and informative book. It does not seek any universal truths, but it does entertain and offer some insight. For Indians fans it will be painful, but perhaps cathartic.

A must for N.E. Ohio sports fans  Mar 6, 2004
Terry sums up perfectly what it's like to be a sports fan in Northeast Ohio since 1955. The talent we've had is incredible, the results even more incredible in that not much good has ever come of it. It will bring back tons of bittersweet memories.
Through Thick And Thin (Mostly Thin) With The Indians  Oct 11, 2003
Failure on the baseball field may not be enjoyable for a team's fans. But it can often produce some funny, poignant literature. Terry Pluto's "The Curse of Rocky Colavito" is a great example of the genre. Pluto is well-qualified to offer this tale of the Tribe from the mid-50s to the mid-90s. He grew up as a fan, then covered the team as a professional sportswriter. (Cliff Johnson once told him, "I've been ripped by better writers than you.") Anyone who watched as Herb Score was injured, Rocky Colavito was traded, and the team settle into a long era of mediocrity, will no doubt find a special resonance in these pages. Who can forget the immortal Jack Kralick, Joe Azcue or Chico Salmon? Or in more recent times, Super Joe Charboneau? Pluto has a wonderful gift for finding the humor or pathos in the story of the Tribe in this era. It's a worthwhile read for anyone who enjoys good baseball yarns.--William C. Hall
Another superb book by Terry Pluto  Jun 27, 2003
Terry Pluto wrote two of my favorite sports books, "Loose Balls" and "Our Tribe", this one makes three. Reading this will be great entertainment for the casual or die-hard Indians fan. Those who don't fit those two classifications will probably enjoy it also.

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