Want the quick review of Crazy, With the Papers to Prove It: Stories About the Most Unusual, Eccentric and Outlandish People I've Known in 45 Years As a Sports Journalist
by Dan Coughlin? It's a blast to read. Pick up a copy.
I really liked this book because I am part of all 3 of the audiences that it speaks too. The first group that will enjoy this 272 page book is people who like sports and especially like to sit around with friends and discuss all the nuances of various games.
This book is like sitting down at a bar with a friend who has a ton of interesting inside information sports stories. Better yet, your bar buddy is a true schanachie - he knows how to tell a story and peppers them with jokes and funny side stories.
National sports figures like Muhammad Ali, Rosie Ruiz and even Secretariat are covered with Coughlin's personal experiences but the Cleveland sports fan will especially enjoy the tales of people like Blanton Collier, Doug Dieken, Woody Hayes, Stella Walsh and Albert Belle. There's some classic photos in the middle of the book too.
I am not a horse racing fan but Coughlin's stories of characters like Junior O'Malley and Chester Bright will make you want to take a ride to Thistledown and pick up a racing form.
The second group that should read this book is those sports fans who grew up in Cleveland or have an interest in the city's teams. The insider tales that Coughlin tells about the Charity Game or Beer Night at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium will trigger your own memories. Coughlin's explanation of Art Modell moving the Cleveland Browns almost has me shifting my hatred from money-mismanager Modell to Mayor Mike White. Read that chapter and see if your own opinions aren't changed.
The book is peppered with Cleveland landmarks - mostly bars and hotels - like the Hollenden House, Headliner, Statler and so on. Hey, he's a sports writer, what did you expect?
Even those who don't like sports but are interested in Cleveland and how we got to where we are today (the third group) will like this book. Coughlin tells stories from when Cleveland was the 6th largest city in the US and an entertainment destination for New Yorkers. He talks about the Cleveland Press vs. the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the result of becoming a one-newspaper town.
Remember Gary Dee? Coughlin tells how he replaced him at WHK and how the station never recovered. And for the younger readers who just know Coughlin from Channel 8 sports, he tells how that situation came about.
The book is divided up into short chapters, each like your bar buddy going off on another tangent to regale you with yet another insider story. It's a fun book and maybe if enough of us buy the author a drink next time we run into him at a bar, he'll write volume 2.
Reviewed by Dan Hanson
Don't miss the official ClevelandSeniors.Com profile of Dan Coughlin with lots of fun photos
Our Review of Pass the Nuts - Dan Coughlin's 2nd book