Catching up with 45 Good Old Guys from the Bad Old Days of the Cleveland Indians
Younger fans of the Cleveland Indians, those that came of age with the Jacobs Fields successes in the 1990's, will not appreciate this book as much as those of us who suffered with some very bad and a few mediocre teams over the years.
Even younger Cleveland Indians fans probably know about the great 1948 champs, the 1954 pennant and maybe the 1921 World Series. They have at least heard of the great Indians Hall of Famers like Bob Feller, Lou Boudreau, Larry Doby, Tris Speaker, Early Winn, Bob Lemon , Nap Lajoie, Cy Young and others.
But you had to live through the long period of bad times that lasted through most of the 1960's all the way till the early and mid-1990's to really appreciate what it means to be a Cleveland Indians fan.
Author Russell Schneider is the perfect person to write about the Tribe. He covered the Indians as a sportswriter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He's also written several books about the Indians. You could always tell from a Russ Schneider baseball piece that he was first and foremost a baseball fan. It was obvious that he loved the game.
That also comes across in this book, a collection of 45 updates of some memorable and some long-forgotten men who played for the Cleveland Indians.
Depending on your age, some of the players will be immediately recognizable and you will jump to their section: Max Alvis - the 2nd best 3rd baseman of his era (after Brooks Robinson), Charlie Spikes - the Bogalusa Bomber, Duane Kuiper - who hit one and only one home run in his career, Gomer Hodge who after going 4 for 4 on Opening Day proclaimed that he was hitting 4.00 and Super Joe Charboneau - the legendary rookie of the year.
The 4 or 5 page updates of the above and other memorable Indians are fun to read but the real treat is having your memory jogged by seeing names you haven't heard in decades - guys like Fred Whitfield, Ron Hassey, Joe Azcue, Duke Sims, Jack Brohammer, Ken Suarez, Jack Heideman and Frank Duffy.
Each update includes a photo and some career stats including their best season with the Tribe. Schneider asks about the current steroid issues, the amount of money players now make and how the game has changed.
If you endured those long decades in between World Series for the Indians, here's a chance to relive some memories.
Reviewed by Dan Hanson
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