Cleveland Sports Legends
- The 20 Most Glorious & Gut Wrenching Moments of All Time
By Bob Dyer
"Cleveland sports fans are 90% scar tissue."
This quote by Chris Rose, Fox Sports Television announcer at the Renaissance Hotel in January 2003, captured in one line what it means to be a home town fan here in Cleveland.
Bob Dyer captures even more in his book, "Cleveland Sports Legends - The 20 Most Glorious & Gut Wrenching Moments of All Time."
Coming up with a list of 20 is not easy and some picks are debatable. Dyer explains why he made some of the choices and why some were left out.
For example, stopping Joe Dimaggio's hitting streak at 56 games would be more of a New York than a Cleveland legend even though it happened here in 1941.
Dyer proudly exclaims that this book is "provincialism at its finest." That's why Max Schmeling's 1931 heavyweight title fight at Cleveland Stadium is not included (he was from Germany!) but Clevelander Johnny Kilbane winning and holding the world featherweight title in 1912 made it. (Note - the Kilbane story was new to me and a fascinating look at the early glory days of Cleveland and it's first world champion.)
Why not a mention of Bob Feller's no hitters? Dyer explains that no hitters outnumber perfect games 20 to 1 so he chose Len Barker's perfect game in 1981.
Half the fun of this book will be debating which events should have made or not made the list.
Some are no brainers: The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, Red Right 88, the Miracle of Richfield, the Browns upset championship in 1964. Each has its own chapter and 31 black and white photos are inserted into the middle of this hardcover book.
The book covers a wide spread of dates from Kilbane's triumph in 1912 through Game 7 of the Tribe's World Series in 1997.
It covers the triumphant (1948, 1964, etc.) as well as the tragic and outright painful (Modell's move, the Drive, etc.)
Yes, we Cleveland sports fans are a unique and tough bunch. This book will bring back memories both good and bad as you relive our sports history where the battle cry often seems to be "Wait till next year!"
Reviewed by Dan Hanson
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