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
- Softcover, 272 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 inches
- ISBN: 978-1-59851-068-3
Fascinating and fun . . . If you love Cleveland sports—in spite of the records—you will love this book. The Morning Journal
Dan Coughlin isn't crazy, but for 45 years he covered sports in Cleveland, which means he lived life under a full moon. In this book, the award-winning Plain Dealer and WJW-TV reporter reflects on the most unusual, eccentric and outlandish people and events he covered.
“I never met a wacko I didn't like,” Coughlin says.
Not only did he write about them, they became his lifelong friends, including a degenerate gambler . . . a sportswriter who ripped open beer cans with his teeth . . . an Olympic champion who turned out to be a hermaphrodite . . . a football player who was a compulsive practical joker . . . and dozens of others. Every day was an adventure, but it wasn't all laughs; some of his boxers went to jail, his softball players got shot, his race car drivers were killed. Luckily, Coughlin kept notes!
Any Cleveland sports fan will enjoy meeting these memorable characters.
Illustrations: 28 black-and-white photos
Fascinating and fun . . . If you love Cleveland sportsin spite of the recordsyou will love this book. Here's your chance to relive the infamous Beer Night at Municipal Stadium, learn about the behind-the-booth silence and rivalry between legendary announcing partners Jimmy Dudley and Bob Neal, and get the story behind the story of Art Modell and why he really absconded with the Browns. Morning Journal
The title of the book doesn't lie. Save a few, each story and person is more outlandish than the other. The beauty of [the book] is the quick-hitting tales, plus Coughlin's easy-to-read style, charm and humor. Put it down for a few days, and come back later. Heck, jump around from chapter to chapter to a favorite topic or personality. It's all there for the Cleveland sports fan. News-Herald
Dan Coughlin is one great storyteller. That's not exactly news to folks in the Cleveland area who have enjoyed his work in newspapers and on radio and television since 1964. Indians fans will enjoy re-reading some of Coughlin's stories about Bill Veeck, Rocky Colavito and Frank Lane, Jimmy Dudley and Bob Neal, Joe Charboneau and how Coughlin got punched out by an unruly fan during the Beer Night riot at old Cleveland Stadium Indians Ink
Dan's writing style is clear and engaging. This is a great airplane and bathroom book. You can just open it anywhere and start reading. The Plain Dealer
A who's who of the weird, wacky world of Cleveland sports. Record Publishing
Readers will surely love Coughlin's book that features good characters with many a tale to be told. From the humorous stories revealing former Cleveland Browns tackle Doug Dieken to be an all-time first-rate prankster, to the not so fond memories of the severed friendship between former Browns coaches Paul Brown and Blanton Collier. The book is a true 'walk down memory lane' for the longtime Cleveland sports enthusiast. Sun News
Too much fun to put down! WDOK FM Radio
Table of Contents
- Junior O'Malley: He Died a Thousand Deaths
- Stella Walsh: Stella Was a Fella
- Hubert Hopeful: Agony and Ecstasy
- Joe Trivisonno: Neighborhood Hero
- The Charity Game and Unintended Consequences
- Jack Harbin: Invented the Point System
- Bill Veeck: The Last Dinosaur
- Colavito and Lane and the Trade That Rocked the Franchise
- George Steinbrenner
- Super Joe Charboneau: He Felt No Pain
- Beer Night: Punched in the Jaw
- Fistfighting in the Aisles
- Poetic License: Bye, Bye Baseball
- Albert Belle: Not Easy to Like
- Bob Reid Caught a Bullet
- Dennis Lustig: To Make a Short Story Long
- Hal Lebovitz: “Too Highly Principled”
- The Mysterious E. J. Kissell
- Pete Gaughan: Human Can Opener
- Joe Tait: “He Came With the Franchise”
- Bob Buck: A Tragic End
- Dudley and Neal: Enemies to the End
- Blanton Collier: He Couldn't Hear the Cheers
- Doug Dieken: “Holding, Number 73”
- Art Modell: Debt Was Good
- Woody Hayes: Warrior Without a War
- Cheering in the Press Box
- Barry Clemens: Old School
- Larry Weiser's Season Tickets
- Call Him Lucky
- Muhammad Ali: Boxing's Prettiest Face
- Don Elbaum: He Took It on the Chin
- The Indy 500: Years of Fire and Rain
- Rosie Ruiz Loses in a Photo Finish
- Whispering John Duffy: He Could Pick a Winner
- Chester Bright—Scratched
- The Sport of Kings
- My Move to the Press—A Stroke of Genius
- I Replaced Gary Dee—and WHK Never Recovered
- The Ugliest Guy on Television
About Dan Coughlin
Dan Coughlin has covered Cleveland sports for more than four decades, as a sportswriter for The Plain Dealer (1964–1982) and on WJW-TV 8 (since 1983). His columns also appeared in the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, Medina Gazette, Lake County News-Herald, Painesville Telegraph and other newspapers. He was twice named Ohio sportswriter of the year and was honored with an Emmy award. He traveled with the Browns and Indians, and covered some of the biggest college football games of the 20th century, including five major bowl games. He was at ringside for several world championship fights as well as the Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier series. He covered 17 Indianapolis 500s and several auto races in Europe. He lives in Rocky River, Ohio. More About Dan Coughlin
Question & Answer with the author...
Q: Your first book. Why did you write it?
A: Actually, it's not my first book. Thirty-eight years ago I wrote about a swindle at a racetrack. It was a novel but it was never published.
Q: Why wasn't it published?
A: It was no good.
Q: So why was this one published?
A: Because it's good. It has good characters, the wackiest, weirdest, most eccentric people I had written about over 45 years of sports reporting. For a long time people said I should put them in a book, so I did.
Q: You're sort of a character yourself, aren't you? I see there's a chapter about you running a race against Stella Walsh, an old lady Olympic champion.
A: She made me do it. She badgered me and needled me until I agreed to race her in a hundred-yard dash. She would come in and out of the Plain Dealer sports department all the time promoting her girls track team. In the old days the Plain Dealer was like a New Orleans bar. No locks on the doors. Finally I couldn't take it any more and I raced her. I was, like, 28 years old, barely half her age. She smoked me.
Q: I see you wrote a chapter about trying out for a high school football team. You must have been almost 30. That doesn't seem very smart. You could have been hurt.
A: It could have been worse. [Plain Dealer sports editor] Hal Lebovitz had just read George Plimpton's book about trying out for the Detroit Lions and he wanted me to do the local angle. Browns coach Blanton Collier said I could have been killed, so I did it with a high school team.
I told them that I had just moved in from Chicago and that I was an all-state tackle. All-state tackles always looked older. The night before practice started, I snuffed out my last Pall Mall and finished my last beer and told the bartender at Pat Joyce's, “I hope I don't hurt any of those kids.”
It was the other way around. It didn't take them long to figure me out. It was my all-time hardest assignment.
Q: Of all your characters, do you have a favorite?
A: Junior O'Malley, Chapter 1. Degenerate gambler who had a knack for telling a story, a turn of a phrase and a marvelous memory. He loved the track kitchen in the barn area of the racetrack, where the trainers, jockeys and grooms had breakfast early in the morning. Junior said he loved the smell of the coffee and the horse manure. I loved Junior. He was the godfather for one of my children. I wonder if that invalidated the poor kid's baptism.
Q: You were a newspaperman and TV reporter. Did you enjoy one over the other?
A: Frankly, yes. I was a newspaper reporter at heart. In college at Notre Dame I would read the Chicago papers and their page one stories about crooked aldermen and other corrupt politicians and how the newspaper guys caught them and I said, “I want to do that.”
I was supposed to interview at the St. Louis Post Dispatch, but my interview was cancelled because of the Kennedy assassination. My interview was at two o'clock. The President was shot at 12:30. So I came home and ran into an old reporter that Sunday at church. He told me about an opening in sports at the Plain Dealer. I called and got the job. I was there the better part of 18 years and loved every day of it.
Q: It sounds thrilling. But you left newspapering. Why?
A: That wasn't planned. In 1982 the Cleveland Press made me an offer I couldn't refuse to become their sports columnist. We were having babies. We needed a bigger house. So I took it. Ten weeks later the Press folded. But we got the bigger house.
I was lucky to hook up with Channel 8 and that led to 26 happy years on the air.
Contains References to:
Junior O'Malley, Stella Walsh, Hubert Hopeful, Joe Trivisonno, The Charity Game, Jack Harbin, Bill Veeck, George Steinbrenner, Super Joe Charboneau, Beer Night, Albert Belle, Dennis Lustig, Hal Lebovitz, E. J. Kissell, Pete Gaughan, Joe Tait, Bob Buck, Blanton Collier, Doug Dieken, Art Modell, Woody Hayes, Barry Clemens, Muhammad Ali, Don Elbaum, The Indy 500
Other books by Dan Coughlin:
- Pass the Nuts