Vintage Cavs

A Warm Look Back at the Cavaliers of the Cleveland Arena and Richfield Coliseum Years

Terry Pluto


The Cleveland Arena and Richfield Coliseum are long gone, but they and the Cavaliers teams from 1970 to the 1990s come alive in this personal history by a sportswriter who was there as a young fan and later an NBA beat writer. From expansion team to the brink of greatness with Austin Carr, World B. Free, “Hot Rod” Williams, Mark Price, and others.

Softcover / 214 pages / 5.5 x 8.5 in. / 38 photos

ISBN: 9781598511086


The Arena and the Coliseum are long gone . . . but they left behind some great Cavs stories!

The Cleveland Arena is long gone. It was dark and decrepit, yet it generated some special memories—as the birthplace of the Cavaliers.

The Richfield Coliseum, once a palace on the prairie, is now just a field of grass. Yet fans can vividly recall how it shook to a deafening roar during so many thrilling moments—from the “Miracle” to “the Shot.”

The Cavs teams that played there from 1970 to the 1990s weren’t great—although some were very, very good. Yet they featured players and coaches still cherished by fans for their talent, character or style . . .

Austin Carr, the team’s first star—“Mr. Cavalier.” World B. Free, who arrived via helicopter to save a boring, failing franchise with his sense of humor and 3-point shot. Hot Rod Williams overcame scandal to play nine seasons and used his huge heart to change lives. Mark Price, one of the best outside shooters in NBA history, inspired postgame crowds with his message of faith. Bill Fitch planned the Cavs’ first draft using bubblegum cards. Lenny Wilkens coached his teams to the brink of greatness, only to run into Michael Jordan again and again.

The Cleveland Cavaliers of that era come to life in this book. It’s a warm, personal history by a veteran sportswriter who was there—first as a young fan and later as an NBA beat reporter.

If you were there, too, these stories will take you back to vintage Cavs moments—and also share details you haven’t heard before. If you weren’t, this is an entertaining introduction to a bygone era.

Additional information

Weight0.625 lbs
Dimensions8.5 × 5.5 × 0.48 in

Softcover, Softcover (Autographed)

Table of Contents

About This Book


An Old Program

Godfather of the Cavs

Why Are They Called the Cavaliers?

Bill Fitch Joins the Team

Basketball Cards and Bubblegum

Small Town Guy with a Big League Voice

The Awful, Wonderful, Frightful First Year

Fans Write In: The Cleveland Arena and the Early Years

He Could Have Been a Hall of Famer

A Miracle? Yes, It Was!

Ted Stepien: It Wasn’t Funny!

The Man Who Saved the Cavaliers

Why the Cavs Should Retire World B. Free’s Number

Fans Write In: The Richfield Coliseum

The Wildest, Weirdest Cavs Draft

A Hot Rod With a Huge Heart

Gordon and Joe and Seeing the Game

The Mouse that Roared

Fans Write In: Players

A Game from 1988

The Agent from Cleveland

The Big “What If?”

Fans Write In: Favorite Memories

Wayne Embry, Lenny Wilkens and Greatness

My Favorite Era