Samples

Smoky, Sweaty, Rowdy, and Loud: Tales of Cleveland's Legendary Rock & Roll Landmarks, a book by Mike Olszewski from Gray & Company, Publishers – front cover

Swingos’ Celebrity Hotel—Rock & Roll Crash Pad in Cleveland

Hotels and rock stars have a long, twisted history. Just about every city has horror stories about rock stars, but everyone loved coming to Cleveland because of Swingos’ Celebrity Hotel. Artists came to town knowing the hotel had a top-rated restaurant, a superior wine list, exceptional security, and an owner who was very lenient as long as you paid your bills.

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World B. Free, wearing Cavs uniform, raises his left arm and smiles

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

The Cavaliers were the worst team in the NBA with a 3-19 record on Dec. 15, 1982. Even worse, they were probably the most boring team to watch. Then came World B. Free. “I remember when I got to the Cleveland airport right after the trade,” Free told me in 1986. “The people looked tired. I said I was going to pump some life into this place. ‘What Cleveland needed was World B. shakin’, bakin’, stoppin’ and poppin’.”

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Book cover image of "Mike Hargrove and the Cleveland Indians: A Baseball Life" by Jim Ingraham

Perryton, Texas — Mike Hargrove Gets His Start

Perryton is about as far away from pro sports as a town in Texas can be. The only high school had an enrollment of 450 students. None of them, including a future American League Rookie of the Year, played baseball for the school, because the school had no baseball team. “They had football and basketball in the fall and winter, and in the spring, they had track and golf,” Hargrove said. “I was on the golf team because I hated to run.”

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At top, a photo of the Coliseum at Richfield, in winter. At bottom, a photo of a field of tall grass (where the Coliseum once stood)

Ghosts … (The Coliseum and the Arena)

Someone once said, “You know you’ve reached a certain age when you remember a sports venue being built, and then see the same building torn down.” I think of that when driving down Route 303 in Richfield, at the exit off Interstate 271. Now, there is nothing but a field bumping up against some nearby farms and barns. But once upon a time, a great arena rose up among the trees and squirrels and deer and prairie grass …

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The Browns Blues: Two Decades of Utter Frustration: Why Everything Kept Going Wrong for the Cleveland Browns, a book by Terry Pluto from Gray & Company, Publishers – front cover

Ten Years Was Enough for Randy Lerner

I can’t confirm this, but I often heard Randy Lerner promised his mother he’d keep the Browns for 10 years. Randy took over as owner when Al Lerner (his father) died on October 23, 2002. The sale of the Browns to Jimmy Haslam was announced on August 2, 2012. Pretty close to 10 years. The sale closed with what former Browns CEO Joe Banner called “unprecedented speed . . .”

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Series of photos showing Gene Ditsler shooting free throws

Gene Ditsler’s Obsession

It began as a harmless hobby which ultimately controlled Gene Ditsler’s life and the lives of his wife and three children. Even now, a good 70 years later, he remembers the moment when his heart was broken and his obsessive compulsive nature surfaced …

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