Saturday, July 29, 2006

God hates Cleveland sports Hall of Fames, too

Since God hates Cleveland sports, you can be sure He also hates Cleveland sports Hall of Famers. Tonight before the Indians game with the Seattle Mariners, seven former Indians will join the club's Hall of Fame. But in slasher-movie fashion, only one of them made it through his Cleveland career unscathed.

How cursed is this group of Indians HOFers? Two of them had books written about how cursed they were!

RAY CHAPMAN -- When Carl Mays hit Ray Chapman in the head with a pitch on Aug. 16, 1920, Chapman collapsed while walking back to the dugout. He died 12 hours later. His body was buried in Lakeview Cemetary, right across the street from where Jacobs Field now stands. Mike Sowell's book about the tragedy, "The Pitch That Killed", is often listed among essential baseball books.

ROCKY COLAVITO -- Here's where God fooled us. Everyone knows about the curse of Rocky Colavito thanks to Akron Beacon Journal columnist Terry Pluto's book "The Curse of Rocky Colavito". Rocky, a Cleveland fan favorite, was traded to the Detroit Tigers after the 1959 season, and the Indians didn't have another winning season until The Rock returned in 1965. And they never won more than 87 games until 1995. Curse of Rocky Colavito? Nice trick, God!

ADDIE JOSS -- He pitched in the Aughts, so no one remembers that Addie Joss compiled a 1.89 ERA in nine years with the Indians (or Blues and Naps, as they were then known). No one remembers that he never had a losing season and posted a 160-97 career record. No one remembers that he tossed 45 shutouts and a perfect game. No one remembers that in three of the seasons in which he recorded a shutout he also earned at least one save. No one remembers that Addie Joss's career ERA of 1.82 is second all-time. No one remembers that Addie Joss was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978. No one remembers any of this because just before the 1911 season, at age 31, Addie Joss was stricken down by tubercular meningitis -- two days after his birthday.

AL LOPEZ -- Hooray for Al! He escaped God's wrath!

SAM McDOWELL -- A six-time All-Star, "Sudden" Sam pitched for the Indians from 1961-71, leading the American League in strikeouts five times. He's second behind Bob Feller on the Tribe's strikeout list, but would be first if alcoholism had not shortened his career. One-time teammate Dick Radatz said about "Sudden" Sam, "We thought he was stupid. It turned out he was never sober."

AL ROSEN -- Every year Al Rosen and his supporters hope for his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. And every year they end up waiting for next year. You'll find Al Rosen's name on many a short list of players believed to deserve admission to Cooperstown. But God also reads such lists.

HERB SCORE -- He made the cover of Sports Illustrated as a rookie in 1955 and went 36-19 in his first two seasons. Then in 1957, a Gil McDougald liner smaked Herb in the face, breaking several bones. Herb recovered, but not long after returning in 1958 he hurt his shoulder. He went 19-27 for the rest of his career. Then, after retiring as Indians broadcaster, Herb was injured in a car accident in 1998, then suffered a stroke.

It sure requires a lot to get into a Cleveland sports Hall of Fame. Not only do you have to be better than most of the hundreds of players from the Indians' long history, but you also have to put up with God hating your team.


Jon said...

so I guess I should stop writing my book about cleveland curses.

pluto, and sowell seem to have beat me to it and it seems you could write your own novel with the material you have here.

take care,

Anonymous said...

Lakeview Cemetery is not across from Jacobs Field -- that's Erie Street Cemetery. Lakeview is near Cleveland's Little Italy, just east of University Circle. There is a gate on Euclid Ave. and one on Mayfield Rd. Ray Chapman IS buried at Lakeview.

Anonymous said...

What about all the Browns HOFs? To my knowledge, everyone from Jim Brown to Paul Warfield had or have fulfilling lives without all the voodoo crap you talk about.