06 18, 2019

Celebrate Baseball in Cleveland

By |2019-06-18T06:00:30-04:00June 18, 2019|

Celebrate the history of baseball in Cleveland during a special panel discussion on Monday, July 1, at Mentor Public Library's Main Branch.

Celebrate the history of baseball in Cleveland during a special panel discussion on Monday, July 1, at Mentor Public Library’s Main Branch.

We’re celebrating the All-Star Game in Cleveland by hosting a trio of baseball historians, authors and fans for a special panel discussion.

Scott Longert, Ken Krsolovic and Bryan Fritz will talk about the history of the Indians and baseball in Cleveland at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 1, at our Main Branch.

Longert has written a quartet of books about Indians’ history: Addie Joss: King of the Pitchers; The Best They Could Be about the World Series-winning 1920 team; Bad Boys: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball in the Prewar Years; and No Money, No Beer, No Pennants: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball in the Great Depression.

Meanwhile, Krsolovic and Fritz wrote League Park: Historic Home of Cleveland Baseball, 1891-1946, which tells the story of the Indians’ original home park.

The program is free to attend and open to all. Come share your memories and celebrate one of America’s great baseball cities. Afterward, the authors will have their books available for sale and signing.

Due to space limitations, we do ask that you register for the program beforehand. You can sign up by calling us at (440) 255-8811 ext. 247.

03 25, 2019

Revisit the bad old days of the 1937-1942 Indians with Scott Longert

By |2019-03-25T06:00:32-04:00March 25, 2019|

BobFellerSigAuthor, historian and Cleveland Indians fan Scott Longert is guiding us through the history of his beloved Tribe.

He’s written books about:

Now, he’ll discuss the Cleveland Indians from 1937 through the beginning of World War II during a special program at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 8, at our main Branch.

His newest book — Bad Boys, Bad Times — revisits the talented but ultimately underperforming teams of the pre-World War II era. But just because they didn’t win a championship doesn’t mean that they lacked for stories.

Longert has spent years researching the history of the Cleveland Indians, and he’ll share some of his favorite Tribe stories during this program. Everyone is welcome to attend. We only ask that you register beforehand. You can sign up online or call us at (440) 255-8811 ext. 247.

Afterward, copies of Bad Boys, Bad Times will be available for sale.

04 12, 2018

Bad Boys & Bad Times: Cleveland Indians from 1937-1942

By |2018-04-12T06:00:33-04:00April 12, 2018|

BobFellerSigCleveland Indians historian Scott Longert visited us earlier this week to talk about the Tribe from 1937 to 1942.

We can’t share every glorious anecdote. After all, that’s what his next book is for. But we can give you five fun facts from Longert’s Tribe talk.

1. The snake-bit 1937 Cleveland Indians

The 1937 Indians had a murderer’s row for a starting rotation: all-star Johnny Allen; Mel Harder who won more than 200 games in his career; and a promising young guy named Bob Feller. You may have heard of him.

But that rotation was never quite as good on the field as it was on paper, mostly due to injuries.

Feller managed to dislocated his ulna while throwing a curveball during his first start of the season. It hindered him for two full months.

Meanwhile, Allen suffered from appendicitis and missed several starts. Ultimately, he managed to put together a remarkable season, going 15-1. That “-1” is an interesting story too.

2. Allen’s temper

Johnny Allen was 15-0 going into his final start of the 1937 season. He pitched a marvel of a game too and might have won if not for a muffed defensive play by third basemen Odell Hale.

Allen took umbrage to Hale’s error and tried to fight him after the game. Twice.

After the second fracas, manager Steve O’Neill forced Allen to sit next to him on the train ride home. And he managed to sooth his frazzled ace, in part by offering him $25 in gas money.

3. Rolling with Rollie Hemsley

Rollie Hemsley was a great catcher — a 5-time all-star and World Series champion.

He was also a notorious alcoholic for the first decade or so of his career.

Before he joined the Indians in 1938, he was repeatedly kicked off teams or traded for his behavior while drinking.

One time, he picked a fight with three sailors who were on shore leave. And when police tried to break it up, he punched an officer and ripped off his badge.

Of course, he faced a battery of criminal charges, but the only one that made him mad was driving without a license. He had a license, he argued. He just lost it during the fight.

Hemsley’s story has a happy ending. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous while with the Indians and stayed sober thereafter.

4. Nobody likes Vitt

Oscar Vitt became the Indians manager in 1938, and he was immediately unpopular. In fact, the team nearly mutinied against him in 1940.

But he was a known firestarter, even going back to his days as a player.

While a rookie with the Detroit Tigers, he almost got pummeled by Ty Cobb. You see, the rookie thought it was a good idea to heckle Cobb after he got picked off of second.

Vitt suggested that Cobb should wear a ball-and-chain. Cobb suggested that Vitt should shut his mouth or suffer tremendous violence.

Vitt wisely kept his mouth shut.

5. Terminal catch

In 1938, the Come to Cleveland Committee organized a stunt in which Indians catchers Hank Helf and Frankie Pytlak would catch baseballs dropped from the Terminal Tower.

For context, the Terminal Tower is more than 700 feet high.

Miraculously, Helf and Pytlak each caught one.

The balls were estimated to be traveling 140 mph. When one bounced, it flew back up 30 stories.

For more remarkable stories from Indians’ history, check out Longert’s books.

He’s written about:

11 4, 2016

Scott Longert talks Cleveland Indians & Great Depression

By |2016-11-04T06:00:53-04:00November 4, 2016|

Author, historian and Cleveland Indians fan Scott Longert talked about his newest book, No Money, No Beer, No Pennants: The Cleveland Indians & Baseball in the Great Depression, during a recent visit to our library.

Longert’s newest book will delight Indians fans and Cleveland history buffs. It spotlights:

  • the lawsuit that stopped the construction of the then-new Cleveland Municipal Stadium for more than a year
  • Bruce Campbell, an Indian who survived two bouts of spinal meningitis and returned to professional baseball after each recovery.
  • how the Indians nearly lost a 17-year-old Bob Feller after signing him, and much more.

Longert has his MA in American history and worked as a ranger at James A. Garfield National Historic Site. He knows baseball as well as he knows history.

He’s also written The Best They Could Be about the World Series-winning 1920 Cleveland Indians and Addie Joss: King of the Pitchers.

Longert previously visited the library to talk about The Best They Could Be.

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