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Cleveland's Finest
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Cleveland's Finest
Vince McKee


Sports Heroes From the Greatest Location in the Nation

No one can measure the heart of a champion. It is that one distinct quality that can make any challenger a champion. Cleveland has been a part of the some of the greatest moments in sports history. They produced a football dynasty in the forties and fifties. They have won two World Series and came within outs of winning a third. Their basketball franchise has risen from the ashes to produce a miracle, and a chosen one. We have had rookie sensations that have been “super” and a night on the mound that was simply perfect. The city produced a team that electrified the world of indoor soccer with multiple championships.

It is a blue collar town that works hard to support their teams the most vocal way they can. The loyalty of the fans can never be questioned as they have stuck by their teams in good times and it bad. The fighting spirit of Cleveland and its fans can never be denied and when all the cards are dealt and the money is counted, it will be Cleveland that will once again be the finest in all of sports cities.

In his book Cleveland's Finest, author Vince McKee highlights the best moments, players, and media members in Cleveland sports history. It has in depth extremely personal interviews with some of the top names in Cleveland sports. Each interview is a no holds bar tells all of the most intimate and sometimes controversial details of the largest impact moments in our town’s sports history.

Read all about baseball legends Joe Charboneau, Len Barker, Mike Hargrove, Carlos Baerga and, John Hart. Discover all the details basketball stars Joe Tait, Fred McLeod, Austin Carr, Larry Nance and Craig Ehlo shared with the author. Soccer fans will enjoy reading the stories of Otto Orf, Bruce Miller, Hector Marinaro and Zoran Karic. And who would not want to know what football star Joe DeLuca told Vince McKee?

Equally important are the opinions of sports journalists Jerry Mires, Kenny Roda, Ken Carman, Emmet Golden, JG Spooner and Gene Winters who all provided their take on Cleveland's Finest.

Cleveland's Finest is the first book written from the player’s point of view, mixed in with the media that covered it and the fans that watched. Cleveland's Finest will change the way the entire sports nation looks at Cleveland. Finally, the true stories are told!


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Ball Cap Nation: A Journey Through the World of America's National Hat
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Ball Cap Nation: A Journey Through the World of America's National Hat
Jim Lilliefors


    As the country grows increasingly diverse and complicated, Americans seek, and occasionally find, a common thread to unite them. And, as Jim Lilliefors reveals in his new book, that common thread is what the baseball cap is made of — indeed, what has transformed it into America’s National Hat. As fads go, it’s no longer even a fad, but a part of the national identity that, for better or worse, is a symbol of America.

    It feeds an illusion that Americans cherish — that despite their differences, and no matter what position they play — when wearing a baseball cap, they’re all part of the same team. Exploring every aspect of caps and their culture — including the history, manufacturing, and evolution of baseball caps; collecting and caring for caps; cap etiquette; and even cap urban legends — and packed with photos throughout, Ball Cap Nation is a delightful look at a uniquely American phenomenon.

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First America's Team: The 1962 Green Bay Packers
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First America's Team: The 1962 Green Bay Packers
Bob Berghaus


The first book focused on Vince Lombardi's greatest team and arguably the most dominant team in pro football history: the 1962 Green Bay Packers.

The 1962 Green Bay Packers are still considered one of the most dominating teams in the history of the National Football League. In 2007, when the New England Patriots were trying to become the first team to go unbeaten during a 16-game season and win the Super Bowl, there were many stories written about their place in history, and the ’62 Packers were always listed among the top three teams of all time.

There are a number of books on the Packers already, showing a strong and sustained interest in one of the most popular sports franchises in America. There are also a number of books—though far fewer—on the Packers of the Vince Lombardi era. There has never been a book, however, focused on Lombardi’s, and (arguably) pro football’s, greatest team: the 1962 Packers.

The 1962 Green Bay Packers will examine how the team was built and on Lombardi's coaching staff, how four of the five assistants went on to become head coaches -- Bill Austin, Tom Fears, Norb Hecker and Phil Bengtson. The team was rich with personalities, from the glamour-conscience Hourning to the emotional Nitschke to the laconic Starr. Of course, the strongest personality of all was Lombardi’s, who shaped these many unique individuals and talents into a team so dominant it changed the game forever. The Packers of this era won five championships in seven years, including the first two Super Bowls, creating a dynasty in the smallest market in professional sports. The 1962 team was the signature team and their power sweep became a national phenomenon. Despite playing in little Green Bay, the players on Lombardi's team became national heroes. This really was the first America's Team.



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Frozen in Time: The Enduring Legacy of the 1961 U.S. Figure Skating Team
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Frozen in Time: The Enduring Legacy of the 1961 U.S. Figure Skating Team
Nikki Nichols


    Frozen in Time presents a deeply researched account of one of the most iconic stories in the history of American sport. Most sports fans have heard the tragic story of the plane crash that killed all the members of the 1961 U.S. World Figure Skating Team, and sixteen of their friends, family and coaches, en route to the World Championships in Prague. This account takes readers inside the lives of the skaters, revealing the friendships and romances, the rivalries, sacrifices, and triumphs of the world-renowned competitors.

    The dramatic focus lingers on two families of powerful women: the Owens and the Westerfelds. Maribel Owen, without question the most famous woman in figure skating at the time, relentlessly drives her two young daughters, pairs champion Mara and the spectacular Laurence, who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated on the day she died; Myra Westerfeld, meanwhile, loses her marriage while guiding her daughters Sherri and Steffi to the pinnacle of the sport.

    Author Nikki Nichols also explores the aftermath of the crash. In an unprecedented period in American athletics, the U.S. skating program had lost all of its stars and struggled to rebuild, pushing forward very young competitors, such as Peggy Fleming. But perhaps the most far-reaching effect was the creation of The United States Figure Skating Association’s Memorial Fund, which would provide training grants and scholarships to skaters who would not otherwise be able to afford the sport—among them Scott Hamilton and other of top skaters.

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Black and Blue (paperback)
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Black and Blue (paperback)
Bob Berghaus


    Formed in 1967, the NFL's Central Division, made up of the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and Minnesota Vikings, quickly earned the nickname “Black and Blue Division” due to the teams' fierce, physical play. Through the years, many of the toughest men in pro football have played in the Black and Blue — from Butkus to Nitschke, Eller to Spielman, Favre to Singletary to Karras to the Purple People Eaters.

    Now known as the NFC North, the rivals still battle each other twice a year, celebrating their 40th season together in 2006. Black and Blue celebrates along with them, recalling the great plays and players, the memorable seasons, and the crucial games through first-hand interviews with players and coaches and first-rate photography. Capsule summaries of every game played in the division make this an essential reference for every football fan.

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Sid Gillman
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Sid Gillman
Josh Katzowitz


Father of the Passing Game

Sid Gillman, unlike so many of his coaching colleagues, never wrote a book about himself. He never published his own ideas about the game and why he thought passing the ball in an age where most quarterbacks handed off to running backs was the key to his success. In more than four decades of coaching, nobody thought it necessary to tell the definitive Sid Gillman story. Until now. 

Gillman was a true innovator. The kind of football genius that goes overlooked by today’s average fan, but who will never be forgotten by the coaches he directly – and indirectly – impacted. The modern-day offenses that emphasize spreading the field with receivers, running backs and tight ends? That was Gillman’s idea. The idea that the long pass could stretch a defense? That was Gillman’s baby as well. What NFL fans watch today in ever-increasing numbers (and the high-flying offenses those fans love) can be directly traced back to the Midwestern coach who was a forerunner to the West Coast offense.

Gillman wasn’t a perfect man. He had plenty of warts, and he made plenty of enemies. But he also made a major impact on the game, comparable to how Vince Lombardi, Paul Brown and Woody Hayes left a timeless impression. Josh Katzowitz tells you how Gillman was just as important as any coach who came before him or afterward. 

This is not simply a biography of an innovator. It details exactly how and why the NFL football you watch today is the image of what Gillman believed was possible. It’s why football luminaries like Al Davis, Bill Walsh and Chuck Noll cite Gillman as one of the most important influences on their careers and lives. It’s why if you watched the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, you could see the scope of Gillman’s reach. In order to truly understand the reason why football offenses are so exciting today, learning about Gillman is absolutely essential. Katzowitz takes you on that journey.


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Paul Brown: The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Football's Most Innovative Coach (Paperback)
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Paul Brown: The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Football's Most Innovative Coach (Paperback)
Andrew O'Toole


        Paul Brown is a football legend, yet few fans know the story of this very private man. This book follows Brown’s life and career, from his childhood and college years through his domination as a coach on every major level — high school, collegiate, and pro — to his painful exile from a sport he essentially helped create. In relating the story of Paul Brown and his gridiron innovations, Andrew O’Toole tells the story of modern day football.

    Paul Brown ranks as one of the greatest of football coaches in history Considered the "father of the modern offense," Brown dominated as a gridiron general on every major level — high school (Massillon HS - from "Go, Tigers"), college (Ohio State), and professional (Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals).

    Brown gained his reputation as an innovator during his time in Cleveland. He was the first to use intelligence tests to judge players, establish a film library, instruct players in a classroom setting, attempt to use a radio transmitter to communicate with players on the field, and install face masks on helmets.

    He was also a person known for his stubborn approach to criticism. Brown was honored in 1967 by his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. In addition to that accolade, two stadiums bear his name: Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, and Paul Brown Stadium, current home of the Bengals. Indirectly, a third stadium bears his name: Cleveland Browns Stadium. Learn more about Paul Brown in this book. Grab a copy today, settle in your favorite easy chair and get the facts about one of football's greatest coaches.

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Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame Highlights: Memorable Moments in Team History as Heard on the Reds Radio Network
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Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame Highlights: Memorable Moments in Team History as Heard on the Reds Radio Network



These pieces have become a favorite feature for Reds fans, who love to celebrate the Big Red Machine’s long and storied history and traditions. This collection brings together every single one of Rhodes' pieces in a single book for both Reds fans and baseball aficionados. Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame Highlights chronicles more than 130 years of history and five world series championships and includes over 300 short accounts of the team’s greatest, saddest, wildest, and weirdest players and moments. Packed with over 100 photos furnished by the Reds and their museum, the book pays tribute to a team that remains one of America's favorites.

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Local Boys, The
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Local Boys, The
Joe Heffron and Jack Heffron


Hometown Players for the Cincinnati Reds

Foreword by Chris Welsh
Though one of the smaller markets in Major League Baseball, Cincinnati has produced far more than its share of professional baseball players and many have played, at some point in their careers, for the hometown team. And hometown fans worshiped them. Though nearly 3 million people live in the area, the city retains a certain small-town sense of self. And it holds no one in higher regard than a local boy in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. No dream is better understood — or held in such esteem — as hoping to play for the Reds. For proof, note the 50-foot-high bas-relief sculpture on the wall at the entrance to Great American Ball Park. In it, a Cincinnati boy envisions himself among the clouds—playing ball with the Reds he idolizes.

Local Boys tells the story of the men who achieved the dream. From Ethan Allen to Don Zimmer, from Charlie “Bushel Basket” Gould, who played on the first team in 1869 to Junior Griffey, soon to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. They’re all here. Alongside big-name stars like Dave Parker and Buddy Bell, fans will find Eddie Hunter, who played only one inning in 1933, never got to bat and never fielded a ball. Every player receives a one- or two-page profile, many of which are based on original interviews with the player or surviving family members. The profile goes beyond statistics; it brings the player to life through stories that have never been told in print before.


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Summer of Shadows
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Summer of Shadows
Jonathan Knight


Summer of Shadows is an intertwining narrative that tells the story of the 1954 Cleveland Indians (which would etch itself in history as one of the greatest baseball teams in MLB history) and the infamous murder of the wife of Dr. Sam Sheppard in their home along the shore of Lake Erie—which held both the city and the nation spellbound that summer. Both of these generation-defining stories take place in the final days of the “Best Location in the Nation,” the nickname for the Cleveland of the 1950s, which truly was one of the great and most influential cities in America.

The Sheppard case would influence the television series The Fugitive a decade later and give Cleveland’s reputation a black eye following the shoddy and unethical behavior of the city’s police department and news media, which led to the conviction of an innocent man. Meanwhile, the 1954 Indians would post the greatest season in American League history and dethrone the five-time-champion New York Yankees in a dramatic pennant race, culminating in a September doubleheader before 86,000 fans at Cleveland Stadium. The powerful Indians would then be swept by Willie Mays and the New York Giants in the World Series. These two parallel tragedies harbinger an onslaught of adversity that dragged Cleveland from its lofty standing as a leading American city to one with a bleak—even comic—reputation.

Summer of Shadows
is essentially a postcard from that gilded age, when the city enjoyed its own golden October, not knowing that decades of dismal, bitter winter lay ahead.

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