The Curse of Rocky Colavito is a phenomenon that supposedly prevents the Cleveland Indians Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise from winning, be it the World Series, the American League (AL) pennant, reaching postseason play, or even getting into a pennant race. Its origin is traced back to the unpopular trade of right fielder Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn in 1960. It was not claimed that Colavito placed the curse, and he has denied doing so. It is one of several curses believed to have stricken the city of Cleveland's major sports franchises for decades.
On April 17, 1960, the Cleveland Indians traded Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn. This trade was unique because Colavito was 1959's American League home run champion, with 42, while Kuenn hit .353 as the A.L. batting champion. Fans in Cleveland were outraged by what they saw as the betrayal by the Indians' general manager, Frank Lane. In only two years with the Indians, Lane had taken a mostly successful 40-man roster and had traded away every player he had inherited.
Detroit fans were mostly happy about the trade.
The idea of the curse was first presented in print by Terry Pluto, who had previously covered the Indians for The Plain Dealer. In his 1994 book, The Curse of Rocky Colavito: A Loving Look at a 33-Year Slump, Pluto suggested that the trade, made by Indians general manager Frank Lane to blunt Colavito's popularity and end his salary demands, led to a 33-season stretch where the Indians did not finish the season within 11 games of first place, from 1960 to 1993. By 1994, the team had not won a pennant since 1954, or a World Series since 1948.
In The Curse of Rocky Colavito, Pluto writes of many of the misfortunes that struck the Indians following the Colavito trade:
Since the book's publication in 1994, Pluto has written two sequels: Burying the Curse in 1995 and Our Tribe in 1999, the latter insisting that the curse was still in place.
Despite the "evidence" of a curse on the team, Colavito has denied ever placing one.
On the day of the Colavito trade, the Indians played the Chicago White Sox in an exhibition game at 64-year-old Russwood Park in Memphis, Tennessee. Colavito hit a home run in the second inning, and reporters in the press box were informed of the trade shortly thereafter. Four hours after the game ended, Russwood Park - constructed primarily of wood in 1896 - was destroyed in a five-alarm fire.
Prior to the publication of Pluto's book The Curse of Rocky Colavito, there had been another explanation for the Indians' difficulties, one that came after the 1954 World Series but preceded the 1960 Colavito trade. The Indians fired manager Bobby Bragan in 1958. According to the story, although he always denied it, Bragan walked out to the pitcher's mound at Cleveland Municipal Stadium and placed a curse on the Indians, saying they would never win another pennant.
In 1994, the year Pluto's book was published, the Indians moved out of aging Municipal Stadium and opened what was then Jacobs Field. They were just one game behind the White Sox in the newly created American League (AL) Central division when a strike put an end to the season. Despite the abrupt end, this was the first time the Indians had genuinely been in a pennant race since 1959, Colavito's last season before being traded away.
In the years since they moved out of Municipal Stadium the Indians have enjoyed success in the regular season, winning nine division titles (including five in a row from 1995-1999) and three American League pennants. But disappointing failures in the post-season have demonstrated to believers that a curse may still loom over the ballclub.
The 2016 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2016 season. The 112th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the National League (NL) champion Chicago Cubs and the American League (AL) champion Cleveland Indians, the first meeting of those franchises in postseason history. The series was played between October 25 and November 2 (although Game 7 ended slightly after 12:00 am local time on November 3). The Indians had home-field advantage because the AL had won the 2016 All-Star Game. This was the final World Series to have home-field advantage determined by the All-Star Game results; since 2017, home-field advantage has been awarded to the team with the better record.
The Cubs defeated the Indians 4 games to 3 to win their first World Series since 1908. Game 7, an 8–7 victory in 10 innings, marked the fifth time that a Game 7 had gone into extra innings and the first since 1997 (which, coincidentally, the Indians also lost). It was also the first Game 7 to have a rain delay, which occurred as the tenth inning was about to start. The Cubs became the sixth team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven World Series, following the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates, the 1958 New York Yankees, the 1968 Detroit Tigers, the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, and the 1985 Kansas City Royals.
The Cubs, playing in their eleventh World Series and their first since 1945, won their third championship and first since 1908, ending the longest world championship drought in North American professional sports history. It was the Indians' sixth appearance in the World Series and their first since 1997, with their last Series win having come in 1948. The two teams entered their matchup as the two franchises with the longest World Series title droughts, a combined 174 years without a championship. Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who had previously won World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, fell short in his bid to become the third manager to win his first three trips to the Fall Classic, after Casey Stengel and Joe Torre.Baseball superstition
Baseball is a sport with a long history of superstition. From the Curse of the Bambino to some players' refusal to wash their clothes or bodies after a win, superstition is present in all parts of baseball. Many baseball players — batters, pitchers, and fielders alike — perform elaborate, repetitive routines prior to pitches and at bats due to superstition. The desire to keep a number they have been successful with is strong in baseball. In fact anything that happens prior to something good or bad in baseball can give birth to a new superstition.
Some of the more common superstitions include purposely stepping on or avoiding stepping on the foul line when taking the field, and not talking about a no-hitter or perfect game while it is in progress — a superstition that also holds for fans and announcers. Others include routines such as eating only chicken before a game like Wade Boggs, pitcher Justin Verlander eating three crunchy taco supremes (no tomato), a cheesy gordita crunch and a Mexican pizza (no tomato) from Taco Bell, before every start, and drawing in the dirt in the batter's box before an at bat. Justin Morneau, the 2006 American League Most Valuable Player winner, wears number 33 to honour his idol, ex-NHL goaltender Patrick Roy. His ritual before every Twins' home game entails stopping by the same Jimmy John's Gourmet Subs — located on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota — and ordering the same sandwich from the menu: Turkey Tom with no sprouts. Afterwards, he drinks a Slurpee from a Slurpee machine in the Twins' clubhouse made of one-half Mountain Dew, one-half red or orange flavor.Certain players go as far as observing superstitions off the field. This includes early 20th century second baseman Amby McConnell. Whenever he was in the middle of a batting slump, he would scavenge the streets and pick up any pin he found, believing this was a sign he would break out of the slump.Chief Wahoo
Chief Wahoo was the logo of the Cleveland Indians, a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Cleveland, Ohio. As part of the larger Native American mascot controversy, it drew criticism from Native Americans, social scientists, and religious and educational groups, but remains popular among many fans of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. On January 29, 2018, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and Indians' owner Paul Dolan announced that Chief Wahoo would no longer appear on uniforms or stadium signs following the end of the 2018 season. Merchandise featuring the logo will still be available at the Indians' ballpark and retail stores in Ohio, but will no longer be sold on the league's website. The team's primary logo is now a block "C".
The Chief Wahoo logo was last worn by the Indians in an 11–3 loss to the Houston Astros on October 8, 2018 in the 2018 American League Division Series. News outlets noted the irony of the logo's final appearance being on Indigenous Peoples' Day/Columbus Day.Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are an American professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. Since 1994, they have played at Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. Since their establishment as a major league franchise in 1901, the Indians have won two World Series championships: in 1920 and 1948, along with 10 Central Division titles and six American League pennants. The Indians' current World Series championship drought is the longest active drought among all 30 current Major League teams.The name "Indians" originated from a request by club owner Charles Somers to baseball writers to choose a new name to replace "Cleveland Naps" following the departure of Nap Lajoie after the 1914 season. The name referenced the nickname "Indians" that was applied to the Cleveland Spiders baseball club during the time when Louis Sockalexis, a Native American, played in Cleveland. Common nicknames for the Indians include the "Tribe" and the "Wahoos", the latter being a reference to their former logo, Chief Wahoo. Also, the team's mascot is named "Slider."
The franchise originated in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1894 as the Grand Rapids Rustlers, a minor league team that competed in the Western League. The team then relocated to Cleveland in 1900 and changed its name to the Cleveland Lake Shores. The Western League itself changed its name to the American League while continuing its minor league status. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the major league incarnation of the club was founded in Cleveland in 1901. Originally called the Cleveland Bluebirds, the team played in League Park until moving permanently to Cleveland Stadium in 1946. At the end of the 2018 season, they had a regular season franchise record of 9,384–8,968 (.511). From August 24 to September 14, 2017, the Indians won 22 consecutive games, which is the longest winning streak in American League history.Cleveland sports curse
The Cleveland sports curse was a sports superstition involving the city of Cleveland, Ohio, and its major league professional sports teams, centered on the failure to win a championship in any major league sport for a period of 52 years, from 1964 to 2016. Three major league teams based in Cleveland contributed to belief in the curse: the Browns of the National Football League (NFL); the Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA); and the Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB). Combined with the short-lived Barons franchise of the National Hockey League (NHL), Cleveland teams endured an unprecedented 147-season championship drought, having not won a title since the Browns defeated the Baltimore Colts in the 1964 NFL Championship Game two seasons prior to the first Super Bowl.Cleveland's 52-year championship drought finally ended when the Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, an event widely interpreted as having broken the curse.Curse of Coogan's Bluff
The Curse of Coogan's Bluff (also known as the Curse of Eddie Grant) (1958–2010) was a baseball-related superstition that allegedly prevented the San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball franchise from winning the World Series following the club's move from New York City to San Francisco after the conclusion of the 1957 season. The curse began when upset Giants fans in the New York metropolitan area placed a hex on the relocated franchise. The curse ended when the Giants won the 2010 World Series in their fourth World Series appearance since the move to San Francisco.Curse of the Billy Goat
The Curse of the Billy Goat was a sports-related curse that was supposedly placed on the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise in 1945, by Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis. The curse lasted 71 years, from 1945 to 2016. Because the odor of his pet goat, named Murphy, was bothering other fans, Sianis was asked to leave Wrigley Field, the Cubs' home ballpark, during game 4 of the 1945 World Series. Outraged, Sianis allegedly declared, "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more," which had been interpreted to mean that the Cubs would never win another National League (NL) pennant, at least for the remainder of Sianis's life.
The Cubs lost the 1945 World Series to the Detroit Tigers, and did not win a World Series championship again until 2016. The Cubs had last won the World Series in 1908. After the incident with Sianis and Murphy, the Cubs did not play in the World Series for the next 71 years until, on the 46th anniversary of Billy Sianis's death, the "curse" was broken when they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5–0 in game 6 of the 2016 National League Championship Series to win the NL pennant. The Cubs then defeated the American League (AL) champion Cleveland Indians 8–7 in 10 innings in game 7 to win the 2016 World Series, 108 years after their last win.Curse of the Black Sox
The Curse of the Black Sox (also known as the Curse of Shoeless Joe) (1919–2005) was a superstition or "scapegoat" cited as one reason for the failure of the Chicago White Sox to win the World Series from 1917 until 2005. As with other supposed baseball curses, such as the crosstown Chicago Cubs' Curse of the Billy Goat, or the Boston Red Sox' Curse of the Bambino, these "curses" have been publicized by the popular media over the course of time.Curse of the Colonel
Curse of the Colonel (カーネルサンダースの呪い, Kāneru Sandāsu no Noroi) refers to an urban legend regarding a reputed curse placed on the Japanese Kansai-based Hanshin Tigers baseball team by deceased KFC founder and mascot Colonel Harland Sanders.
The curse was said to be placed on the team because of the Colonel's anger over treatment of one of his store-front statues, which was thrown into the Dōtonbori River by celebrating Hanshin fans following their team's victory in the 1985 Japan Championship Series. As is common with sports-related curses, the Curse of the Colonel was used to explain the team's subsequent 18-year losing streak. Some fans believed the team would never win another Japan Series until the statue had been recovered. They have appeared in the Japan Series three times since then, losing in 2003, 2005 and 2014.
Comparisons are often made between the Hanshin Tigers and the Boston Red Sox, who were said to be under the Curse of the Bambino until they won the World Series in 2004. The "Curse of the Colonel" has also been used as a bogeyman threat to those who would divulge the secret recipe of eleven herbs and spices that result in the unique taste of his chicken.Dennis Eckersley
Dennis Lee Eckersley (born October 3, 1954), nicknamed "Eck", is an American former professional baseball pitcher. Between 1975 and 1998, he pitched in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals. Eckersley had success as a starter, but gained his greatest fame as a closer, becoming the first of two pitchers in MLB history to have both a 20-win season and a 50-save season in a career. He is the pitcher who gave up a dramatic walk-off home run (a phrase Eckersley coined) to the injured Kirk Gibson in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
Eckersley was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility. He works with New England Sports Network (NESN) as a part-time color commentator for Red Sox broadcasts, and is also a game analyst for Turner Sports for their Sunday MLB Games and MLB Post Season coverage on TBS.Gabe Paul
Gabriel Howard Paul (January 4, 1910 – April 26, 1998) was an American executive in Major League Baseball who, between 1951 and 1984, served as general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, Houston Colt .45s, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. He also served as president and part-owner of the Indians and president and limited partner of the Yankees.Harvey Kuenn
Harvey Edward Kuenn (; December 4, 1930 – February 28, 1988) was an American professional baseball player, coach, and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB). As a shortstop and outfielder, he played with the Detroit Tigers (1952–1959), Cleveland Indians (1960), San Francisco Giants (1961–1965), Chicago Cubs (1965–1966), and Philadelphia Phillies (1966). Kuenn batted and threw right-handed. After retiring, he managed the Milwaukee Brewers (1975, 1982–1983).Herb Score
Herbert Jude Score (June 7, 1933 – November 11, 2008) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) player and announcer. Score pitched for the Cleveland Indians from 1955 through 1959 and the Chicago White Sox from 1960 through 1962. He was the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year in 1955, and an AL All-Star in 1955 and 1956. Due to an on-field injury that occurred in 1957, he retired early as a player in 1962. Score was a television and radio broadcaster for the Cleveland Indians from 1964 through 1997. He was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame in 2006.History of the Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since 1994, they have played in Progressive Field. The Cleveland team originated in 1900 as the Lake Shores, when the American League (AL) was officially a minor league. One of the AL's eight charter franchises, the major league incarnation of the club was founded in Cleveland in 1901.Larvell Blanks
Larvell Blanks (born January 28, 1950) is a former Major League Baseball infielder. Blanks comes from a family of athletes. His uncle Sid is a former American football player. His cousin, Lance, is a former professional basketball player and was the General Manager of Phoenix Suns of the NBA, while Lance's daughter, Riley, plays tennis at the University of Virginia. Larvell currently resides in Del Rio, Texas.Rocky Colavito
Rocco Domenico "Rocky" Colavito Jr. (born August 10, 1933) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) outfielder, who is best known playing for the Cleveland Indians in right field. In 1959, he hit four consecutive home runs in one game. In 1965, he became the first American League (AL) outfielder to play a complete season with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.Colavito was an All-Star for six seasons (9 All-Star Games). He is the fifth player in the history of the AL to have eleven consecutive 20-home run seasons (1956–66). During that span, he exceeded 40 home runs three times and 100 runs batted in, six times. He also led the AL in home runs, RBI, and slugging average once each. Colavito ranked third among AL right-handed hitters for home runs (371) and eighth for AL games played at right field (1272), at the end of his MLB playing career in 1968.
Colavito currently lives in Berks County, Pennsylvania.Terry Pluto
Terry Pluto (born June 12, 1955) is an American sportswriter, newspaper columnist, and author who primarily writes columns for The Plain Dealer, and formerly for the Akron Beacon Journal about Cleveland, Ohio sports and religion.
Pluto is a graduate of Benedictine High School in Cleveland, and received a degree in secondary education from Cleveland State University, with a major in Social Studies and a minor in English.
On August 14, 2007, Pluto announced he was leaving the Beacon Journal to return to The Plain Dealer. He cited the larger circulation and ability to write for his hometown paper as reasons for leaving. Pluto began at The Plain Dealer on September 2, 2007.
Since joining The Plain Dealer, Pluto's stories and columns have contributed to the paper becoming a three-time Ohio Associated Press Award winner for Best Daily Sports Section (2007, 2010, 2011 - Division V)The Shot
The Shot is the series-winning basket hit by Michael Jordan in Game 5 of the 1989 Eastern Conference First Round on May 7 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Richfield Coliseum. It is considered to be one of Jordan's greatest clutch moments, and in the game itself, a classic. The Cavaliers swept the regular season games against the Bulls 6–0, including a 90–84 victory in the final regular season game, in which they rested their four best players (Ron Harper, Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and Larry Nance).
Cleveland was the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference and Chicago was the 6th. Cleveland had a 57–25 regular season record, tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the second-best record in the league behind the Detroit Pistons. Chicago's regular season record that year was 47–35, which although it placed them fifth in their division, was good enough for the sixth playoff seed in the conference. Given both these factors, the Bulls' playoff victory was considered a major upset. In retrospect, it symbolized the beginning of a dynasty of Michael Jordan's Bulls. It was the first of many game-winning shots that Jordan made in his playoff career. In Game 4 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Jordan made another series-winning buzzer-beater on the same end of the court in the same building, to give the Bulls their 4th playoff series win over the Cavaliers, that time a 4-game sweep.
The Shot is one of many dramatic sports moments to come at a Cleveland team's expense—Red Right 88, The Catch, Off Nagy's Glove, The Drive, The Fumble, The Decision, The Move, and the Curse of Rocky Colavito.Tony Horton (baseball)
Anthony Darrin Horton (born December 6, 1944) is a retired American Major League Baseball player. A first baseman who batted and threw right-handed, Horton played for the Boston Red Sox (1964–67) and Cleveland Indians (1967–70).
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