The Cleveland Rams won an unexpected NFL title in 1945 and moved 27 days later—and for reasons that will reshape the historical narrative about today’s L.A. Rams
July 5, 2016 | Mentor, Ohio — James C. Sulecki, author of the forthcoming book The Cleveland Rams: The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon, 1936–1945 (McFarland & Company, $35.00), has used deep archival research to set straight a story that has haunted many Cleveland sports fans for three-quarters of a century: Why and how the pro football team could leave the city only 27 days after winning the 1945 championship.
The reasons were far more complex than the start-up of the new Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference, Sulecki learned. The Rams were gelling rapidly as an organization, support for the team was galvanizing in the city, and Cleveland fans fully expected to enjoy watching not one but two winning pro football teams in 1946. But then young Rams owner Daniel F. Reeves pressured his fellow NFL owners into granting permission to do something he had intended from the moment he bought the team five years earlier: move it to another city.
Turmoil and enduring change erupted in the wake of Reeves’s decision even as a citywide newspaper strike muffled public reaction in Cleveland. The Rams wandered from Cleveland to Los Angeles to Anaheim and then to St. Louis. And now as the rootless Rams settle back in Los Angeles this autumn to begin another chapter, “the timing of the book’s publication couldn’t be more ideal,” Sulecki said. “Fans of the team and of the NFL in general never will see today’s Rams franchise in the same light again.”
McFarland & Company has set an October 2016 release for The Cleveland Rams. Print and e-book editions will be available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound and through the publisher’s website at www.mcfarlandbooks.com.