The First Book to Tell the Full Story of a Forgotten Champion

From rural Virginia to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio; from the vineyards of central California to the Los Angeles Coliseum; from paper and online archives to the historical footprints left behind at League Park and Shaw Stadium … Cleveland Rams author James C. Sulecki visited places and people left behind by a fledgling football franchise that rattled history like few others.

Digging into the personal mementoes of star quarterback Bob Waterfield now in his son Buck’s possession turned up surprises—like a business card from Chicago Bears scout Raymond “Fido” Murphy, who apparently kept tabs on the young Waterfield some time before he was ready to turn pro, along with a notation in a self-doubting Waterfield’s own hand asking: “Me?”

And deep archival research unearthed details about less-known events—like Arthur “Mickey” McBride resolving to found the Browns in the All-America Football Conference because Rams owner Daniel F. Reeves had refused to sell the Rams to him; and the impact of a full newspaper strike that blacked out Cleveland just as Reeves was to announce in New York that he was moving his team to L.A.

The Cleveland Rams isn’t only a sports book. It’s an extensive piece of history about the Rams, Cleveland, and pro football. And it’s a work of scholarship that draws parallels between our own time and a past era that is too often dismissed for its “leather helmet” football. Sprinkled throughout this book’s pages are reminders that football and media in the 21st century aren’t so unique after all.

 

From Amazon reader reviews:

“An excellent book documenting the Rams and the early years of the NFL.”

“… A meticulously researched and stylishly written story …”

“… A real feel for the times, the economy, and sports in general. If Bob Waterfield were alive today, with his charisma, his athletic skills, and his movie-star wife, he would be more famous than many of the current media darlings. All in all, a fascinating read!”

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