Rams History Trail >> Newsroom of the Plain Dealer

Cleveland Plain Dealer newsroom

Where: Cleveland Plain Dealer newsroom

Why: Working from here as a sportswriter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, John Dietrich was instrumental in the naming of the Rams

Now: Louis Stokes Wing of the Cleveland Public Library, 525 Superior Avenue, Cleveland

What: Cater-corner from the Hollenden Hotel were the offices of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where sportswriter John Dietrich covered, encouraged, and excoriated the Rams during their 10-year stay in Cleveland. He was present at the christening of the franchise, suggesting that the four-letter brevity of “Rams” would fit nicely into a newspaper headline. With the team still in town, Dietrich accepted the company one evening of new All-America Football Conference owner Arthur “Mickey” McBride, who asked Dietrich to recommend a candidate to coach his new team. Easy, Dietrich said—Ohio State coach Paul Brown. The franchise became the Cleveland Browns, and hastened the Rams’ departure to L.A.

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Rams History Trail >> Damon “Buzz” Wetzel’s House

Damon "Buzz" Wetzel house, Cleveland

Where: Home of Damon “Buzz” Wetzel

Why: The true founder of the Rams franchise lived here while coaching the team in its inaugural season of 1936

Now: A semi-rehabbed but abandoned residence at 7609 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland

What: The founding of the Rams usually is attributed to lawyer-businessman Homer H. Marshman, and indeed it was at Marshman’s house in the exclusive Cleveland suburb of Waite Hill that funding was lined up to launch the team in the American Football League in 1936. But it was young Damon “Buzz” Wetzel—barely out of The Ohio State University, son of a Cleveland Indians scout, and with one season under his belt as an NFL player for the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Pirates (now Steelers)—who prevailed on Marshman and other Cleveland moneymen to invest. Wetzel recruited future Hall-of-Fame coach Sid Gillman to play for the Rams, became the team’s first head coach, and served as its general manager when the team entered the NFL in 1937. In 1938 he was pushed out by many of the same investors he had brought in and never worked in the NFL again.

<<  Hollenden Hotel

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