THE CLEVELAND RAMS: The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon, 1936-1945
By James C. Sulecki
McFarland & Company | coming in November 2016
Essential reading for fans of the Rams, the Browns, the early NFL, and Cleveland history. Cleveland was where it all started for the Rams, “sport’s first spectacular postwar team” (Sporting News), whose championship fate for years became entwined with the Browns franchise that immediately succeeded them in Cleveland.
NFL owners are notorious for breaking hearts by yanking beloved teams and decamping to more profitable climes. And this has been going on for longer than you think. Precisely 70 years before wounding St. Louisans by announcing a move to Los Angeles in 2016, the Rams left their original hometown, one that had cheered them to a championship performance just 27 days earlier—Cleveland, Ohio. The transfer to LA in 1946 left many Clevelanders outraged, shocked the league, and shook up the NFL power structure. It also jolted the all-white NFL into reintegration, prepared the way for the incoming Browns, and left the Rams to become the only champions ever to be based the following season fully intact in a different city. The story of how the storied Rams transformed from a homegrown Ohio team funded by local businessmen into the first major-league franchise on the West Coast is filled with long-forgotten drama, betrayal, and larger-than-life personalities. THE CLEVELAND RAMS brings to life the vivid story of how the franchise began its long history of opportunistic moves, and how the Rams’ departure jump=started a chain of events in sports-mad Cleveland that resonates to this day.
About The Author
James C. Sulecki is a Cleveland-area native, a 30-year veteran of business and sports journalism, and editorial director of a business media organization in northeastern Ohio. He draws on extensive first-hand knowledge of Cleveland and its history and his hybrid background in sports and business journalism to tell the story of the Cleveland Rams on and off the field. His father and grandfather were among the frostbitten crowd of 32,178 in Cleveland Stadium on December 16, 1945 to see the Rams defeat the Washington Redskins to win the NFL championship.