Anyone around my age who grew up in NE Ohio loving baseball, probably had the opportunity to go to a Cleveland Indian’s game at the “old mistake by the lake” in Cleveland.
I actually use that term with true affection, as I enjoyed many a Summer night watching my beloved Indians play.
I saw my first game in July of 1965 with my Dad and 2 brothers, as we went to see my favorite player, Sam McDowell, pitch against the defending American League champs, the New York Yankees.
McDowell pitched a gem, as he shutout the Yankees, 3-0. My second favorite player, Leon Wagner, even hit a home run. Along the way, Mcdowell struck out Mickey Mantle 3 times.
During most of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, it was mostly futility for Cleveland, as the Indians rarely had a winning season. Along the way though, many great memories with many great friends took place in that ballpark.
Over the course of a 5-6 year period, I saw the Indians sweep 5 doubleheaders, when DH’s were still in vogue. I missed seeing a no-hitter pitched not once, but twice by one day during those years. (Sonny Siebert & Dick Bosman)
I even witnessed Nolan Ryan’s last win in the Major Leagues in August of 1993 at the Stadium.
I think back on those years fondly, as they were times of great enjoyment.
I know that when people talk old ballyards, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Tiger Stadium are always mentioned prominently.
But in my heart, Cleveland Stadium will always be the best.