Cleveland, Ohio – On Monday there will be an opener of Indians’ houses, and I started to think about Rocky Colavito.
He is my favorite player growing up. Perhaps my most memorable opener was in 1965. That was the time when my father took me out of school so that we could watch the game. After playing in Detroit (1960-63) and Kansas City (1964) in the first five years, Coravito has just been traded back to Cleveland.
“That might be my favorite corkscrew,”
When I called Colavito on Friday afternoon, he had a very good memory, which is usually the case. The Indians defeated the Angels 6-5 in 10 games. Wagner’s home run won the 10th game.
Before the 1960 season, Colavito had been traded to Tigers by former tribal General Motors general manager Frank Lane (he remembered, “What a despicable man”). He never wanted to leave Cleveland. He missed Cleveland. What made him “excited” was being traded back to the team in 1965.
“This is a strange part of the story,” Coravito said. “I ran into Ryan at the Old Hollendon Hotel downtown. He was looking for a ball game for someone in the city.”
Colavito said Lane told him: “(Kansas City) will trade you back to Cleveland because (owner) Charlie Finley doesn’t want to negotiate a contract with you.”
Who knows that it is true.
But as I wrote in the book, The curse of Loki Kolavitto, One of the reasons Lane traded Colavito before the 1960 season was that the contract dispute exceeded $5,000. In 1959, Colavito led the American League with 42 home runs. He also drove at a speed of 111, hitting .257 (.849 OPS). He is an All-Star player and ranked fourth in the MVP voting.
Coravito is 25 years old and has 139 home runs. In 1959, his salary was $28,000. He asks for $45,000. Then he lowered the price to $40,000.
Lane told reporters: “Rocky only hit 0.257. He hit .303 a year ago. I’m not even sure if he should get a raise.” He disbanded those home runs by indulging in “excessive strike” And Reserve Bank of India. Colavito made 86 appearances in 664 sets. By today’s standards, this made him a contact.
Colavito finally signed the contract for $35,000. Ryan is still angry that Coravito is asking for $40,000. This encourages trade.
When Colavito saw Lane before the 1965 opener, he thought of all this and more. It’s like his former boss is bothering him.
The first opener
In 1954, when Cleveland won 111 games, Colavito hit 38 HR with 116 RBI in Indiana’s AAA game while hitting .271 (.924 OPS) at the same time. This was not enough for him to enter the profession in 1955. Back to AAA, where he scored 30 HR with 306 RBI and hit .268 (.861 OPS).
After scoring 68 home runs in the first two AAA seasons, he finally opened his year in Cleveland. On April 20, 1956, he was 22 years old, the date of the first opener of the tribe. They defeated Detroit 3-1, and Wynn cast a full game early. Colavito did not participate in the competition.
He participated in the competition, most of which were not in the competition. The tribe decided to send him back to the minor again.
“I told them I would not go,” Coravito said. “I went to the press conference and watched the game with the writers.”
General manager Hank Greenberg found him there and asked Colavito to reconsider returning to a minor.
“I said’trade me,'” Coravito recalled. “I love Cleveland. That’s where I want to play. But if they don’t want me, please trade me. I don’t deserve to go back to minors.”
Colavito has similar relatives with Greenberg, who was once a right-handed athlete (331 professional HR) in New York, just like Colavito. Greenberg asked Coravito to give him three weeks to solve the roster problem, and then he will return to Cleveland.
“I believe him,” Coravito said. “He kept his promise. I went to (AAA) San Diego, and when he said I would, he took me back to Cleveland.”
In 1956, Coravito played in 101 games, hitting .276 (.903 OPS) with 21 HR and 65 RBI. He is the runner-up of Luis Aparicio’s Rookie of the Year in America.
Let’s talk about the contract
After the 1956 season, Colavito asked for a salary increase of $3,000. Greenberg fought back with $1,500. Colavito talked about his 21 HR and his outstanding rookie year.
Greenberg came back and he said, “I will give you a raise of $1,500. When you play 100 games for us (1957), I will give you another $1,500.”
“When I participated in the 100th game, I went to his office,” Colavito said. “Hank looked at me and said,’I know why you are here.’ Then he told (travel secretary) Bob Gill, “Take a Rocky check for $1,500. “Hank Greenberg is my greatest general manager of all time. He has always been his promise.”
Rocky Coravito Today
We had a long conversation on Friday, and Colavito’s voice sounded very strong. On August 11, 2015, his right leg lost its position below the knee.
“The day after my 82nd birthday,” Coravito said. “Diabetes.” He talked about learning how to walk with his prosthesis.
He said: “I have a good time.” “But I am slow. Again, I am always slow.
He talked about the Herb Score lack of Tribal pitchers and broadcasters. After a series of strokes, Score died in 2008 at the age of 75.
“We have been roommates for seven years, dating back to minors,” Coravito said. “We were as close to friends as possible. When I formed the team in 1956, I told everyone that Herb would win 20 games. He was 20-9 that season.”
Colavito knew Score’s statistics as if they were his own. When a stroke caused Score to lose the ability to speak, Collavito would still call his old friends, and they would talk and laugh. In 13 seasons, he achieved 374 HR with 1,159 RBI and a .266 field goal percentage (.848 OPS). It was 1956-68, when the rules were biased towards pitchers and they had the upper hand. Seven times, he reached at least 30 HR in a season.
Coravito, 87, will get a statue in Little Italy. For the past 39 years, he has lived in the same house outside of Reading, Pennsylvania.
“I like it,” he said. “I heard they would put it in front of the court, but it’s good. I really appreciate it. Cleveland will always be special to me.
The Talkin Tribe Open Day event will actually be held on April 5, 2021 at noon – 1:30 pm – Indian sports writers and columnists from cleveland.com and Plain Dealer will participate.Can book tickets Here. Also, join us VIP experience And have the opportunity to mingle with former Cleveland Indians and others. There are only 150 tickets for this exclusive experience, and these tickets can only be won through our website. Lucky draw.
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