I’ve decided that if there is no NBA season I am going to become a Cleveland sports book blogger. I’m pretty excited about it too, and why shouldn’t I be? With books like this new one by my man Dan Coughlin coming out, these next couple weeks are going to be pretty entertaining.
I had the honor of picking up a copy of Mr. Coughlin’s new book from the man himself on Wednesday night at the Lakewood Village Tavern, and he is the nicest guy ever. He told a couple funny stories, and I can’t wait to get all the way through his new book because I know he has stories like that packed in there from cover to cover.
His latest publication, Pass The Nuts, is kind of a sequel to his last book, Crazy, With the Papers to prove it - a great read too if you didn’t check that one out already. I’m only about forty pages into Pass The Nuts, and I will be back next week to talk more about it once I’m finished reading, but in the meantime I thought I’d leave you with this Cleveland pro basketball story the book opens with before the weekend is upon us.
That story involved George Steinbrenner, who owned an ABL Team named the Cleveland Pipers in the early 1960′s, which almost became the first NBA team in Cleveland:
The NBA team owners agreed to take Cleveland into the league as an expansion team, but there was an entry fee involved and Steinbrenner could not raise the money.
“George’s father would not give it to him,” said Cleary. “He gave him money for shipbuilding, but not for basketball.”
Unable to get into the NBA, Steinbrenner folded the Cleveland Pipers. He was out of the basketball business.
Barnett went back to the NBA, where he played for 14 seasons. One can only speculate how the sports world would have changed if Steinbrenner’s Pipers had gotten into the NBA. It is possible that Steinbrenner, while occupied with pro basketball, never would have bought the New York Yankees.
Nick Mileti’s life would have changed. He never would have founded the Cavaliers because Cleveland already would have had an NBA team. The ABL entered its second season with six teams, including Kansas City, but Saperstein pulled the plug on Dec. 31, 1962.
The ABL lost one million dollars during the 1961-62 season and was on schedule to lose another million in its second year.
The fact that we almost had George Steinbrenner owning a professional franchise in this town is almost a point we forget to bemoan as we rattle off phrases like The Fumble, The Drive, The Decision, The Shot, The Jose Mesa, and whatever else. The guy was actually from Northeast Ohio, he almost bought the Indians, and here Dan Coughlin told a story that I had never heard before of Steinbrenner actually trying to buy into the NBA in this town too. Unfortunately for George he ended up with the Yankees.
To buy a copy of Pass The Nuts – which you need to do – go here. You should also buy it as a holiday gift for the Cleveland Sports Fan in your life too.
Oh and by the way, below is a picture of me and Dan from earlier this week: