LEWIS, FRANKLIN ALLAN "WHITEY" (18 Jan. 1904-12 Mar. 1958), sports editor of the CLEVELAND PRESS from 1939-58, was born in Lafayette, Ind., to John R. and Mae (Armacost) Lewis and grew up on Cleveland's east side. Lewis was an All-Senate football halfback at Glenville High School and the catcher for the Edelweiss Cream Cheese sandlot baseball team. After 1 year at Purdue University, Lewis moved to Florida, writing for several newspapers. In 1929 he returned to Cleveland as the boxing writer and assistant sports editor of the Press. Lewis left the Press in 1937 and worked for 2 years as a sportscaster at radio station WGAR, but returned to the Press as sports columnist and editor. He wrote in the language of the typical fans, whom he called "Joes and Josephines." Two of his campaigns were to build a baseball fence in Municipal Stadium to make more home runs possible, and to clean up the lakefront for more public recreational use. Lewis worked to keep boxing and horse racing honest to protect betting fans.
To find out what average fans thought, Lewis watched games from the bleachers. In 1945 he toured the Pacific war zones to inform servicemen what was going on in the sports world. His book, The Cleveland Indians (1949), was a bestseller. In the 1930s, he wrote and published several popular songs. He was at Tucson, Ariz., covering the Indians' spring training in 1958 when he died of a heart attack. He married Helen Virginia Palmer in 1939. The couple had no children.
Lewis, Franklin. The Cleveland Indians (1949).