Category: Sports

The ACACIA COUNTRY CLUB, located on the northeast corner of Cedar and Richmond roads in LYNDHURST, opened on 31 May 1921, although only 9 holes of its golf course were completed and it had no official clubhouse. Originally limited to Masons, it was later opened to non-Masons. The club covered 300 acres and offered some of the finest golfing in the area.

The city of Cleveland had eleven professional baseball teams in the organized Negro Leagues between 1920 and 1950. Many of these teams only survived for one season in the Negro Leagues because of a number of issues; usually financial problems or disorganization.

Please see individual biographies for more details on each team:

ALBRITTON, DAVID (13 April 1913-14 May 1994) made his marks as a high jumper in the Olympic Games and as a pioneering African American in the Ohio General Assembly. He was born in Danville, Ala., which was also the hometown of JESSIE OWENS, the son of Peter and Josephine Albritton.

The ALI-WEPNER FIGHT on 24 Mar. 1975 was the first major boxing match in Cleveland since the SCHMELING-STRIBLING FIGHT of 1931. The uneven contest matched the reigning heavyweight champion of the world, Mohammed Ali (formerly Cassius Clay), against Chuck Wepner, a liquor salesman from Bayonne, NJ.

ATKINS (NUSBAUM), LARRY (LAWRENCE) (3 Mar. 1903-24 July 1981), was a nationally known boxing matchmaker and fight promoter from the 1930s to the 1960s. Atkins was born in Cleveland to Michael and Fannie Pasternak Nusbaum. He attended East Tech and Glenville High School and was a bat boy for the CLEVELAND INDIANS as well as a boyhood friend of Blob Hope.

AVERILL, HOWARD EARL (21 May 1902-17 Aug. 1983), the "Earl of Snohomish," was centerfielder for the CLEVELAND INDIANS from 1929-39, and a consistent .300 hitter during the 1930s. Averill was born in Snohomish, Wash., completing 9 years of school and working various jobs, from construction camps to sawmills.

BALL PARK MUSTARD. See JOSEPH BERTMAN INC.


BANG, EDWARD F. "ED" (28 Apr. 1880-27 Apr. 1968) was sports editor of the CLEVELAND NEWS for 53 years. Born in Sandusky, Ohio, to Charles and Rose Bang, he worked at the Sandusky Register and then in Youngstown before he was hired by the News. He became sports editor in 1907. Bang was influential on the local and national sports scene.

BASEBALL. Professional baseball in Cleveland emerged in the late 1860s from the area's informal amateur baseball circuit. Initially, the line between amateur and professional play was tenuous.

The BASEBALL ALL-STAR GAMES were held at CLEVELAND MUNICIPAL STADIUM 4 times, on 8 July 1935, 13 July 1954, 9 July 1963, and 9 August 1981. The 1997 All-Star Game was held at Jacobs Field. The 1935, 1954, and 1981 games set All-Star attendance records.

The BASEBALL WORLD SERIES has been played in Cleveland 5 times, when the CLEVELAND INDIANS won the American League championship in 1920, 1948, 1954, 1995, and 1997. They went on to win the series in 1920 and 1948. Cleveland played the Brooklyn Dodgers in a best-of-9 series in 1920.

BASKETBALL. Unlike other team games that evolved over a long period, basketball was invented to provide an easy-to-learn, exciting, inexpensive team sport that could be played in a gym during the winter months. Created in 1891 by James Naismith, physical-education instructor at the Intl. YMCA Training School in Springfield, MA, the game gained immediate popularity, spreading through Y's all over the country.

BERTMAN, JOSEPH (1902-20 Oct. 1988), noted for his Ball Park mustard first used at LEAGUE PARK in the late 1920s and then at CLEVELAND MUNICIPAL STADIUM for many years, was born in Lublin, Poland in 1902 and came to this area with his parents as a child. Working as a deliveryman for William Edwards Co.

BLACK BASEBALL TEAMS. See CLEVELAND BUCKEYES.

BOATING (RECREATIONAL). Recreational boating, more specifically yachting, became an organized sport in Cleveland in 1878 when GEO. GARDNER founded the Cleveland Yachting Assn., subsequently known as the CLEVELAND YACHT CLUB.

BOCK, JOSEPH COURTNEY (24 Sept. 1913-14 Feb. 1992), musical prodigy and outstanding amateur tennis player, was born in Cleveland the son of Peter D. and Laura Henrich Bock. He attended Western Reserve University studying the liberal arts. Bock also was an accomplished musician playing the piano and violin at a young age.

BONNE BELL RUN was an annual 10-kilometer race for women of all ages, sponsored by BONNE BELL, INC., of LAKEWOOD. This run, one of the first in the nation open exclusively to women, was begun in 1976 when Bonne Bell underwrote 10K races in New York, Aspen, Boston, Cleveland, and Atlanta.

BOWLING, once the leading participant sport in the nation, bowling's growth was tied to the development of the large urban areas where the game was most popular. In its early days, bowling was essentially a workingman's sport played in taverns, where a few alleys were set up to attract the drinking trade; as interest in the game grew, however, it moved away from its saloon-origin and gained respectability.

BOXING & WRESTLING. For most of the 19th century, the contact sports of boxing and wrestling were frowned on by the educated public and were seldom written about by Cleveland newspapers. As Cleveland grew in population, however, the demand for indoor recreation and spectator sports increased, and boxing and wrestling became popular despite continued legal problems and newspaper criticism.

BROCK (SLOMOVITZ) PHILIP (ca. 1890-?), one of the finest lightweight boxers in the early 1900s, was the son of Russian immigrants Abraham and Anna Slomovitz. Brock, who fought in the era of the padded glove, was noted for the effectiveness of his left-hand punch and his staying power in the ring. Managed locally by Dave Langdon, Brock participated in boxing matches all over the country.

BROWN, PAUL E. (7 Sept. 1908-5 Aug. 1991) was the head coach of the CLEVELAND BROWNS from its beginnings in 1946 through 1962. An innovative and highly successful coach at all levels, Brown developed coaching procedures that revolutionized modern football and earned him election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967.

BUDWEISER-CLEVELAND 500. See GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND.


BURKE, EDMUND STEVENSON JR. (February 1, 1879-April 7, 1962) wealthy banker and sportsman, was born in Cleveland, the son of Edmund S. and Julia Fritz Burke. He graduated from UNIVERSITY SCHOOL in 1896 and attended Princeton University for four years, where he played baseball and football.

BURKETT, JESSE CAIL "CRAB" (12 Feb. 1870-27 May 1953), a left-handed outfielder for the CLEVELAND SPIDERS from 1891-98, holds the record with Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby for hitting .400 or over during 3 seasons. Born in Wheeling, W.Va.

The CANTERBURY GOLF CLUB was established in 1921 by John York, Lynn W. Ellis, and several other members of Cleveland's UNIV. CLUB. It is located on S. Woodland Rd., a short distance east of Warrensville Ctr. Rd. Canterbury opened on 1 July 1922 as a men's-only club. In 1923 a women's golf committee forced it to open its course to women.