What a better way to add on to the already-fantastic All-Star Weekend set for Cleveland this year than by celebrating one of the Indians’ best players of all-time in Rocky Colavito.
The Return of Rocky Colavito is an event featuring the legend himself along with some of his teammates from back in the day. Additionally, there will be readings from author Mark Sommer’s new book Rocky Colavito: Cleveland’s Iconic Sugger.
Inspiration for this book came as Sommer truly had an admiration for “The Rock” as a kid growing up. He even mimicked his famous batting stance as a player himself. Every Indians fan is familiar with the name and the infamous “curse” when the Tribe traded Colavito to the Tigers for Harvey Kuenn, the AL Batting Champ at the time.
Now, Colavito himself did not place any curse on the Indians out of spite. This was created by the fans of Cleveland out of disappointment with the end results of the trade and the many years of subsequent losing.
“I love Cleveland,” Colavito said. “It’s always been my favorite town and place to play. I’ve always felt Cleveland had the best fans. They seemed to like me, and I loved them. I hope they will join me at the State Theatre during All-Star Week.”
While Kuenn was a phenomenal player, he did not carry himself in a way that excited the crowd like Rocky did. Colavito always made sure to sign autographs for every fan that wanted one, just one of his many special traits.
Before Rocky, there was the talk of moving the franchise out of Cleveland. The electricity he brought back to the city, in both of his times here, showed in the massive increase of attendance that saved the team.
In his 14-year career (1955-1969), Colavito hit .266, 374 HR, 1730 H, 1159 RBI & 970 runs. 190 HR & 570 RBI came as a member of the Indians (two separate stints totaling eight years). Truly, one of the best home run hitters to bat from the right side of the plate.
Colavito turns 86 in August and suffers from diabetes. This event is a rare opportunity to see a living legend live and in person.
“The book retails for $29.95. Pre-orders are available at rockycolavitobiography.com. Tickets for the Playhouse Square are on sale online or at 216-241-6000 and the box office at 1519 Euclid Ave., Cleveland (hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Sunday).”
A special thanks to Mr. Sommer for taking the time to speak with me.