By happy chance, I stumbled tonight onto a story on Cleveland.com about one of the great occasions in Cleveland Indians’ history, the night 50 years ago when Rocky Colavito slugged four home runs against the Orioles in Baltimore. That was June 10, 1959.
I wish I could say I remember the game, but I was only two years old at the time. The Rock’s performance is legendary in Cleveland history, and it was part of the Gospel of Baseball my father imparted to me.
The names Colavito (Rocco Domenico), Francona (Tito) and Minoso (Minnie) were among the first I learned after “Mommy” and “Daddy.” For years, Mom would laugh recalling my efforts to pronounce Minoso, which apparently came out something like “Mimoso.”
Colavito was my favorite player, always. I have no doubt that I cried, as many Clevelanders did, when Rocky was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn. But the Tribe got Rocky back a few years later, an event I still count among my greatest sports memories. (We post-’48 Clevelanders have to grab on to what we can, understand?)