Sports

Sports have played a key role in Cleveland's history, confirming its status as a "major league town," and uniting a diverse population passionate about their city's teams. Venues where Cleveland's teams play have changed. Some have been torn down to make way for new stadiums, while others remain as relics of past glory. You may know the Browns, Cavaliers, and Indians, but the city also was home to the namesake for the Heisman Trophy, an amateur baseball game that purportedly drew 115,000 spectators (in 1915!), and a boxing champion with a neighborhood named for him. From Cleveland’s storied Czech Sokol gymnasts to its 1948 World Series, Cleveland sports truly are major.


The construction of the massive, 70,000 seat Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the 1930s spelled the end for a much older stadium: League Park. Constructed in 1891 east of downtown in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood, League Park – despite renovations in 1910 that replaced the original wood with…
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Hidden within the lore of Cleveland sports history, the Cleveland Buckeyes existed in an era of war and racial strife. Overshadowed by the Indians' World Series title in 1948, the Buckeyes were a very prominent team in the Negro American League, having won a World Series in 1945. The unfortunate decline of the Buckeyes was not a result of decreased competitive play on the field, but rather the…
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As you look at the vast asphalt parking lot stretching from the Winking Lizard to Giant Eagle, it is hard to believe that the area in front of you was once one of the most exciting places in Lakewood. National tennis tournaments, softball world championships, Al Capone's bulletproof Cadillac,…
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The Cleveland Leader dubbed the west side neighborhood near Herman Avenue and West 74th Street "Kilbane Town," in honor of world featherweight boxing champion Johnny Kilbane. In March 1912, Kilbane Town was the end point of one of the longest and largest St. Patrick's Day parades in…
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Cleveland has a rich history of amateur and professional boxing. Much of it derives from the establishment of a number of athletic clubs and gymnasiums that were started on the near west side in the the late nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth centuries. St. Malachi's La Salle Literary and Athletic Club in 1894. Jimmy Dunn's gymnasium at 2618 Detroit in 1910. Danny Dunn's…
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On October 23, 1869, one of football's most iconic figures was born in Ohio City. Today he is best known as the namesake of the most prestigious award in college football, the Heisman Memorial Trophy. The trophy is awarded annually to the nation's most outstanding college football player.…
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On October 10, 1915, the natural amphitheater at what is now Cleveland Metroparks Brookside Reservation hosted possibly the largest crowd to ever assemble for an amateur sporting event. Attendance of the baseball game was estimated at between 80,000 and 115,000 by newspapers, park staff and city…
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The National Air Races finally came to Cleveland Municipal (now Cleveland-Hopkins International) Airport in 1929. Local businessmen Louis W. Greve and Frederick C. Crawford played a big role in bringing the event to Cleveland. Both men were involved in the aviation industry -- then thriving in…
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The demolition of Cleveland Municipal Stadium officially began in November 1996 and was complete by the following spring. In the fall of 1995, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell decided to move the city's football team to Baltimore. Angry fans began the demolition process themselves during the…
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From 1937 to 1945, Cleveland Municipal Stadium—now the site of FirstEnergy Stadium—was home to the Cleveland Rams for 20 of their 35 National Football League home games in Cleveland, including their triumph in the 1945 NFL championship game as the first Cleveland team since the 1924 Bulldogs to win…
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The Arena at 3717 Euclid Avenue was built in 1937 by sports promoter Albert C. Stuphin. Originally designed to be the home ice for Stuphin's Cleveland Barons hockey team (which until that point had played further up Euclid Avenue at the Elysium), the Arena also hosted many other sporting…
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In the early 1990s, William Barrow, director of Cleveland State University's Cleveland Memory Project, discovered something interesting about his great uncle Thomas Cooper Barrow. Not only had Tom owned a driving range during the Great Depression, but it was located along Euclid Avenue's…
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