Book Review: Burying the Curse, By Terry Pluto

BuryingtheCurseTo many, Terry Pluto has been the most trusted voice of Cleveland sports over the past two decades. Through his tenure with the Akron Beacon Journal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Pluto had readers waiting for the paper to get his specific view on whatever issue was going on at that time.

Pluto has also written more books about Cleveland sports than anyone, ever. One of them, Burying the Curse: How the Indians became the best team in baseball, is the subject of today’s review.

Published in 1995, at the height of the Indians dominance in the American League’s Central Division, Pluto chronicles how a historically putrid franchise rose to the top of MLB. The Indians had been cursed for years, Pluto reports, with bad drafting and ownership that wasn’t willing to put up the money for talent that could actually win on the field.

In the book, Pluto picks apart the important parts of a season that Tribe fans will remember for the rest of their lives. Games are highlighted in which former Indian teams would have certainly thrown in the towel, but that this version kept fighting for a victory, even if it took extra innings to do so.

One of those games was the game in which the Indians clinched their first division title in more than 40 years. They were leading the division by almost 25 games and had a ton of baseball left to play, even in the strike shortened season, but it was a joyous day for those on the shores of Lake Erie. For the first time in nearly half a century, their team was being heralded as the team to beat.

As most know, that season did not end the way most dream stories do, as the Indians lost to the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. This book does a good job of depicting the actions and feelings of the Indians faithful during and after that season. Even though many wanted the World Series win, the Indians were still thrown a large parade when they returned home, and to outsiders, it would have seemed like they won it all.

Perhaps fans and writers alike were so confident because they knew the nucleus of the team was there to stay for a few more years, so bringing the real championship home seemed like little more than a formality.

Overall, Pluto does a great job painting the picture, an accurate picture of that memorable season in 1995, and he does it from somewhere between a fan and a journalist’s perspective. Cleveland had never seen anything like it and neither had Pluto, which shows in the writing of the book. This book illustrates that no one in Northeast Ohio, no matter their stature in the sporting world could have expected, or dreamed, what transpired on the diamond that year.

Book Grade: 3.75/5

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