Author details how Rams franchise started in Cleveland

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CLEVELAND — Author Jim Sulecki spent two years gathering newspaper clippings and photos so he could write a book called “The Cleveland Rams, the NFL Champions Who Gone Too Soon.”

He released it in 2016. He said it’s excerpts from the history of the Cleveland Rams.


What do you want to know

  • Author Jim Sulecki spent two years gathering newspaper clippings and photos so he could write a book called The Cleveland Rams, The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon.
  • He wanted to raise awareness that the team was not from Los Angeles or St. Louis
  • He found excerpts from newspaper articles that reported the Rams might move West, but they never ran due to a newspaper strike at the time.
  • Sulecki believes the team left because they lost money in their senior year at Cleveland in 1945

“It’s been a wrap since the Rams’ very first season here,” he said.

He wanted to raise awareness that the team was not from Los Angeles or St. Louis.

“A lot of people said ‘well, I never knew that,’ so obviously there was a story that hadn’t been covered,” Sulecki said.

The Rams became a franchise in 1936. Sulecki credits the Rams with designing the first logo for the helmets, which were leather at the time. A replica of this design is on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“The Rams were really trying to get past the idea that it’s not a standout animal that it’s more of something that would be rough and tough,” Sulekci said.

He eventually wanted to know why they left town and found newspaper snippets saying the team was staying in Cleveland.

“There were these rumors that kind of haunted the rams for about three or four years that they were going to move out,” Sulecki said.

In fact, he found clips of newspaper articles that reported that the team owner had denied the Rams would move West, but they never showed up due to a newspaper strike in the city. ‘era.

“It was just days before he got permission from other NFL owners to move his team to Los Angeles,” Sulecki said.

He wonders what would have happened if the stories had been released.

“People speculated about it,” he said. “Would there have been such public pressure to stay here?”

Sulecki believes the team left because they lost money in their senior year at Cleveland in 1945, despite winning their first NFL championship. He said the city hasn’t adopted the Rams yet.

They were the fourth NFL franchise to play in Cleveland.

“There was a potentially much larger market. Bigger stadium. More money,” Sulecki said.

The Cleveland Rams played about half of their regular season games at League Park, and Sulecki said they were the only NFL franchise to leave their city immediately after winning a championship.

Sulecki said they packed up and left just under a month after their championship win. The snow on the ground still did not hide the old dimensions of the football pitch.

“It was the end zone,” Sulecki said as he crossed the pitch.

For him, League Park may be a baseball field now, but there are remnants of the Rams stadium that are hidden in plain sight.

“You can still see the outline of the ramp that was where the ramp exited the street,” Sulecki said as he strolled through the park.

He hopes to highlight how this recess relic has deep ties to football and baseball. The League Park sign as people enter makes no mention of the Rams.

“League Park is not associated with professional football as much. But some of the biggest names in professional football in the 1930s and 1940s actually played on this pitch,” Sulecki said.

He added that fans could only wonder how many other legends would have played here if the Rams hadn’t left.

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