Somewhere, there is an author who reads Mark Bona’s extraordinary “Hidden History of Cleveland Sports” and wonders “Why I couldn’t find it.”
With the decision of the Cleveland Indians to change the name, there is fierce speculation about what the team will be called next. The “Spiders” are highly favored because of their history, or perhaps despite their heritage. The 1899 Cleveland Spiders hold the record for the worst single season in Major League Baseball history.
Who knew about Cleveland Infants in the eight-team Players League? Bona is shaken by their story, including the fact that it was their center fielder who came up with the idea of having the president (then William Howard Taft) throw the first ball of the season.
After a chapter on former Akron football coach John Hayesman and the beloved but nasty Chief Wahoo mascot, he returns to Spider and is followed by an Indian near-miss purchase by the Cleveland Crusader’s and George Steinbrenner of the World Hockey Association.
Bona has unearthed so many stories that it would be a mistake to try to absorb them all at once. Readers may want to take a break before the chapter on how Bruce Springsteen saxophonist Clarence Clemons approached playing for the Browns. The life of former Negro League loose Easter, who played for the Indians for six years, has come to a sad end, and there are other stories of tragedy and victory.
It would be a mistake to characterize this book as trivia. These stories are important and need to be known.
“The Hidden History of Cleveland Sports” (160 pages, softcover) costs $ 21.99 from The History Press. Marc Bona is a feature writer at Cleveland.com / The Plain Dealer and lives in Akron.
“Muffin Man Chronicle”
The Akron Marathon has been a local institution since 2003. Who founded it? Steve Marks from Akron, whose main street muffins have grown from downtown storefronts to a national supplier of bakery products, shares his business strategy with Muffin Man Chronicles: Recipe for Success as an Entrepreneur.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Akron, Marks got a job at a downtown company. One day in 1985, his father invited him to an auction of sheriffs at lunch at the courthouse. There, South Main Street buildings were sold without tax payments. Marks realized he was bidding on a property he had never seen before, and became a near-five-story disaster owner.
Marks recruited his best friend Harvey Nelson, whom he met at the nursery school, and thought about what to do with the building. When they visited a mall in Los Angeles, they saw a muffin shop doing a tremendous business. While Nelson was working on a building renovation, Marks quit his job looking for investors and grants, and in the summer of 1987 they opened a retail store.
Marks explains the difficulties faced by young companies, not forgetting the initial tensions with his partner. The cafeteria owner asked to buy muffin dough, which led to a wholesale and arrangement with a local McDonald’s franchise. The “Muffins for Mammograms” program started in 1992. A few years later, the partner started the process that made up the majority of the book, the sale of the business. After a while, the new owner asked Marks and Nelson to return to their executive roles. They eventually bought back the business, but only resold it. The complex process of enterprise resource planning is called “a huge headache.”
In this slim book, Marks demonstrates his product, employee, ethics, and dedication to the community. Main Street Muffins are now Main Street Gourmet.
“The Muffin Man Chronicles” (164 pages, softcover) costs $ 15.99 from Parafine Press.
Kaiyahoga County Public Library: Authors Gervais Hagerty (“InPolite Company”), Victoria Benton Frank (“Teddy Spaghetti”), poet Marjory Wentworth, Cassandra King Conroy (“Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy”), Mary Alice Monroe (“The Story of Lost”) and Found ”), Adriana Trigani (“Shoemaker’s Wife”), Patti Callahan Henry (“Between the Tides”), and “Reunion Beach: A Tribute to Dorothea Benton Frank” are all contributors at 5 pm on Monday. From 6 o’clock. Thursday from 7pm to 8pm, O. Two-time Henry Award-winning Ron Rush reads from his story collection, In the Valley. Please register at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Literature Cleveland: The annual Inkubator, with free workshops, panel discussions and readings by prominent writers, will continue to be held today at the 1:00 pm workshop “Witness: Reclaiming Our Stories for Connection” until July 25th. I will.
Medina County District Library: Children’s writer and illustrator Peter Brown (his “Creepy Carrots!” Won the 2013 Caldecott Medal and “The Curious Garden” won the 2010 EB White Read Aloud Award) will be on Tuesday from 10:30 am to 11 am Zoom visit until 30:30. Please register at medina.lib.oh.us.
Learned owl bookstore (204 N. Main St., Hudson): AD Adams signs his fantasy novel “Mark of the Dragon” from 1 pm to 3 pm on Saturday.
Visible voice book (Professor 2258 Avenue, Cleveland): New Orleans-based poet Tariona “Tank” Ball is nominated for Best New Artist at the 2020 Grammy Awards for Band Tank and the Bangas, and her debut poetry collection “Vulnerable AF,” Saturday from 1 pm to 2 pm.
Akron Summit County Public Library: Akron author Bobby Jackson will showcase “how to publish, promote and sell books” at a zoom event Saturday from 2pm to 3pm. Register at akronlibrary.org.