Cleveland Rocks: Historic Victories for Cleveland Sports Teams

Cleveland Rocks: Historic Victories for Cleveland Sports Teams

Cleveland Rocks: Historic Victories for Cleveland Sports Teams

By Kieran Robertson

As students of history, examining sports can tell us a lot about a society. Just think about how important Jackie Robinson (or Ohio’s Larry Doby) is to understanding the story of civil rights, or how important Title IX is to understanding women’s history. In Cleveland, Ohio, sports teams have often served to bring the city together, normally to a rousing chorus of “there’s always next year.” But just this week, the Cleveland Cavaliers brought home the NBA Championship title, and the city erupted in celebration.

Believe it or not, this was not the first time Cleveland, Ohio, had the chance to celebrate a huge victory.

Here’s a look back on a few sporting celebrations in Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1948, the Cleveland Indians baseball team won the World Series. In the image below, Clevelanders celebrate in Public Square.  The city may begin to resemble this photograph yet again when the Cavs hold a celebratory parade this Wednesday.

In 1954, the Cleveland Browns football team celebrated in the locker room after their victory over the Detroit Lions granted them the World’s Championship. Unfortunately, both of Cleveland’s biggest football trophies came before the official start of the Super Bowl (1967). This photo was produced by the United Press in December 1954.

As the recent Cavaliers victory is highlighted on the news, many have mentioned that Cleveland sports have not brought home a title in 52 years. This last title was the Cleveland Browns 1964 National Football League (NFL) Championship. Led by players that are now legendary for many Clevelanders, the team beat the Baltimore Colts, 27-0. 

After the Browns won the NFL Championship, a short article in the December 28, 1964, edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer read, “Every citizen of Greater Cleveland today can feel a little happier, a little more elated. It’s a thrill to have the champs…Cleveland won’t forget it for a long, long time.”  In 2016, it looks like this writer was correct.

Do you have any great Ohio sports memories? How have sports (professional or recreational) defined your community? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Above: A 1940 view of Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium where both baseball and football were played.

Image Information:
Below is some information on the collections in the OHC archives where these images are preserved.
1. The Cavs hat featured as the thumbnail image for this post on our blog homepage is part of the object collection at the Ohio History Connection. The real hat is preserved in OHC’s storage facility.
2. The banner image for this blog post (Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium) can be seen just above this list. It is part of a collection titled SC 4888 and can be viewed here on Ohio Memory.
3. The celebration of the 1948 World Series is part of SC 876 Cleveland Streets.
4. The Browns celebration of their 1954 win is part of SC 338 Cleveland Browns. This image is preserved in the Ohio History Connection archives courtesy of United Media.
5. The Plain Dealer headline can be viewed on microfilm at OHC’s Archives/Library on Microfilm Roll 2069.

Posted June 21, 2016
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