- Cleveland Indians Legends by Russell Schneider
Native Clevelander Russ Schneider, like this reviewer, was born in May 1928, and both of us have reveled in the success and suffered through the disappointments (particularly the 1940 debacle) of the Cleveland Indians from earliest childhood. Schneider went on to be an award-winning sportswriter and columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. After covering the Indians daily from 1964 through 1977 and the Cleveland Browns later, Schneider became nationally recognized as a chronicler of the history of the Cleveland Indians. [End Page 137]
Schneider’s coffee-table book of forty Cleveland Indians legends of the twentieth century is the crowning climax to his many publications about Cleveland Indians baseball. His careful selection of ten players from each of the four quarters of the twentieth century (a total of ten of whom are in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown) provides a profound balance in the long-standing achievements of players such as Addie Joss, Nap Lajoie, and Tris Speaker (1901–25); Earl Averill, Bob Feller, and Lou Boudreau (1926–50); Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, Mike Garcia, and Larry Doby (1951–75); and Albert Bell, Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, and Jim Thome (1976–2000).
Schneider chose players who compiled outstanding statistics and also maintained playing longevity with Cleveland—hence, the omission of quality notables, for example, Cy Young, Joe Jackson, Joe Gordon, Gaylord Perry, Joe Carter, and Roberto Alomar.
A former minor leaguer and astute student of the game, Schneider demonstrates great aptitude and fairness in his selections. The hardback volume is augmented by dazzling illustrations of each legend by Tom Denny, local illustrator, designer, and art director of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Sportswriter Terry Pluto defines Schneider as the “godfather” of Cleveland baseball history. One may rightly consider this pictorial legends book as the “icing on the cake.”