Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Cleveland Rams: The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon, 1936-1945

BOOK REVIEW
By John Turney
Wow, I just finished the McFarland Books volume The Cleveland Rams: The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon, 1936-1945 a new book by James C. Sulecki and I was impressed. If you are into NFL history, this one will give you more information than you thought possible on the Cleveland Rams. The end notes, bibliography, and index are over fifty pages in length. I am not sure I've seen a better-researched football book. There are some that equal this, but I honestly cannot say any surpass the work of Sulecki.
 Note: Photos in this post are not in book, they are PFJ Colorizations 
In this volume Sulecki details the first iteration of the Rams, the time in Cleveland that preceded Los Angeles, then St. Louis, then Los Angeles. It was a team that began as an expansion team in 1937 and won an NFL Championship in 1945 with a rookie quarterback, Bob Waterfield, who was also the NFL MVP. And soon after that left Cleveland for sunny Southern California.

Note: Photos in this post are not in book, they are PFJ Colorizations 

It is also detailed in this book the move from the American Football League to the National Football League in 1937, something I had always had questions about. It also reviews the failures of Cleveland professional football in the previous decade and a half, which is also informative.
Note: Photos in this post are not in book, they are PFJ Colorizations 
Also of note is the lost season of 1943 which the Rams missed due to World War II and their players being dispersed to other teams that year.

Sulecki also does nice profiles of the Rams star players like Johnny Drake, Parker Hall, the NFL MVP in 1939 as a rookie, Waterfield, and others.

The book is illustrated with black and white photos, images of game programs, official Cleveland Rams and NFL documents, and charts which are a nice added touch. Th final chapters document the 1945 championship season and has a nice appendix of "What Became of Select Individuals" that describes where some of the key figures in the Cleveland-era ended up and what they became or accomplished.
Note: Photos in this post are not in book, they are PFJ Colorizations 

So, have to say, I liked it very much. One of the better football books and one that could challenge for a spot in Chris Willis's Top 100 Pro Football Books of All-Time: Part Five - 20-1 at some point in the future when Chris updates his series.

Note: Photos in this post are not in book, they are PFJ Colorization
On a scale of 1-10, I rate this one as a 9 . . . very well done.

You can get it at the above link or  HERE or 1-800-253-2187

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