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Books / The reporter and the curse

Mark Sommer does right by Rocky Colavito


Buffalo News reporter Mark Sommer has been an avid baseball enthusiast since age ten. In his early teens, Sommer, a Yankees fan, got interested in an Italian-American outfielder named Rocky Colavito, who had become famous while playing for the Cleveland Indians, and, in 1960, was inexplicably traded by the Indians to Detroit, after five spectacular seasons in Cleveland. By the time Sommer was watching him, Colavito was finishing up his career, playing for the Kansas City A’s, again with Cleveland, then the Chicago White Sox, the LA Dodgers, and, finally, the NY Yankees. He retired in 1968. Sommer was interested in the bizarre trade of such a promising and popular player and spent his bar mitzvah money on a book about Colavito.


Fast forward to 2017. By this time, the Curse of Colavito was well-known—Cleveland went into a thirty-four year slump after the fateful trade. Sommer found that no other Colavito book had been written and decided that a player so talented, yet so bedeviled by a career-crushing trade, was worth another book. Sommer had the advantage of extensive interviews with Colavito himself, who’s eighty-five. The title is being released this month with a July 5 event at Cleveland’s State Theatre. Buffalo readings and signings are coming.


Here’s what Mark Goldman—a Buffalo-based activist and entrepreneur who’s written award-winning books himself—says about Sommer’s baseball bio: “Rocky Colavito: Cleveland’s Iconic Slugger is about baseball, it’s about Cleveland, and in a very real sense, it’s about America.”


Visit rockycolavitobiography.com to learn more.



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