August Busch Jr.
"He was everything a ballplayer should be," Akron Beacon Journal columnist Terry Pluto wrote in his 1994 book, "The Curse of Rocky Colavito." "Best of all, he had a nickname. Baseball fans love nicknames, especially when they fit."That nickname, of course, was "The Rock," and it was, indeed, fitting for a man who served as the rock of the Tribe. But in 1960, "The Rock" was cast into new waters, much to his own chagrin. "If you think I still hold a grudge," he said, years later, "you're right." And if you think Indians fans were upset about the trade, you're right about that, as well. In fact, Pluto's book was the first written account of a long-held belief among Tribe fans that the Colavito trade prompted a decades-long curse on their beloved ballclub. From 1960 through 1993, the last year at Municipal Stadium, the Indians never finished within 11 games of first place. That was too much of a coincidence for fans to ignore. But the disgust over the 1960 trade that shipped Colavito out of Cleveland -- and, for that matter, the ill-conceived 1965 trade that brought him back -- never negatively affected fans' view of the man himself. Colavito, inducted into the Indians Hall of Fame in 2006, remains one of the most beloved players in the Tribe's long history. Colavito just wishes he could have stayed a little longer. "I would have been at home," he said with a tinge of bitterness. "I would have played longer."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.