Ingraham, Jim

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Jim Ingraham is an award-winning sports columnist for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and Medina Gazette. He also writes about sports for and other publications. For 30 years he was the Indians beat writer for the Lake County News-Herald/Lorain Journal.

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Mike Hargrove and the Cleveland Indians (2019)

There were spectacular highs―Rookie of the Year, All Star, World Series . . . And devastating lows―the end of his playing days, a tragic accident in his second year as manager, a heartbreaker in the World Series, being fired from the job he loved . . . Mike Hargrove truly spent a lifetime in baseball. From the sandlots of tiny Perryton, Texas, to the biggest stage, Game 7 of the World Series, he played, coached, managed . . . lived the game for four decades.

The Cleveland Indians were at the center of Hargrove’s baseball life for more than 20 years. He played for some mediocre Indians teams in the 1980s. He managed some of the best Indians teams ever in the 1990s―including five consecutive division titles, one of the most powerful offensive lineups in baseball history (Lofton, Belle, Baerga, Murray, Thome, Ramirez) and two trips to the World Series.

Not bad for a kid who didn’t play baseball in high school, was a walk-on in college and an afterthought 25th-round draft pick.

One constant in Hargrove’s roller-coaster career: Sharon Hargrove. Their 50-year marriage in an unsteady business (from 1970 to 1995, the Hargroves lived in 23 different houses) is inspiring.

This book takes a close-up look at a life and career long under-appreciated―by us, not by him―perhaps because much of it was spent in the shadows of so many big personalities. But Hargrove’s story includes big moments―both heartbreaking and heart-stopping.