Monday, November 21, 2011
Joe Tait:It's been a Real Ball
Cover of Joe Tait's Biography, "It's Been a Real Ball" co-authored with Terry Pluto..Gray and Company Publishers
Terry Pluto at one time has covered both the Indians and the Cavaliers in a long newspaper career..Currently a Sports and Faith Columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and frequent guest on "More Sports and Les Levine"..aired Monday-Friday at 6PM with an 11PM repeat on Time Warner Cable Northeast Ohio Network (NEON). He has also authored over 20 sports books, many of them classics..
Here on the blog we have written twice about Joe Tait..The time of his 3,000th NBA game and at his retirement in April 2011..It's no secret I am a Tait fan as from 1971-72 I have listened to Tait call Cleveland Cavaliers Basketball action (as well as the Indians)
It has always been hoped that Tait would someday write a book. According to all indications, he never thought he was that interesting..And never wanted to go through the process..It was a surprise that Tait was the one to ask Terry Pluto, "Well, what about that book?"..So The process was begun this spring..The result is a smorgasbord of Joe Tait Stories, many never made public before..His Illinois upbringing, with a stern Father Figure..Joe's lifelong love for trains, his early Radio work..A friendship with Bill Fitch that would lead to the big leagues as he became the Cavaliers Radio announcer in 1970. The Early Cavaliers years, where there was some doubt the franchise would survive..The Miracle Of Richfield..The Stepien years..His Indians work from 1973-87..Back to the Cavs after a couple of years away..The Lebron years..Some of the people mentioned include Indians announcer Bob Neal, who had a fairly large ego..Frank Robinson, who blamed Tait for getting him fired as Indians Manager in 1977, Ted Stepien, worst owner ever in pro sports..Pete Franklin..and many others..
Much of the book is also taken up with memories of Joe from fans, players and broadcasters, some who worked with Joe and others who looked up to Joe as a Mentor in other broadcasting jobs..Joe Tait, from his earliest jobs in broadcasting, always worked hard and went the extra mile..He also went the extra mile for fans whether it be writing a letter, impromptu invitation to sit with Joe at dinner, an autograph or just taking time to say hello..Joe "Got it" from a fan's standpoint..
As a whole, the book is just a delight. While it covers much of Joe's life biographically it is just as much a book of Cleveland Sports History from 1970-2011 as anything else..I guarantee you will not be able to put it down..
Link to Gray and Company: