Jonathan Knight has written ten books on Cleveland sports, building a reputation as “one of the most articulate and devoted sportswriters in Ohio,” according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1976, Knight has family roots in Cleveland dating back to the mid-19th century. His first sports love was the Browns, whom he started following at age eight. The following year, he began writing a weekly Browns newsletter titled Only Dogs Allowed. Started on sheets of scrap paper, by the time Knight was in high school, the newsletter was distributed to paid subscribers, garnering notice from Dayton-area newspapers and television stations.
Knight graduated from Ohio University’s nationally renowned E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in 1999. Always disappointed he’d missed out on the magical 1980 Browns season (during which he was just four years old), Knight spent three years writing and researching his first book, Kardiac Kids: The Story of the 1980 Cleveland Browns. It was published in 2003 and was well-received by former players, coaches, and the Cleveland sports community.
The following year, Knight released his second book - Opening Day: Cleveland, the Indians, and a New Beginning – a patchwork story of the origins and impact of Jacobs Field set against the backdrop of the ballpark’s epic and symbolic first game. His third book, Sundays in the Pound: The Heroics and Heartbreak of the 1985-89 Cleveland Browns, was published in 2006 and weaves together the winding, dramatic journey of the beloved Browns teams of the late 1980s.
In 2008, Knight and Kent State University Press initiated the Classic Cleveland Series, in which three separate publications ranked the fifty greatest games in each franchise’s history. It started with Classic Browns, followed by Classic Tribe and Classic Cavs in 2009. KSU Press eventually expanded the series to include new cities and teams, with Knight serving as series editor.
Knight expanded his storytelling abilities with the release of his seventh book in 2011. Summer of Shadows: A Murder, a Pennant Race, and the Twilight of the Best Location in the Nation is an intertwining narrative that tells the story of the unforgettable 1954 Cleveland Indians and the infamous murder of the wife of Dr. Sam Sheppard.
He followed that up with what legendary Plain Dealer sportswriter Russell Schneider called “the book that Cleveland Browns fans around the world have been waiting for.” The Browns Bible: The Complete Game-by-Game History of the Cleveland Browns is the most comprehensive account of the team ever written, encapsulating every game the Browns ever played from their origin in 1946 through the 2012 season.
Perhaps Knight’s most anticipated book arrived in 2015 with the publication of The Making of Major League: A Juuuust a Bit Inside Look at the Classic Baseball Comedy. Compiling years of research and interviews with all the primary cast and crew members, Knight unveiled the behind-the-scenes story of one of the most beloved sports movies ever. He followed that up with the witty and whimsical Paul Brown's Ghost in 2018 in an attempt to explain the epic incompetence the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals have shared since the death of their mutual founder.
In addition to his books, Knight has served as an online columnist for TheClevelandFan.com, Football.com, and DidTheTribeWinLastNight.com and has also written for ClevelandBrowns.com and SportsTimeOhio.com.
His work has been been praised by readers and critics alike, including the Plain Dealer, Cleveland Scene, Cleveland Magazine, and ESPN’s Grantland.com. Knight has been a guest on numerous Northeast Ohio radio and television programs, including Feagler & Friends and All Bets Are Off With Bruce Drennan. He’s also a regular guest on the online program The Sports Fix.
Knight lives in Columbus, Ohio with his two sons.