“The most comprehensive documentation of the Browns’ 1980 team…Jonathan Knight, who was 4 at the time, relives the season in delicious detail.”
-Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“…thoroughly researched…taking the reader through the bone-chilling winter when Cleveland football fans fell in love with their team.”
-Akron Beacon Journal
Every longtime Cleveland sports fan knows about “Red Right 88,” the play that ended the Browns’ 1980 season. Quarterback Brian Sipe’s ill-fated throw, intended for tight end Ozzie Newsome, was intercepted by Oakland in the end zone, bringing to a halt Cleveland’s “kardiac” campaign.
In Kardiac Kids Jonathan Knight paints a portrait of the Browns’ storybook 1980 season and its impact on the city of Cleveland. Knight takes us through that unforgettable year from beginning to end, describing in great detail how the city simply fell in love with this team.
Though the Cleveland Browns boast four world championships and possess a rich and respected past, the magical 1980 season was clearly the most memorable in team history. Kardiac Kids is a tribute to that team.
“Opening Day offers great players, high stakes, and the hinge of history turning as a new era in Cleveland sports begins.”
-Bill Livingston, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“I thought I knew everything worth knowing about the first game at Jacobs Field, but Jonathan Knight surprised me with his exhaustively researched account.”
-Bob Dyer, Akron Beacon Journal
“Reading Opening Day is like going to the game with a good friend.”
-Cleveland Plain Dealer
Opening Day is sportswriter Jonathan Knight’s inning-by-inning look at the opening game at Jacobs Field on April 4, 1994. New home to the Cleveland Indians, “The Jake” was for fans symbolic of the team’s turnaround. For the regional community this ballpark marked the beginning of Cleveland’s long-awaited renaissance.
The redemption of the Indians began in 1986, when the Jacobs brothers, Richard and David, purchased the underfinanced and mismanaged franchise. And despite a devastating 1991 season, when the Tribe lost a record 105 games and finished in last place, 34 games behind the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays, the team and its fans persevered. The Jacobs’ legacy culminated in the opening of Jacobs Field, variously described as “a jewel” and Cleveland’s “field of dreams,” in the spring of 1994. The Indians made more postseason appearances in their first five years at Jacobs Field than in the previous ninety-three seasons of franchise history.
Author Jonathan Knight skillfully recaptures memorable moments from opening days of the past, creating this story that shows how the fortunes of the team and the city converged. On that day in early April, the Indians and the City of Cleveland together experienced a true opening day—one in which the past was forgotten and the future was clear and bright.
Sundays in the Pound
“…likely to revive the Browns spirit in faithful fans…and help them fondly remember the ‘Dawg Days.’”
-Akron Beacon Journal
Before Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore, and before the frustrating expansion years and countless front office mistakes of the twenty-first century, there were the Browns of the late 1980s. The years 1985 to 1989 saw the Cleveland Browns explode out of a decade and a half of inconsistency and mediocrity to win four American Football Conference Central Division titles and make the playoffs five straight years. Twice they came within inches of a Super Bowl appearance, led by an unforgettable cast of characters Cleveland embraced and still cherishes. These teams are perhaps the most memorable in the history of Cleveland professional sports.
Sundays in the Pound traces quarterback Bernie Kosar’s winding path from Youngstown to Florida to Cleveland, explains why there was so much more to running back Earnest Byner than one unforgotten fumble, and reveals how cornerback Hanford Dixon created a canine phenomenon in the endzone stands that has persevered to this day. Author Jonathan Knight delves into “the Drive” and “the Fumble”; examines the fairy-tale performance of an aging veteran quarterback who directed the Browns through the snow and into the playoffs in his final game at the old, cavernous Cleveland Stadium on Lake Erie’s shoreline; and recounts an epic playoffs saga in which the Browns staged one of the greatest comebacks in the history of Cleveland sports.
Cleveland Browns fans throughout the country fondly remember the “Dawg Days,” and they will welcome Sundays in the Pound.
“That Knight is a lifelong follower of the team only helps his credibility in picking the fifty greatest Browns games…”
“…author Jonathan Knight sifts out the moments that keep the Dawg Pound faithful.”
“…a new book is on the shelves to remind us that there have been high spots in our favorite team’s history.”
-Dayton Daily News
This revised and updated edition of Classic Browns counts down the fifty greatest Cleveland Browns games, from unexpected upsets to incredible comebacks to titanic championship battles. Knight ranks heartbreakers like The Fumble and The Drive alongside championship duels and epic confrontations with heated rivals. Included in these pages are the heroics of Browns legends like Otto Graham, Lou Groza, Jim Brown, Brian Sipe, and Bernie Kosar, to name just a few. Whether it was because of the score, the weather, or an amazing individual performance, each game included in Classic Browns is worth remembering and revisiting. Sure to spark interest and debate, Classic Browns will appeal to Browns fans everywhere.
"...one of the most articulate and devoted sportswriters in Ohio...Knight can hardly restrain himself as he describes the breathtaking moments that have kept hope alive for generations of Tribe fans."
-Akron Beacon Journal
It’s far too easy to allow the national media and disparaging fans to undermine Clevelanders’ views of their professional sports teams. While the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers have certainly caused more than their fair share of frustration and heartbreak over the past century, there are countless moments of glory in the fertile athletic history of Northeast Ohio that receive little notice east of Shaker Heights or west of Rocky River. Jonathan Knight’s Classic Cleveland Series sets out to combat this trend, bundling together the most memorable moments of Cleveland’s beloved athletic clubs. In three separate publications, Knight ranks the fifty greatest games in each franchise with entertaining accounts of each contest, properly placing them in the broad landscape of civic history.
Regardless of what the current editions of the Browns, Indians, and Cavs accomplish, every contest played is another chapter in an epos connecting each generation of fans to the ones before it. The Classic Cleveland Series colorfully illustrates that regardless of today’s final score, the simple continuation of the saga is reason enough for reflection and celebration.
Classic Tribe counts down the fifty greatest Cleveland Indians games, from wild ninth-inning comebacks to dazzling pitching performances to spellbinding playoff encounters. The storied history of Cleveland’s endearing baseball franchise is sprinkled throughout these tales, from weekday matinees at cozy League Park at the dawn of the twentieth century to unforgettable autumn nights at Jacobs Field.
Knight ranks World Series masterpieces alongside incredible individual performances and historic achievements: two perfect games seventy-three years apart, the most memorable of the 1954 Tribe’s record 111 victories, and the greatest comeback in baseball history. Included in these pages are the heroics of Tribe legends like Stan Coveleski, Bob Feller, Lou Boudreau, Rocky Colavito, and Omar Vizquel to name just a few. Whether played on a balmy summer night on the lakefront or on a golden October afternoon at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, each game included in Classic Tribe is worth remembering and revisiting. Sure to spark interest and debate, Classic Tribe will appeal to Indians fans everywhere.
"There's no hotter ticket in town than one to a Cavs game at the Q. But if you're not lucky enough to be able to pick one up for the mostly sold-out season, try the next best thing. The entertaining Classic Cavs: The 50 Greatest Games in Cleveland Cavaliers History takes you inside some of the biggest games in franchise history."
-Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Classic Cavs will keep a winning season going..."
-Akron Beacon Journal
"I'll admit that I first picked up Classic Cavs because its premise made me smirk. Half the people who saw me reading it made the same remark: 'That looks depressing.' Not really. I'm thankful Jonathan Knight did this."
The second edition of Classic Cavs counts down the fifty greatest Cleveland Cavaliers games, from their 67-loss inaugural NBA season in 1970–71 through the franchise’s renaissance and world championship following the triumphant return of LeBron James. The rich, colorful history of the Cavs is woven into tales that tie together the early games at rickety old Cleveland Arena, the incredible highs and heartbreaking lows played out at Richfield Coliseum, and the fierce battles waged at the “Q.”
Knight ranks last-second nail-biters alongside satisfying routs and postseason epics, from the phenomenon known as the “Miracle of Richfield” to the Cavs’ trips to the NBA Finals. Included are the heroics of characters like Bingo Smith, Austin Carr, World B. Free, Mark Price, Craig Ehlo, Kyrie Irving, and, of course, LeBron James. Whether it was because of a fantastic finish or an amazing individual performance, each game included in Classic Cavs is worth remembering and revisiting, appealing to Cavaliers fans everywhere.
Summer of Shadows
"Knight describes the on-and-off-field pennant race and Series action with breathless excitement that will thrill readers more than half-century later..."
-Akron Beacon Journal
"Jonathan Knight has hammered a grand slam of a book in his account of the American League Champion Cleveland Indians, the Sam Sheppard trial, the City of Cleveland and our country in 1954. If you love the Tribe, Cleveland and history, this is a must-read."
-Terry Pluto, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Summer of Shadows is an intertwining narrative that tells the story of the 1954 Cleveland Indians (which would etch itself in history as one of the greatest baseball teams in MLB history) and the infamous murder of the wife of Dr. Sam Sheppard in their home along the shore of Lake Erie—which held both the city and the nation spellbound that summer. Both of these generation-defining stories take place in the final days of the “Best Location in the Nation,” the nickname for the Cleveland of the 1950s, which truly was one of the great and most influential cities in America.
The Sheppard case would influence the television series The Fugitive a decade later and give Cleveland’s reputation a black eye following the shoddy and unethical behavior of the city’s police department and news media, which led to the conviction of an innocent man. Meanwhile, the 1954 Indians would post the greatest season in American League history and dethrone the five-time-champion New York Yankees in a dramatic pennant race, culminating in a September doubleheader before 86,000 fans at Cleveland Stadium. The powerful Indians would then be swept by Willie Mays and the New York Giants in the World Series. These two parallel tragedies harbinger an onslaught of adversity that dragged Cleveland from its lofty standing as a leading American city to one with a bleak—even comic—reputation.
Summer of Shadows is essentially a postcard from that gilded age, when the city enjoyed its own golden October, not knowing that decades of dismal, bitter winter lay ahead.
The Browns Bible
"...Jonathan Knight's The Browns Bible is essential to keeping the faith."
"This is the best and most complete Cleveland Browns reference guide ever created."
-Former Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano
"This is the book that Cleveland Browns fans around the world have been waiting for."
-Former Plain Dealer sportswriter Russell Schneider
Every Sunday in autumn, a new chapter is written in the long and storied history of the Cleveland Browns. Win or lose, with each contest, the mythos of this beloved franchise is extended and enriched in the hearts of the sport’s most loyal fans.
The team has played nearly one thousand games over the past eight decades, and The Browns Bible tells the tale of each one. Through individual game stories and box scores, it encapsulates every victory, every defeat, every touchdown from 1946 to the present. The most comprehensive account of the Cleveland Browns ever written, The Browns Bible narrates the legend of this cherished franchise season by season and week by week as it gradually wove itself into the fabric of the city’s culture—starting with its dominance of the All-America Football Conference and continuing through the glory years of the 1950s, the Kardiac Kids and Dog Pound eras, and the franchise’s rebirth in the twenty-first century.
Within these pages are snapshots of the drama inherent in each contest, from crisp clashes under the bright autumn sun to gridiron wars fought in the bitter cold of winter. Readers will relive the ultimate highs and the heartbreaking lows, the moments quickly forgotten and those remembered forever. Through these vignettes, the heroics of celebrated players of the past unfold: the achievements of Otto Graham, Lou Groza, Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly, Brian Sipe, Bernie Kosar, and countless others who created and strengthened this team’s legacy through the generations.
From Sunday-afternoon spectacles to Monday-night madness, from the Shamrock Bowl to the Playoff Bowl, The Browns Bible is the definitive guide to one of the most enduring teams in professional sports.
The Making of Major League
“Even Harry Doyle would agree there's more than juuuust a bit inside Jonathan Knight's new book, The Making of Major League…”
"You think you know every thing about Major League? Think again.”
-Lake County News-Herald
"Major League book brings back the joy and fun of being Indians fans."
-Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Author Jonathan Knight did a wonderful job with this thing."
If you love watching Major League, you’ll be fascinated by this inside story. Based on interviews with all major cast members plus crew and producers, it tells how writer/director David S. Ward battled the Hollywood system to turn his own love of the underdog Cleveland Indians into a classic screwball comedy.
Learn how a tight-knit group of rising young stars (and a few wily veterans) had a blast pretending to play ball while creating several iconic characters. Filled with little-known facts and personal recollections about outtakes and inside jokes, batting practice and script changes, all-night location shoots, bar hopping and more, this is the ultimate guide to the film that reinvented the baseball movie and inspired a generation of belly laughs.
Includes rare photos, storyboard illustrations, script excerpts, and more.
Paul Brown's Ghost
“Jonathan Knight draws a demarcation line between victory and defeat, success and shame, in his story of the tangled rivalry of the Browns and Bengals. The great divide was the death a generation ago of Paul Brown, the founding father of both franchises and of modern pro football. A shared ghost haunting both teams is as good an explanation as any for why fans of both teams have so often screamed ‘Boo.’”
—Bill Livingston, former Plain Dealer sports columnist
“Jonathan Knight has done it again. He’s scored a touchdown with his masterful—and detailed—synopsis of the Browns-Bengals rivalry, delving all the way back to before the two teams even played their first game against one another in 1970, back to Paul Brown’s beginnings as a coach that paved the way for him to eventually create both franchises. From the heated 1970s to the apex of the rivalry in the late 1980s to some very bleak periods since Brown’s death in 1991, Knight brings to life the highs and lows, the ebbs and flows, of Ohio’s professional football rivalry.”
—Roger Gordon, author of Cleveland Browns A-Z and Cincinnati Bengals Facts & Trivia
“Paul Brown was one of the faces on the Mount Rushmore of NFL coaches. Because of the great respect everyone had for him, and the history he had with both teams, whenever the Browns played the Bengals, there was always a different feeling leading up to the game. Jonathan Knight successfully captures that feeling in his book, which explores how Paul Brown’s legacy created and still shapes the Browns-Bengals rivalry.”
—Doug Dieken, Browns broadcaster and longtime offensive lineman
Paul Brown was a football genius and the father of two NFL franchises—the Cleveland Browns, who carry his name, and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Arguably the most important figure in the history of the sport, he was a renowned coach and owner, and when he passed away on August 5, 1991, the game lost a giant. But for the Browns and Bengals, his death would herald a new era of bad luck, poor judgment, and comic folly that soon had fans whispering about a curse.
Paul Brown’s Ghost explores the mystery surrounding the greatest ghost story in NFL history: why these two once-proud franchises have been perpetually denied good fortune in such dramatic, yet different ways—as if they’re being haunted by their mutual patriarch.
Jonathan Knight takes readers through a haunted house filled with tales that explain the fraternal—almost biblical—connection between the teams. He examines the colorful characters and memorable moments that both defined and defiled the history of a rivalry that evolved from three decades of bad blood between Brown and Cleveland owner Art Modell.
From coaches they shared to draft picks they both lusted after, the Browns and Bengals are connected in ways even their die-hard fans may not realize. Readers will discover the key role the Bengals played in the original Browns’ move to Baltimore, how the Browns were instrumental in the Bengals’ financially crippling new stadium deal, and how the Bengals actually almost became the new Browns.
Through the lens of the enduring legacy of one of football’s pioneers, Paul Brown’s Ghost is a witty, whimsical look at decades of absurd incompetence set against the offbeat rivalry between football’s two most hard-luck teams.