From the best of times to the worst of times professional sport and urban decline in a tale of two Clevelands, 1945-1978 /

by 1972- Suchma, Philip C.

Abstract (Summary)
Historical research has provided scholars with a strong foundation for understanding the sport-city nexus in American culture. These studies have focused primarily on two distinct eras. The first links the rise of modern sporting and leisure practices with the birth of the American metropolis from the early nineteenth century to the early-to-mid twentieth century. Sport and leisure shifted from traditional, agrarian styles and adapted to their modern, urban surroundings. They conversely influenced the development of the city. The works of Melvin Adelman, Stephen Hardy, Steven Riess, and Gerald Gems have enriched this area with studies on sports growth in some of the key American metropolises at the turn of the past century: New York, Boston, and Chicago. The second area of study reflects the evolution of American professional sport as a business following World War II. These studies tended to document cases of league expansion, franchise relocation, and stadium construction in a specific city, although the works of Charles Euchner and Michael Danielson offered broader analysis and commentary. Socio-cultural research addressing sport and the city has tended to look more at community-based issues for the aforementioned themes. Missing from these scholarly treatments is an examination of the plight of the postwar American city undergoing urban decline and the place of professional sport within that context. This examination is a departure from the dominant body of sport-city iii literature. Looking at Cleveland, this study revisits the questions used in the existing body of sport-city scholarship to see if and how they can be translated to the modern city in decline. The intersection of sport and city addresses issues of civic policy, local economics, and racial relations as found in scholarly works, city records, newspapers, and archived manuscript collections. This study also examines the creation of civic image through the presence of professional sports and the meanings extracted from that image, as seen in Cleveland’s shift from “The City of Champions” to the “Mistake on the Lake.” Furthermore, the Wirth-Hardy categories of the city—physical structure, social organization, and shared beliefs—and Isenberg’s argument that human actors were at the core of downtown’s decline frame visions of the city. These underlying notions balance the examination of tangible and intangible evidence to create a more complete understanding of professional sport’s relationship to Cleveland. iv
Bibliographical Information:


School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:sports professional baseball football hockey cleveland ohio


Date of Publication:

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