IT TAKES 30 days, but on Nov. 12 the expansion Cavaliers finally win their first game, 16 games into the season. The Cavs finish with a 15-67 record, the worst in the NBA and a mark the team would equal during the 1981-82 season.
ANOTHER FIRST FOR THE TRIBE
AFTER being traded from the Angels at the end of the 1974 season, Frank Robinson (below) makes history as the first African-American to manage a major league team when he takes over as player-manager of the Indians in '75. On Opening Day, Robinson hits his 575th home run in his first trip to the plate.
AFTER five losing seasons Jim Chones (22) and the Cavs finally finish above .500 and make the playoffs. They beat Washington in seven games before losing to Boston in six. For orchestrating the Miracle of Richfield, Bill Fitch is named Coach of the Year.
ON A drizzly, chilly May evening in Cleveland, Indians pitcher Len Barker retires 27 straight Toronto Blue Jays to notch the second perfect game in club history. "I felt awesome," the 6'4" righthander says of his pitching. His nerves were a different story. Admits Barker, "My stomach was a wreck."
LAYING A FOUNDATION
TEAM PRESIDENT Thaxter Trafton makes draft-day decisions that give Cavs fans much-needed hope. He trades for the No. 1 overall pick, North Carolina center Brad Daugherty (left), then chooses Miami of Ohio's Ron Harper eighth and trades for the rights to Georgia Tech's Mark Price. The trio leads Cleveland to a 172-156 record over the next four seasons.
THREE TIMES Bernie Kosar (left) faces John Elway in the AFC Championship Game, and three times the comeback kid from Stanford prevails. The Drive in '87, the Fumble in '88 and Elway's 424-yard performance in '90 prevent the Browns from making the Super Bowl. Those defeats, combined with the Interception (Brian Sipes's pass that never reaches Ozzie Newsome in the 1980 divisional playoff game), give the Dawg Pound plenty of reasons to howl.
IF THE Browns have the Broncos and John Elway, the Cavs have the Bulls and Michael Jordan. Even with Price, Daugherty and Larry Nance, Cleveland loses to Chicago five times in the playoffs between 1988 and '94. Jordan's first-round series-clincher in '89, known as the Shot (right), is just one of the city's heartbreaks.
ALI COMES TO CLEVELAND
BEFORE nearly 15,000 spectators at the Coliseum, defending heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner (left) meet in the 1975 title bout that is said to be Sylvester Stallone's inspiration for writing Rocky. Despite suffering a blow to the chest in the ninth round that knocks him off his feet, Ali smashes Wepner's face and earns $1.5 million for punching the bleeding challenger to the canvas with 19 seconds remaining in the 15th round.
REBIRTH OF A SPORTS TOWN
THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT IN THE CITY BY THE LAKE AS THE INDIANS, CAVALIERS AND BROWNS ALL HAVE TOP-TIER TALENT ON THEIR ROSTERS
ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
ON NOV. 6 Browns owner Art Modell announces he is moving the team to Baltimore, leaving Cleveland without a professional football franchise for the first time in 60 years. The day before, with rumors already swirling, signs like ROT IN HELL MODELL dot the Dawg Pound in a 37-10 loss to the Oilers.