Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer of Shadows: Jonathan Knight Reading & Book Signing - June 8, 7 p.m.

Columbus author Jonathan Knight will read from his book, Summer of Shadows: A Murder, A Pennant Race, and the Twilight of the Best Location in the Nation, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8.

In Summer of Shadows, Knight highlights a fascinating period in Cleveland, Ohio's history. He recounts the summer of 1954, when the city was gripped by two drastic events: the Cleveland Indians' relentless pursuit of a championship, and the infamous murder of the wife of Dr. Sam Sheppard.

That summer, the Indians embarked on one of the finest seasons in baseball history, winning a record one hundred eleven games and toppling the New York Yankees in a heated pennant race. Yet the Indians' glory proved short-lived. Defeated in the World Series by Willie Mays and the New York Giants, the franchise spiraled into a four-decade tailspin.

Meanwhile, in nearby Bay Village, the wife of Dr. Sam Sheppard was beaten to death in her own bed on the Fourth of July. The finger of suspicion pointed to her unfaithful husband, particularly when he told of a wild struggle with the real killer. Amid a media frenzy, Sheppard was convicted and then freed a decade later. His story prompted the television series The Fugitive.

According to Knight, these parallel tragedies dragged Cleveland from its lofty standing as one of the most influential cities in America to one of the most jeered and long-suffering.

Knight has published six books on Cleveland sports history, including Classic Tribe: The 50 Greatest Games in Cleveland Indians History. A former sportswriter, he manages communications at Franklin University and lives with his family in Columbus.

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