December 10, 2004

Pluto on Pete

Radio sports talk pioneer Pete Franklin died a couple of weeks ago. I thought it a little crass that in the notice of his death in the Plain Dealer, the first word in the headline was "abrasive". He certainly could be that at times, but I suspect that the man portrayed in this remembrance by Terry Pluto is closer to the real Pete Franklin. As a teenaged sports nut in Cleveland, when the Indians weren't playing, it would be Franklin on the transistor radio in my room at night.

PD writer Bob Dolgan remembers that not everything Pete "pioneered" was positive:

Franklin was the first man to make a street fight out of Cleveland radio, using a mix of egomania, hokum and cruelty...

...Franklin once said his on-air personality was purposely obnoxious, as a form of showmanship, but few believed him. He appeared to enjoy his attacks too much to be faking it.

The occasional listener probably couldn't get past the bluster, and lots of people I knew refused to listen to even a minute of Pete's show. But I couldn't get enough talk and information about the players and the games of my home teams. In those years, Pete was the one way to get more than what the Plain Dealer was telling us about sports in this town. As Pluto notes, his mind was encyclopedic on sports trivia, and he bluffed when he had to. And at times, he could be really funny. In an abrasive sort of way.

Posted by dan at December 10, 2004 11:45 PM