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Collins native meets boyhood Tribe idol Rocky Colavito

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Updated Jul 15, 2019 at 6:55 PM

CLEVELAND — Collins native Jimmy Havran will turn 64 next week.

"But for a moment, I felt like I was 12 years old," Havran said of his experience in Cleveland on July 6.

Havran, a Cleveland Indians season ticket holder for more than 30 consecutive years, was one of thousands at the Playhouse Square's State Theatre to see legendary Indians slugger Rocky Colavito make a rare appearance in the city he called home for eight of his 14-year Major League Baseball career.

The event was billed as “The Return of Rocky Colavito” and lasted five-plus hours, starting with a VIP meet-and-greet. Author Mark Sommer spearheaded the event, timed for the recent release of his biography, "Rocky Colavito: Cleveland's Iconic Slugger," as well as All-Star festivities in Cleveland.

"Rocky was my boyhood idol," Havran said. "He was very gracious and the meet-and-greet was a great Father's Day gift from my daughters (Sarah, Elizabeth and Rebekah)."

Some fans drove from more than 600 miles away to see Colavito, who hit 374 home runs as a nine-time All-Star in his career. It was his first visit to Cleveland since his 80th birthday in 2013.

Colavito is one of 18 players in MLB history — including the only player in Indians history — to hit four home runs in a single game. He was infamously traded to the Detroit Tigers in 1960, which led many to speak of a curse over the franchise as a result. The Indians didn't contend for the better part of the next 33 seasons, despite Colavito returning for two-plus seasons from 1965-67.

"My favorite Rocky memory was hearing of his return to Cleveland in 1965," Havran said. "I was only five when he was traded originally, so I have just vague memories of that time.

"But I clearly remember him throwing rockets from right field to third base or home plate," he added. "I was occasionally called 'Rocky' growing up because I so idolized him."

It was a special night and a special five days of All-Star festivities for Havran, who also spoke of the thrill of seeing current Indians pitcher Shane Beiber being named MVP of the All-Star Game on July 9.

"If you could have placed a bet in April that one — and only one Cleveland starting pitcher — would be named to the All-Star game, what kind of odds could you have gotten on Shane Bieber? It's crazy to think about," Havran said.

A baseball fanatic, Havran is currently on his annual summer vacation with two friends and his grandson, Darren. This year's trip includes 12 games in nine days, with the highlight being Fenway Park in Boston.

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