Cleveland Barons History

When people think of Cleveland sports, thoughts immediately come to mind of the Browns and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown. Or Bob Feller and the Indians. Yes, both teams have great traditions. But the true Cleveland sports fan also knows the Barons have a great history, too. Many name players skated for the Cleveland Barons during their initial run in the AHL. Over those 36 seasons, the Barons won nine Calder Cups and 10 division titles. Future Hockey Hall of Famers, NHL coaching greats and Cleveland hockey legends were part of early Barons history. Here’s a sampling of some of these greats.

ANDY BATHGATE (1953-54)
Played 36 games for Barons and scored 13 goals and had 19 assists for 32 points. . .He played 1,069 NHL games for four teams (N.Y. Rangers, Toronto, Detroit and Pittsburgh), scoring 973 points (349 goals and 624 assists). . . Won the 1959 Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. . . Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (1978).

LES BINKLEY (1958-66)
Wore the Barons crest for 303 games. . .Best year was in 1963-64 as he posted a 2.77 goals-against average in 65 games. . .Won the Dudley “Red” Garrett Award as the AHL’s top rookie in 1962. . .Played five seasons (1967-72) for Pittsburgh in the NHL.

JOHNNY BOWER (1945-58)
Known as “The China Wall”. . .Tended goal for 472 games during his 13 seasons in Cleveland. . .Won three straight AHL Most Valuable Player Awards (1956-58). . .A five-time AHL First Team All-Star. . .A member of four Stanley Cup Champions with Toronto (1962, 1963, 1964 and 1967). . .Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (1976).

LES CUNNINGHAM (1940-47)
Played in 398 games over seven seasons. . .A member of the Cleveland Falcons (1936-39). . . Scored 184 goals for the Barons and had 478 points (294 assists). . .A three-time AHL Second Team All-Star. . .Also appeared in 60 NHL games.

JOHN FERGUSON (1960-63)
Currently the senior professional scout for the parent San Jose Sharks. . .Played 204 games and accumulated 451 penalty minutes. . .Played 500 NHL games over eight seasons (1963-71), racked up 1,214 penalty minutes and won five Stanley Cups — all with Montreal. . .Known as one of the top enforcers of his era. . .Served as general manager with the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets after his playing days ended.

EMILE FRANCIS (1953-55)
“The Cat” tended goal in 122 games for the Barons. . .Led the AHL with 37 wins and five shutouts in 1953-54. . .Played in 95 NHL games with Chicago and the Rangers. . .Was traded to Cleveland by the Rangers in 1953 as part of a three-player deal (Rangers got Johnny Bower). . .Coached the Rangers to the 1972 Stanley Cup Finals. . .Won 388 games as a head coach with the Rangers and St. Louis. . .Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame (1982 — Builder’s Category).

FRED GLOVER (1952-68)
Played 16 seasons for the Barons. . .In 963 games, he scored 412 goals and had 696 assists for 1,108 points. . . A five-time AHL First Team All-Star. . .Three-time winner of the Les Cunningham Award as AHL MVP. . .Led the AHL in scoring twice. . .Scored 42 goals in 1956-57. . .Cracked the 100-point barrier (107) in 1959-60 .Coached in the NHL with the California Golden Seals and Los Angeles.

TED HARRIS (1963-64)
Played only one season for the Barons, but it was memorable as he won Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s top defenseman. . . A five time NHL All-Star. . . Played in the NHL for Montreal, Minnesota, Detroit, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

BILL MASTERTON (1962-63)
Scored 27 goals and 55 assists for 82 points in his lone Cleveland season. . .”Bat” played just one NHL season (1967-68 with Minnesota). . . He died from injuries suffered in a game against the Oakland Seals during that season. . .Has an annual award named after him that goes to “the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

FRED SHERO (1951-55)
Legendary coach of the Philadelphia Flyers cut his hockey teeth with the Barons. . .Had 213 penalty minutes in 185 games. . .His Flyers, known as the “Broad Street Bullies,” won consecutive Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. . . Won 390 games as an NHL coach. . .Only posted two losing seasons (first and last) in 10 years behind the bench.


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