Today in Tribe History: March 22, 1972

The purchase of the Cleveland Indians from Vernon Stouffer by a group headed by 40-year-old attorney Nick Mileti is approved by the American League.

The Cleveland-born Mileti was a well-known figure already in the city, owning both the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers as well as the World Hockey Association’s Cleveland Crusaders. He attended Bowling Green State University and received a law degree from the Ohio State University.

He was joined in the purchase by numerous wealthy Clevelanders, including Howard Metzenbaum, Ted Bonda, Joe Zingale, Marshall and Bruce Fine, Richard Miller, and Dudley S. and C. Bingham Blossom. Gabe Paul, team president and treasurer, was to remain in charge of the club’s baseball operations.

The sale ended the ownership reign of Stouffer, who previously and famously declined to sell the team to local businessman George Steinbrenner. Stouffer opted to sell the team after the AL declined his bid to have some of the Indians’ games played in New Orleans at the Superdome.

Mileti’s purchase of the club received a unanimous vote among the eleven owners in attendance at the time of the vote. Oakland owner Charles Finley, who had just a week prior tried to get individuals in Toronto to purchase the Indians franchise and move it to Canada and had been against the original presentation made by Mileti for his ownership stake, got lost on the way to the meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and arrived after the vote was completed.

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