Former Crunch GM Mending

If you remember indoor soccer in the ’90s, you remember Al Miller, the general manager of the Cleveland Crunch, the last Cleveland team to win a league championship. Al put together those great teams featuring the explosive scoring tandem of Zoran Karic and Hector Marinaro, with Otto Orf in goal, that won three league titles in 1994, ’96 and ’99 and reached the championship game four other times.

All of this was between 1991 and 2000 while playing in the Cleveland State Convocation Center, which was reminiscent of the Browns dynasty of 1946-55 when they played in the league championship game 10 straight years and won seven of them.

The Crunch dynasty came to a screeching halt during the winter of 1999-2000 when Al Miller lost his job due to an ownership change. Paul Garafolo was installed as general manager and the Crunch soon plummeted into last place. Player salaries were slashed, friendships were destroyed, the Crunch went defunct and Garofolo eventually went to jail for tax evasion.

The point here is to update you on Al Miller’s condition. He’s getting better. Al, who is retired in Florida, was bitten by an aligator while playing golf back on April 25. The gator almost took his leg off. Chuck Murr received the following e-mail from Al and we’re happy to pass it along to you. Al is a good guy, symbolic of a happy era in Cleveland sports.

Hello from Florida,
I finally have some good news to share with you regarding my injury. Today when I visited Dr. Lambert (my wound doctor that I give credit for saving my leg) it marked a full week that my infection was absent from the wound. That means that the antibiotics had killed the bacterial strain they discovered in my wound. That was a big relief to us all. Dr. Lambert is very pleased the way the wound is shrinking, which means it is healing from the inside. And of course the best news was, he said that I could practice putting and chipping. You have no idea how great those words were and how it made me feel like I will be able to get back to a normal life down the road. The open wound will take approx another two months to heal but I can wait. Thanks for all of your prayers and support. I am truly blessed. I am home and my nurse Dotty is just what I needed.

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