Bijan C. Bayne – Martha’s Vineyard Basketball

February 27, 2017 – This week, our time machine turns Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle. We’re pedaling our way to the end of Black History Month, with a last stop on the basketball courts just off the coast of Massachusetts. Cultural critic and sportswriter Bijan C. Bayne is here to share his latest book: Martha’s Vineyard Basketball: How a Resort League Defied Notions of Race and Class. The island off Cape Cod may not conjure up the sound of a basketball thunking on asphalt, much less the Civil Rights Movement, but Bijan describes the history happening right under the Converse of players from many backgrounds and colors, perched on all rungs of the social ladder, including names as diverse as Charles Lindbergh, James Taylor, Jaleel White, and Barack Obama. You can find our guest on Twitter at @BijanCBayne or check out his blog by clicking this link. And if you enjoy the topic of basketball history, be sure to check out Bijan’s first book: Elgin Baylor – The Man Who Changed Basketball.         Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:00:56 — 54.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | More

Terry Kerber – Major Taylor: The Inspiring Story of a Black Cyclist and the Men Who Helped Him Achieve Worldwide Fame

February 6, 2017 – This week, in honor of Black History Month, our time machine travels back in time to meet a forgotten American hero in the fight for equality — a hero, with a bicycle. You may never have heard of Marshall “Major” Taylor, but this son of an Indiana Civil War veteran was the most popular athlete in America and heralded throughout the world, back at the height of the Jim Crow era in the early 20th Century. A devout Christian who never touched alcohol (well, okay, once) and turned down massive sums of money because he refused to race on the Sabbath, Major Taylor inspired Americans of all colors, and laid the groundwork not just for superstar athletes on all fields of play. But more than that, he helped pedal the American republic, towards that more perfect union. Our guest is Terry Kerber, who along with his brother Conrad co-authored, Major Taylor: The Inspiring Story of a Black Cyclist and the Men Who Helped Him Achieve Worldwide Fame. Check out the Major Taylor Association for more on this inspirational wheelman.     Podcast: Download (Duration: 46:33 — 53.3MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | More

Charles Leerhsen – Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty (The Updated, Hall of Fame Episode)

January 30, 2017 – This week, we mark the anniversary of the first Baseball Hall of Fame class on January 29, 1936. In that year, Ty Cobb earned 222 ballots, just four votes short of a unanimous decision, so the date gave us a chance to revisit one of our earliest interviews, and a book we cited often as a journalistic high water mark for history. Joining us again to chat about the unfairly maligned Georgia Peach, is Charles Leerhsen, author of Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty. Mr. Leerhsen scratched the myth of Cobb as a belligerent, dimwitted racist and dirty player, and found he’d been maligned by a hack sportswriter named Al Stump, who smeared a man who was in fact an intellectual, lover of children, and supporter of baseball’s integration. So how have baseball fans embraced the true story in the year and a half since the book’s publication? How has Charles Leerhsen fared after literally rewriting history to restore perhaps the greatest player ever to pick up a bat? We’ll dig into those questions, and then share the original chat for those of you who missed it. You can find our guest @CharlesLeerhsen on Twitter and at…

S.C. Gwynne – The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football

September 5, 2016 – This week, our time machine turns team bus, as we head back not so far into history, to the late ’80s and early ’90s, when your humble host was on the football field — at least at pregame and halftime — for the Cresskill High School marching band, and as a member of Rutgers University’s Marching Scarlet Knights: The Pride of New Jersey. Rutgers won the very first football game in 1869, but as you know from my chat with John J. Miller, author of The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football — that game much more closely resembled rugby, with no quarterback or receivers, so therefore no passing. How did we get from that first game to the kickoff of the 2016 regular season, the Sunday after we’re uploading this episode? Well, meet Coaches Hal Mumme and Mike Leach, whose innovations transformed the aerial attack from an intermittent feature of football games, to its primary focus. Our guest is New York Times best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist S.C. Gwynne, author of, The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football. You may have caught his previous book, Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion,…

Geoff Griffin – Brooklyn Bat Boy: A Story of the 1947 Season that Changed Baseball Forever

August 1, 2016 – In this episode, our time machine takes us out to the ballgame, where we’ll root, root, root for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The year is 1947, and Dem Bums just signed Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player in Major League History. Sitting next to us in the 50¢ grandstand seats, is Geoff Griffin, author of the children’s book, Brooklyn Bat Boy: A Story of the 1947 Season that Changed Baseball Forever. In it, young readers will witness the challenges Robinson faced through the eyes of 12-year-old Bobby Kelly — the bat boy in the title. For more, visit,, @BrooklynBatBoy on Twitter and Instagram.           Podcast: Download (Duration: 31:09 — 28.5MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | More

Jim Leeke – Nine Innings for the King: The Day Wartime London Stopped for Baseball – July 4, 1918

July 4, 2016 – On this Independence Day, our time machine takes us out to the ball game, on a July 4th neither side of the Revolutionary War could possibly have envisioned during the conflict. The place is Chelsea, England. The time: The Great War. The book is titled, Nine Innings for the King: The Day Wartime London Stopped for Baseball, July 4, 1918. We’ve chatted previously with today’s author, Jim Leeke, about his Civil War novel for young adults: Matty Boy. Jim is a contributor to the Society for American Baseball Research Baseball (SABR) Biography Project, the writer or editor of several books on U.S. and military history, and the creative director of Taillight Communications. We’ll also be hearing about the Anglo-American Baseball Project. It’s an ambitious plan to recreate the King’s Game for its centennial: July 4, 2018. Pitch in to help at, or by following Jim @9Innings4King on Twitter. For more on baseball players in the Great War, enjoy our interview with Charles Leerhsen, author of the award-winning, Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty. Cobb — the victim of malicious slander falsely depicting him as a selfish, belligerent racist — not only signed up to serve his…

H5F: David Maraniss – Vince Lombardi

February 5, 2016 – On this Friday before Super Bowl 50, we’re going to focus on the name etched into the victory trophy: Lombardi. Best-selling author and historian David Maraniss shares five key facts about the NFL’s greatest coach from his biography, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi. If you’d like to hear more about the history of football this Super Bowl week, catch our interview with John J. Miller, author of The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football. It’s the story of how the Rough Rider reformed the game, at a time when — as with today’s concerns about concussions — some were calling to ban the pigskin pastime. History in Five Friday. It’s the perfect way to kick off your modern weekend, with people from the past. Podcast: Download (Duration: 4:44 — 4.3MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | More

Charles Leerhsen – Ty Cobb

September 28, 2015 – Even casual baseball fans can name the game’s greatest heroes, and its most infamous villain: Ty Cobb. Yes, it’s something that even Yankees and Red Sox fans can agree on: “The Georgia Peach” wasn’t a very nice fellow. But what if everyone is wrong? What if, like Ulysses S. Grant, Ty Cobb’s enemies were just more prolific writers than his friends? What if by accepting the view of Ty Cobb as a belligerent racist and dirty player, we’re smearing baseball’s all-time great, and abetting a century of shoddy reporting? If so, then someone should set the historical record straight. Well, that’s exactly what Charles Leerhsen set out to do in his New York Times best-seller, Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty. In it, Mr. Leerhsen questioned all the accepted truths about Cobb and found the facts striking out. And Mr. Leerhsen is not just a sports fan, but a journalist trained in facts. You’ve seen his work everywhere from Sports Illustrated and Esquire to The New York Times Magazine and People. He has also been an editor at SI, Us Weekly, and Newsweek. You can find him @CharlesLeerhsen on Twitter and at We hope you’ll pour…

H5F: Ty Cobb – Charles Leerhsen

September 25, 2015 – It’s History in Five Friday, presented by Simon & Schuster — kicking off your modern weekend, with people from the past.  Today, we offer up Charles Leerhsen’s incredible book: Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty. It exposes the cruel smear of baseball’s most exciting player, debunking the caricature of him as a dimwitted, belligerent, drunken racist.  You can enjoy our full interview on or after Monday, September 28, 2015.   For more, follow our H5F author on Twitter @CharlesLeerhsen or visit his website,     Podcast: Download (Duration: 5:01 — 4.6MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | More