Alan D. Gaff – Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoir
Sports / May 18, 2020

May 18, 2020 – In an iconic, ad-libbed moment at the old Yankee Stadium, a terminally ill baseball player declared himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” A decade earlier, he’d sat down to write the remarkable story of his career in newspaper columns that remained buried for almost a century — until now. In Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoir, we meet Major League Baseball’s most triumphant and tragic slugger as a young man with a great career in front of him. He had no way of knowing that one day, that career would be cut short by ALS, or that the disease would one day bear his name. Alan D. Gaff brings us this treasure trove of writings that flesh out our picture of No. 4, the man they called the Iron Horse. Mr. Gaff is a veteran, best-selling author of books on the American Civil War, and president of Historical Investigations. Visit our guest at or @AlanDGaff on Twitter.           Podcast: Download (Duration: 52:52 — 121.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Neal Bascomb – Faster: How a Jewish Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Beat Hitler’s Best
Sports , WWII / March 23, 2020

March 23, 2020 – Adolf Hitler … had a need for speed. After all, it was the key feature in blitzkrieg, lightning war. So the Nazis poured resources into developing the fastest engines, sleekest race cars, and best drivers. Who dared stand against them? We’ll meet the Jewish driver who took on these would-be Aryan supermen in Faster: How a Jewish Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Beat Hitler’s Best. For this journey, we welcome a familiar face back into our time machine: Neil Bascomb. We previously caught up back in Norway with The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb — and — The Escape Artists: A Band of Daredevil Pilots and the Greatest Prison Break of the Great War. Visit, follow @NealBascomb on Twitter, or like       Podcast: Download (Duration: 50:03 — 114.6MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Bijan Bayne – Elgin Baylor: The Man Who Changed Basketball
Sports / January 13, 2020

January 13, 2020 – Our time machine travels back to the Civil Rights era, to meet a man who fought the racial discrimination of his day on the basketball court, while using his platform to support those battling in courts of law. In the process, he was the first man ever described as a “superstar.” We enjoy this 6′ 5″pioneer’s story in Elgin Baylor: The Man Who Changed Basketball. Giving us play by play courtside for the man who invented hangtime is award-winning cultural critic and sportswriter, Bijan C. Bayne. Bayne is a member of United States Basketball Writers Association, a founding member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, and an executive board member and media relations director for the Association for Professional Basketball Research. You can find our guest at Twitter @BijanCBayne and his blog at You can also enjoy our previous chat about Martha’s Vineyard Basketball: How a Resort League Defied Notions of Race and Class.         Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:08:10 — 156.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

David Pietrusza – Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series
Sports / October 21, 2019

October 21, 2019 – Our time machine travels back to the Jazz Age, where we’ll meet gambling mastermind Arnold Rothstein, whose lust for a sure thing inspired the most audacious and infamous scam in sports history: Fixing the World Series 100 seasons ago. The Chicago White Sox took a dive on baseball’s biggest stage against the Cincinnati Reds in the infamous “Black Sox” Scandal, in a scheme manipulated by A.R. (known as “The Brain” and “The Big Bankroll”), who spread cash around to everyone from bookies and judges to cops and politicians. Returning to share his Cracker Jack historical wisdom is David Pietrusza, who brings us his award-winning book, Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series. We last chatted with the legendary historian about his latest title, TR’s Last War: Theodore Roosevelt, the Great War, and a Journey of Triumph and Tragedy.  You can find that interview at, iTunes, our iHeartRadio Channel, or wherever you enjoy on-demand audio. David Pietrusza has written or edited enough best-selling, award-winning books to fill the visiting dugout, including those on the pivotal presidential election years 1920, 1932, 1948, and 1960.  He’s appeared everywhere from…

Nicholas Hirshon – We Want Fish Sticks
New York , Sports / December 10, 2018

December 3, 2018 – In this episode, our time machine turns Zamboni and hits the ice for the greatest fanned shot in sports marketing history, when the New York Islanders — a decade removed from their four-in-a-row Stanley Cup dynasty of the early ’80s — chose a new mascot that resembled nothing so much as frozen food pitchman The Gorton’s Fisherman. Joining us to do color commentary is our friend Nicholas Hirshon who brings us We Want Fish Sticks: The Bizarre and Infamous Rebranding of the New York Islanders. We last heard from Nick when he invited me to conduct a live interview at the Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Our guest that day was Ephemeral New York’s Esther Crain who chatted with us about her book, The Gilded Age in New York, 1870-1910. Nick Hirshon is assistant professor of communication at William Paterson University and a former reporter for the New York Daily News. You’ve seen his work in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Hockey News. His previous books are Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum — the arena where the Islanders built that dynasty — and Forest Hills,…

Jim Leeke – From the Dugouts to the Trenches
Sports , WWI / October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017 – Today, our time machine follows professional baseball players, onto the battlefields of Europe in World War One a century ago. We hear the story about how the game, players, fans and the War Department clash in From the Dugouts to the Trenches: Baseball During the Great War, by author Jim Leeke. Jim is a contributor to the Society for American Baseball Research Baseball Biography Project, as well as the writer or editor of several books on U.S. and military history. We chatted a previously with Jim about his Civil War novel for young adults: Matty Boy, and talked about a single, special game along the lines of today’s topic in his book: Nine Innings for the King: The Day Wartime London Stopped for Baseball, July 4, 1918. Which makes Jim, our three-peating guest. Find Jim on at or on Twitter @WW1Baseball.   Podcast: Download (Duration: 51:10 — 117.1MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Bijan C. Bayne – Martha’s Vineyard Basketball
Sports / February 27, 2017

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 | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Terry Kerber – Major Taylor: The Inspiring Story of a Black Cyclist and the Men Who Helped Him Achieve Worldwide Fame
Sports / February 6, 2017

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 | Google Podcasts | RSS…

Charles Leerhsen – Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty (The Updated, Hall of Fame Episode)
Sports / January 30, 2017

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
Sports / September 5, 2016

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,…