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118: The Continental Basketball Association – With David Levine

6/24/2019
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Author and former SPORT magazine writer David Levine (Life on the Rim: A Year in the Continental Basketball Association) joins the ‘cast to give us our first taste of the quirky minor league basketball circuit that began as a Pennsylvania-based regional outfit in 1946 (predating the NBA’s formation by two months), and meandered through a myriad of death-defying iterations until whimpering into oblivion in 2009. Often billed throughout its curious history as the "World's Oldest Professional...

Duration:01:36:35

117: The Chicago Cubs Origin Story – With Jack Bales

6/17/2019
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University of Mary Washington research librarian and baseball historian Jack Bales (Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago's First Professional Baseball Team) joins the podcast to help us dig into the surprisingly rich history of Major League Baseball’s long-time North Side Chicago franchise well prior to 1903, when they formally adopted their now-signature nickname. While even some of the most ardent of Chicago Cubs fans unwittingly believe that year to be the team’s first...

Duration:01:23:23

116: A Thinking Man’s Guide to Defunct Leagues – With Stephen Provost

6/10/2019
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This week, we offer a refresher course in the history of forgotten pro sports leagues with veteran newspaper editor, current long-form author and fellow defunct sports enthusiast Stephen Provost – whose recent book A Whole Different League is an essential primer for anyone seeking an entrée into the genre. Provost serves up a smorgasbord of highlights gleaned from his personal memories of and research into the various nooks and crannies of what “used-to-be” in professional team sports,...

Duration:01:17:20

115: The North American Soccer League’s Rochester Lancers – With Michael Lewis

6/3/2019
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After more than 40 years of covering the “beautiful game,” Newsday sportswriter and FrontRowSoccer.com editor Michael Lewis (Soccer for Dummies) knows more than a thing or two about the evolution of soccer in this country. A self-professed “Zelig of soccer,” the NYC-based Lewis has covered some of the sport’s most important events, including eight World Cups, seven Olympic tournaments, and all 23 MLS Cups (and counting) – not to mention an endless array of matches and related off-the-field...

Duration:01:46:17

114: New York’s Polo Grounds – With Stew Thornley

5/27/2019
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We cap off the long Memorial Day holiday weekend with a look back at one of the New York metropolitan area’s most memorable sports stadiums of yore – the Polo Grounds – with author and Minnesota Twins official scorer Stew Thornley (The Polo Grounds: Essays and Memories of New York City's Historic Ballpark, 1880-1963). The “Polo Grounds” was actually the name of multiple structures across upper Manhattan during its history. As its name suggests, the original venue (1876-1889) was built...

Duration:01:22:07

113: The Alliance of American Football – With Conor Orr

5/20/2019
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Just weeks after its sudden collapse, we take our first look at the brief life of the Alliance of American Football with Sports Illustrated football writer and MMQB NFL podcast host Conor Orr (The Curious Rise and Spectacular Crash of the Alliance of American Football; More Strange Tales from the Collapse of the AAF). Inspired by his work producing the 2017 documentary This Was the XFL for ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series, director Charlie Ebersol concluded that the renegade league co-created...

Duration:01:20:04

112: The Once & Future Soccer Legacy of Ft. Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium – With Jeff Rusnak

5/13/2019
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Long-time South Florida Sun-Sentinel soccer columnist Jeff Rusnak joins to discuss the rich past, transitional present and promising future of one of American pro soccer’s most venerable, yet historically underrated venues – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida’s Lockhart Stadium. Originally built in 1959 as an American football and track venue for four high schools in the region and named after a former city commissioner, the modest bleacher-constructed Lockhart was unwittingly transformed into the...

Duration:01:33:28

111: Pro Football’s “League That Didn’t Exist” – With Gary Webster

5/6/2019
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WKKY-FM radio personality and sports author Gary Webster (The League That Didn’t Exist) helps us return to the curious story of the All-America Football Conference – the well-funded upstart that competed directly with the NFL in the late 1940s for supremacy of the still-fledgling sport of US pro football. After being rebuffed by the NFL to expand, influential Chicago Tribune sports editor (and baseball and college football All-Star Games’ creator) Arch Ward recruited a who’s who of...

Duration:01:34:23

110: Cleveland’s Historic League Park – With Ken Krsolovic

4/29/2019
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Author Ken Krsolovic (League Park: Historic Home of Cleveland Baseball, 1891-1946) joins the podcast to go deep into the history and legacy of Cleveland’s first major league sports stadium. Originally built for the National League’s Cleveland Spiders, team owner Frank Robison strategically built the wood-constructed League Park at the corner of Lexington Avenue and Dunham (now East 66th) Street in the city’s Hough neighborhood, where the streetcar line he owned conveniently stopped. It...

Duration:01:16:51

109: The NASL Players’ Strike of 1979 – With Steve Holroyd

4/22/2019
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Professional union labor lawyer and Society for American Soccer History sports historian Steve Holroyd returns to the podcast to go deep into one of the more curious rabbit holes in North American Soccer League history. In early 1977, Ed Garvey, a labor lawyer and head of the newly-formed National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), recruited Washington Diplomats midfielder John Kerr to help gauge interest among his teammates and those of other clubs in forming a similar...

Duration:01:49:05

108: The “Almost Yankees” of 1981 – With David Herman

4/15/2019
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We’re stuck in the minors again this week – this time with Microsoft News senior managing editor and former newspaper sportswriter David Herman (Almost Yankees: The Summer of ’81 and the Greatest Baseball Team You’ve Never Heard Of) – as we discuss the memorable story and unique circumstances of the 1981 championship season of the International League’s Columbus Clippers, the then-flagship farm club of the New York Yankees. Longtime baseball fans will remember 1981, of course, as the year...

Duration:01:25:32

107: The Havana Sugar Kings & Cuban League Baseball – With César Brioso

4/8/2019
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Longtime USA Today sports writer/producer César Brioso (Last Seasons in Havana: The Castro Revolution and the End of Professional Baseball in Cuba) joins the show to explore the rich parallel histories of America’s and Cuba’s shared national pastime – and the colorful period of the late 1950s/early 1960s when it appeared baseball in the island nation was mainstreaming its way into eventual US major league status. During much of the ‘50s, baseball in pre‑Castro Cuba was enjoying a golden...

Duration:01:22:27

106: Seattle’s “Sonicsgate” – With Filmmakers Jason Reid & Adam Brown

4/1/2019
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Documentary filmmakers Jason Reid and Adam Brown (Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team) join host Tim Hanlon to discuss the long, tortuous and acrimoniously messy departure of the NBA’s iconic Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City in the summer of 2008 – a story newly relevant as the “Emerald City” prepares to welcome a new NHL expansion franchise, and as former owner (and Starbucks CEO Emeritus) Howard Schultz publicly explores a run for the US Presidency. A real-life drama replete with local...

Duration:01:47:49

105: The World Football League’s Detroit Wheels – With Mark Speck

3/25/2019
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In a league uniquely rich in comic misadventures and financial disasters, perhaps no one franchise from the World Football League’s inaugural 1974 season stood out more for its own brand of woeful ineptitude than the Detroit Wheels. Saddled from inception by an unwieldy ownership group of 33 different founding investors – including Motown Records superstar Marvin Gaye and Little Caesar’s Pizza founder (and budding Detroit pro sports patron) Mike Illitch – the Wheels’ front office featured...

Duration:01:40:38

104: Big League Baseball in WWII Wartime Washington – With David Hubler & Josh Drazen

3/18/2019
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On a cold and ominous Sunday, December 7, 1941, Major League Baseball’s owners were gathered in Chicago for their annual winter meetings, just two months after one of the sport’s greatest seasons. For the owners, the dramatic news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor earlier that morning was not only an assault on the United States, but also a direct threat to the future of the national pastime itself. League owners were immediately worried about the players they were likely to lose to...

Duration:01:37:35

103: MISL Indoor Soccer's Origin Story – With Co-Founder Ed Tepper

3/11/2019
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We celebrate our second anniversary with the intriguing background story of the original Major Indoor Soccer League, with the man who started it all – Ed Tepper. A commercial real estate developer by trade, Tepper actually got his start in pro sports ownership as the owner of the original National Lacrosse League’s Philadelphia Wings – only to switch allegiances to an inchoate indoor offshoot of the world’s most popular sport after a chance exhibition (between the 1973 NASL champion Atoms...

Duration:01:43:50

102: The World Football League’s Florida Blazers – With Mark Speck

3/4/2019
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World Football League researcher extraordinaire Mark Speck (And a Dollar Short: The Empty Promises, Broken Dreams, and Somewhat-Less-Than-Comic Misadventures of the 1974 Florida Blazers) returns to the podcast to discuss the incredible story of Orlando’s first professional sports franchise – and the crazy challenger football league that hastened both its creation and demise. The Florida Blazers actually originated in late 1973 as the Washington Ambassadors, one of the originally-envisioned...

Duration:01:53:02

101: New York Yankees Broadcaster John Sterling

2/25/2019
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Legendary New York Yankees baseball play-by-play man John Sterling joins host Tim Hanlon for a cavalcade of career memories from his 50+ year journey in sports broadcasting – including a treasure trove of stops along the way with previously incarnated or otherwise defunct teams (and leagues). Now celebrating his 30th consecutive season with the Bronx Bombers, Sterling’s unique vocal stylings have become synonymous with some of the Yankees’ most signature moments during that time – including...

Duration:01:00:42

100: WHA Hockey’s New England Whalers – With Former Owner Howard Baldwin

2/18/2019
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We celebrate our 100th(!) episode with one of the founding owners of the pioneering World Hockey Association – and the man ultimately responsible for the absorption of four its teams into the NHL in the “don’t-call-it-a-merger” of 1979. Hollywood film producer and original New England Whalers founder/owner Howard Baldwin (Slim and None: My Wild Ride from the WHA to the NHL and All the Way to Hollywood) joins host Tim Hanlon for a rollicking ride through the modest beginnings, death-defying...

Duration:01:24:29

099: Sports Broadcaster Bob Carpenter

2/11/2019
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You know him today as the long-time television play-by-play voice of Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals. But before becoming one of the baseball’s most admired and durable broadcasters, Bob Carpenter cut his professional teeth in the burgeoning (but ultimately fleeting) American pro soccer scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s as the lead “man-behind-the-mic” for such iconic teams as the NASL's Tulsa Roughnecks and the MISL's St. Louis Steamers – as well as some...

Duration:01:26:05