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Sports' Forgotten Heroes

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36: Lefty O'Doul-MLB

Not only is Lefty O’Doul one of baseball’s forgotten heroes, he is actually one of America’s forgotten heroes as well. In fact, General Douglas MacArthur said what O’Doul did after World War II to help ease tensions between the U.S. and Japan was one of the greatest acts of diplomacy in the history of the U.S. O’Doul is one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball as his .349 career batting average can attest to as it’s the 4th highest ever, his 1929 season is one of the greatest...


35: Sal "The Barber" Maglie-MLB

Sal “The Barber” Maglie enjoyed a terrific career going 119-62 over 10 years. But from 1950 through 1954 he was as dominant as anyone in the game. Given the nickname “The Barber” because of how he approached hitters and his game-day stubble, Maglie blossomed at the age of 33 after having spent time in the Mexican League and learning under the tutelage of former Major League pitcher Dolf Luque. Maglie, who was a star for the New York Giants, is the last player to play for the Giants,...


34: Kiki Cuyler-MLB

Kiki Cuyler was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1968, but so few can recall his career – and what a career it was! Cuyler, whose birth name is Hazen Shirley Cuyler, made it to the big leagues for good in 1924 and hit .354 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1925, Cuyler upped his average to .357 and set two records that still stand today for Pittburgh, most runs scored in a season with 144, and 369 total bases. But, after just four years a World Series Championship in 1925 and a second...


33: Lyman Bostock-MLB

Lyman Bostock was a Major League Baseball player on the rise. During the first 3 ½ years of his career with the Minnesota Twins and California Angels, Lyman hit .311 with a high of .336 in 1977. He had just signed a free agent contract with the Angels, a team that was on the rise and hoping to win a championship with Bostock at the center of things. But it wasn’t to be. In a horrible case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Bostock was tragically gunned down after a night out...


32: Ralph Guldahl-PGA

Ralph Guldahl joined the PGA TOUR in 1931, walked away from the game in 1934, rejoined the TOUR in 1935, and retired from the game for good in 1940. But in between, he was absolutely phenomenal. During his time on TOUR he won 16 tournaments including three Majors – the 1937 and 1938 U.S. Open and the 1939 Masters. He also won the Western Open in 1936, 1937 and 1938 when the Western was thought of as a Major too. In all, Ralph won 16 times on the TOUR and was named to three Ryder Cup teams....


31: Giorgio Chinaglia-Soccer

One of the most flamboyant soccer players to ever play here in the U.S. was Giorgio Chinaglia. He was a star on a team filled with some of the world’s best, the New York Cosmos. He played with Pele, Beckenbauer, Alberto and so many others. And while he might not have been as skilled as them, the one thing he did better than anyone was score goals. In fact, he was, for lack of a better term, a goal-scoring machine. In 213 games in the NASL, America’s premier soccer league before the MLS,...


30: Dolph Schayes-NBA

Dolph Schayes played in the NBA for 15 years, and when he retired he was the league’s all-time leading scorer and all-time leading rebounder. Yet, many basketball fans don’t recall Schayes at all, or mistake him for his son, Danny, who spent 20-years in the NBA. Why do so many not recall Dolph? Perhaps it’s because he spent 14 of his 15 years playing for a team that no longer exists, the Syracuse Nationals. And, Syracuse was good. In fact, the Nats made the playoffs every year Dolph was...


29: Gottfried von Cramm

The story of Gottfried von Cramm is truly remarkable. While most have probably never heard of him, von Cramm was once the No. 1 ranked tennis player in the world. A German, von Cramm played during the time Adolf Hitler was rising to power; and while most Germans knew what Hitler was about and was about to do, the rest of the world had no idea. On this episode of SFH we take a look back at the career and life of Gottfried von Cramm and concentrate on one match in particular, a 1938 Davis...


28: Urban Shocker-MLB

Urban Shocker was regarded by many as the best pitcher of his time. In fact, Babe Ruth said he was the best pitcher he faced. Other pitchers said that Urban was the best. Writers of the day, such as Damon Runyon, and others called Urban the best too. He started his career with the New York Yankees was traded to the St. Louis Browns and then several years later, the Yankees reacquired him. He was the one player of whom the Yankees said they made a mistake in trading. Over the course of his...


27: Roberto DeVicenzo-PGA

Roberto DeVicenzo won 231 golf tournaments around the world, and that includes the 1967 British Open. But it was his signing of an incorrect scorecard after the 4th round of the 1968 Masters for which he is most remembered. That “little” gaffe cost DeVicenzo an opportunity to win a second straight major, and one of golf’s most cherished tournaments. Instead of squaring off against Bob Goalby in an 18-hole playoff for the Green Jacket, DeVicenzo could only say, “What a stupid I am.” Golf...


26: Gene Conley-MLB/NBA

Gene Conley did something no other athlete before him or who played after him ever accomplished – win a championship in two of the major four sports we follow (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). Not Deion Sanders, not Bo Jackson, no one. Conley won the World Series with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and came off the bench to help the Boston Celtics win NBA championships in 1959, 1960 and 1961. On this edition of the Sports’ Forgotten Heroes, John Husman, team historian of the Toledo Mud Hens (a team that...


25: Vic Hadfield-NHL

Vic Hadfield was the first man to score 50 goals in a season for the New York Rangers. Named captain of a team that included the likes of Jean Ratelle, Brad park and Rod Gilbert, some say Hadfield just might have also been the heart and soul of the team. When Hadfield was placed on the No. 1 line to protect Ratelle and Gilbert the Rangers took off, and that line was quickly nicknamed the “GAG Line” as in a goal-a-game … and sometimes the “TAG Line” because it would go on streaks of...


24: Dave DeBusschere-MLB & NBA

Dave DeBusschere was, simply stated, remarkable. A world class two-sport star who was raised just outside of Detroit, DeBusschere was a stud pitcher and an even better basketball player. Taken by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA’s territorial draft, he was also selected by the Chicago White Sox … and he played professionally for both teams. On the hardwood, DeBusschere quickly established himself as one of the NBA’s premier forwards. For the White Sox, however, he bounced back-and-forth...


23: Johnny Blood-NFL

One of just four former Green Bay Packers to be immortalized with a statue, Johnny “Blood” McNally is also a member of the inaugural class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Along with such legends as Bronko Nagurski, Ernie Nevers, Jim Thorpe, Sammy Baugh, George Halas, Tim Mara and Don Hutson, Johnny was inducted into the Hall in 1963. One of the toughest players to tackle, Johnny still holds the record for most touchdowns caught in one season by a halfback. Ralph Hickok, who wrote the...


22: Don Budge-Tennis

1938 marks the 80th anniversary of the improbable … the year in which Don Budge, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, became the first (and just one of two) players to win the Grand Slam of tennis (Australian, French, Wimbledon, U.S.). Budge actually won six straight Grand Slam events to go along with a number of doubles, mixed-doubles, and Davis Cup Championships as well. Budge, who took up the game after a challenge from his brother, possessed a heavy ball, one of the greatest...


21: Frank Ryan-NFL

Frank Ryan, the last man to lead the Cleveland Browns to an NFL Championship, joins the podcast to talk about his career and the magical year of 1964 when the Browns beat the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts 27-0 to win the title. Ryan was the Browns starter for most of the mid-1960s and Bleacher Report named Ryan as the most underrated player in the history of the NFL. As terrific as he was on the field, his life off is also quite remarkable, especially when you consider what he did for...


20: John W. Heisman

Every December college football heroes gather in New York City and are on hand for the announcement of the winner of one of the most, if not the most, iconic trophies in all of sport – The Heisman Trophy. Who was the man for whom the trophy is named, and what made him so special? John M. Heisman, the great-nephew of the man for whom the trophy is named – John W. Heisman, joins the podcast. John M. Heisman, along with Mark Schlabach, co-wrote a book, “Heisman, The Man Behind The Trophy”,...


19: Ernie DiGregorio-NBA

Ernie DiGregorio was the NBA Rookie of the Year for the 1973-74 season. The No. 3 pick out of Providence after leading the Friars to 27-4 mark during his All-America senior season, Ernie was as exciting as they come. Standing just 6-feet tall and weighing all of 180-pounds, he was a magician on the court. If you were open, Ernie would find a way to get the ball to you. In fact, he set the rookie record for most assists in a game (25) and led the NBA during his rookie campaign in assists...


18: Dennis Maruk-NHL

There was a time when scoring 60 goals in a season in the NHL was rare. Dennis Maruk was one of the first to do it when scored 60 for the Washington Capitals in the 1981-82 season. And that came after scoring 50 the previous year! Yet, Dennis played in relative obscurity as he was a center for the California Golden Seals, the Cleveland Barons and the Minnesota North Stars – all teams that no longer exist! But his trade to a then awful Washington Capitals team was a blessing and helped turn...


17: Bob Waterfield-NFL

Bob Waterfield holds a very unique distinction. He is the only quarterback in the history of the NFL to lead the Rams franchise to two NFL Championships. First, Waterfield did it as the quarterback of the Cleveland Rams in 1945, and then he followed that by leading the Los Angeles Rams to the NFL Championship in 1951. Waterfield elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965 also was a star on defense and was one of the best kickers and punters in the NFL as well. Jim Sulecki, author...