Every other Tuesday at 9 AM a new podcast will be released.
August 11, 2020:
Three men are largely credit with the founding of the American League: Charles Comiskey, Ban Johnson and Tom Loftus. Now, most, if not all, baseball fans have heard of Comiskey. Fans who follow the game closely “probably” know Johnson, but very few – if any – have ever heard of Loftus. That’s because shortly after the American League got going, Loftus stepped away from the game. He was asked to come back on a few occasions, but decided to stay close to his Dubuque, Iowa roots and satisfy his passion for the game there. Loftus also died at a young age (54) and did not leave any family behind. So, when he passed away, there was no one to carry on his legacy while Comiskey and Johnson continued in the game for years and years. Eventually, both Comiskey and Johnson were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Loftus was forgotten. On this episode of SFH, John Pregler who wrote a marvelous and in-depth bio on Loftus for the Baseball Journal (published by SABR) joins the podcast for an in-depth discussion about the third member of the triumvirate who founded the American League.
July 28, 2020:
Tom Sestak is not a name familiar to many football fans. And that’s a shame because it should be. In fact, when those outside of Buffalo think about great defensive players who suited up for the Bills one of the first names that comes to mind is Bruce Smith. Certainly one of the greatest to ever play the game, Sestak wasn’t that far behind. During his career which spanned just seven seasons from 1962 through 1968, Sestak was regarded by many as the best defensive tackle in all of football, NFL or AFL. Drafted as a tighten out little McNeese State University, Sestak possessed size and raw ability. Bills coach Lou Saban immediately liked what he saw out of Sestak and converted him from TE to DT. The Bills had drafted Sestak in the 17th round of the 1962 AFL draft and his choice to go to Buffalo instead of Detroit (the Lions drafted him in the 16th round of the NFL Draft) wound up being the smartest move of his career. Had Sestak gone to Detroit, the Lions coach – George Wilson – might not have had the foresight that Saban did, tried Sestak at TE, and in all likelihood the 16th-round pick would have been sent home. Instead at 6-foot-4, 270-pounds, Sestak quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with. He won the Rookie of the Year and within two years led the Bills to the first of their back-to-back AFL Championships and established himself as one of, if not the best defensive tackle in professional football. Greg Tranter, a member of the Professional Football Researcher’s Association, and who has written about Sestak and the Bills, joins the podcast for a wonderful discussion about a player whom time has forgotten.
July 14, 2020:
When you think of the New York Yankees of the 1950s the names that come to mind are those of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford. One name that very few mention, or even remember, is that of Gil McDougald. And, that’s a shame because McDougald was just as important to that dynasty as anyone else. Sure, he didn’t slug homeruns at the prodigious rate of Mantle, nor did he hit the ball like Berra or bring the heat like Ford. But what he did do was this: come through in the clutch, play a solid defense at second, third and short, made very few errors, had as accurate an arm as anyone in the game, showed up to play every day, and by many accounts, he was one of the key ingredients to a team that won eight pennants during his 10-years in pinstripes to go along with five World Series Championships. McDougald made his debut with the Yankees in 1951 and won Rookie of the Year honors by leading the Bronx Bombers with a .306 batting average. This, after he skyrocketed his way through the minor leagues. Known for a most unusual batting stance, many thought he’d never make it, but two of the biggest names in the game were thoroughly impressed with his approach to the game: Rogers Hornsby and Casey Stengel. Both took Gil under their wings and let him develop into a five-time all-star. Bill Lamb who most notably writes about baseball players from the dead-ball era, was a fan of McDougald’s (despite the fact that Lamb loved his New York Giants and despised the Yankees) because they were members of the same parish. So, Lamb put aside his research on the dead-ball era and put pen to paper to write about McDougald and now he joins SFH for a wonderful discussion about one of the most overlooked stars and forgotten heroes of the New York Yankees – Gil McDougald.