Up next … Dave DeBusschere
Every once in a while, an athlete comes along who is a stud in more than one sport. Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders are two of the most recent. But long before Jackson and Sanders showed us what they could do in football and baseball, Dave DeBusschere, best remembered for his exploits on the court with the New York Knicks, was a pitcher with the Chicago White Sox and a bright future ahead of him on the diamond. Writer/researcher Bill Pruden discusses DeBusschere’s baseball career and more on the next episode of SFH.
Johnny Blood, Episode 22
The New England Patriots are in the midst of one of the greatest runs in football history. One of the earliest dynasty teams of the NFL were the Green Bay Packers of the late 1920s and early 1930s; and a key component to that team was Johnny Blood. Author/writer/reporter Ralph Hickok who spent years on the road with Johnny to write his biography is here to talk about this Hall of Fame member.
Don Budge, Episode 22
Men’s professional tennis has taken a back seat to almost every sport played in the U.S. But there was a time when it ruled. It was the biggest thing going, and the man at the top of the sport was Don Budge. In 1938, Budge did the impossible, he won each of game’s four major tournaments. We’ll take a look back at his career and talk about, perhaps, the greatest match ever played. Author of the book, “A Terrible Splendor” Marshall Jon Fisher joins the podcast for a look back at the phenomenal career of Don Budge.
Frank Ryan, Episode 21
The Cleveland Browns won the NFL Championship in 1964. The man who led the Browns to that title, their last, was Frank Ryan. A lightly-regarded quarterback out of Rice, Ryan spent the first four years of his career on the sidelines for the Los Angeles Rams. Demanding a trade, Ryan was shipped to Cleveland, took over the Browns offense, and led the team to their last championship. On this edition of SFH, Frank Ryan joins the podcast to talk about his career and his remarkable career after his playings ended. Roger Gordon, author of many books on the Browns and other Cleveland teams, also joins the podcast to talk about that 1964 championship team.
John Heisman, Episode 20
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”, and he shares many stories about John W. with me on this edition of Sports’ Forgotten Heroes, including his on-the-field innovations, and some incredible stories from off-the-field too!
Ernie DiGregorio, Episode 19
Ernie DiGregorio was drafted No. 3 by the Buffalo Braves in the 1974 NBA Draft. The Braves were on the verge of becoming a competitive team when they drafted Ernie D. Coach Jack Ramsay knew the Braves were not a strong defensive team; but on offense, if they could get the one piece, the one man – a point guard – who could speed up the pace of play and deliver the ball where it needed to be and the exact second it needed to be there, the the Braves “O” could be devastating. Ernie D. delivered. For the first time in franchise history the Braves made the playoffs, and Ernie D. was named NBA Rookie of the Year. Tim Wendel, author of “Buffalo, Home of the Braves” joins the podcast for a look back at the career of Ernie DiGregorio.
Dennis Maruk, Episode 18
Dennis Maruk was one of the first hockey players to score 60 goals in a season and he joins Sports’ Forgotten Heroes to talk about his magical year, career and more. There was a time when scoring 60 goals in a season in the NHL was a very rare accomplishment. Phil Esposito was the first to break the barrier when he scored 76 in 1970-71. Guy Lafleur reached the 60-goal mark, so did Steve Shutt and Mike Bossy. Those guys were the NHL’s big guns. Few, though, had ever heard of Dennis Maruk … and even today very few recall Maruk. But he was one of the first to do it when he lit the lamp 60 times in 1981-82 for the Washington Capitals. Since then, the magical number 60 has been broken many times. But when Dennis did it, it was a huge accomplishment and hardly anyone noticed! Dennis just released a book, “Dennis Maruk, The Unforgettable Story of Hockey’s Forgotten 60-Goal Man,” where he talks about his career, playing in the shadows of some of the game’s greatest players ever, and his life afterwards.
Bob Waterfield, Episode 17
In 1945, Bob Waterfield led the Cleveland Rams to the NFL Championship. A terrific quarterback who played college ball at UCLA, Waterfield was thrilled when the Rams moved to Los Angeles, and he proceeded to lead the team to another championship and ultimately was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And not only did he have a great career, he married his high school sweetheart, the fantasy of many – Jane Russell. Author Jim Sulecki returns to Sports’ Forgotten Heroes for a look back on the career of Bob Waterfield.
The Buffalo Braves, Episode 16
Before they were the Los Angeles Clippers, they were the Buffalo Braves. And, for a time, they were one of the most exciting teams on the floor. Stars the likes of Bob McAdoo, Adrian Dantley, and Randy Smith could fill the bucket, but the fans just didn’t fill the seats. Why? Join author Tim Wendel as we look back at one of the NBA’s forgotten teams, the Buffalo Braves, and the love affair between a city and team that keeps growing.
Justin Fashanu, Episode 15
He was young. He was fast. He scored an incredible incredible goal against Liverpool. He was controversial. He was openly gay. He left the game too soon, and tragedy followed shortly thereafter. The story of Justin Fashanu with Kartik Krishnaiyer from World Soccer Talk.
The Cleveland Rams, Episode 14
80 years ago, 1937, a new team took the field in the NFL – the Cleveland Rams. Yes, the Rams called Cleveland home through the 1945 season before leaving for Los Angeles immediately after capturing their first NFL Championship. One of the game’s least talked about, and forgotten teams, Jim Sulecki, author of The Cleveland Rams, The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon, joins the podcast to talk about the fascinating history of the Cleveland Rams.
Amos Otis, Episode 13
Prior to the 1970 baseball season, the New York Mets traded Amos Otis, along with Bob Johnson, to the Kansas City Royals for third baseman Joe Foy. Years later, the Mets were crucified for making such a trade while the Royals were applauded for pulling off such a lopsided deal. Otis went on to become one the great players to ever wear a Royals uniform. An all star center fielder, Otis played for the Royals from 1970 through the 1983 season and to this day is top-3 in a multitude of offensive categories for Kansas City. Bill Lamberty, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) joins the podcast for a look back on the terrific and overlooked career of Amos Otis.
Benny Friedman, Episode 12
Long before Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Terry Bradhsaw, and Joe Namath there was Benny Friedman. At a time when throwing the football was frowned upon and thought of a “sissy” way of playing the game, Friedman revolutionized the position of quarterback. He was completing more passes, throwing for more touchdowns and throwing for more yards than the rest of the quarterbacks combined! Next on Sports’ Forgotten Heroes the incredible story of Hall of Fame quarterback Benny Friedman.
Hal Newhouser, Episode 11
During the three-year stretch of 1944, 45 and 46, Hal Newhouser of the Detroit Tigers put together three of the most dominant seasons any pitcher has ever enjoyed. Overall he went 80-27 with a 1.98 ERA. He completed 83 games and tossed 20 shutouts. He won the MVP Award in 1944 and 1945 (the only pitcher to ever win back-to-back MVP Awards) and finished second in 1946. Overall, he was 207-150. Overlooked for Hall of Fame honors, noted author David M. Jordan penned the book, “A Tiger in His Time: Hal Newhouser and the Burden of Wartime Baseball,” and after it was published, the very next year, Hal Newhouser was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. Join Warren Rogan and David M. Jordan as they look back on the career of one of baseball’s best – Hal Newhouser.
Nate Colbert, Episode 10
Nate Colbert played first base for the San Diego Padres during the early 1970s. Very few fans turned out to see him play. The Padres weren’t that good. In fact, they were one of the worst teams the game has ever seen. But, the few fans that did go out to see Nate Colbert play saw one of the game’s most feared sluggers. In fact, he is still the team’s all-time leader in home runs. But it was one day, August 1, 1972, that catapulted Colbert into the same conversation as one of baseball’s all-time greats – Stan Musial. Playing a in a doubleheader in Atlanta against the Braves, Colbert hit five home runs, knocked in 13 runs and had 22 total bases. A day for the ages, only Musial, who hit five home runs in a doubleheader back in 1952, had a day to rival that of Colbert. Joining host Warren Rogan on this episode of Sports’ Forgotten Heroes is San Diego baseball historian Bill Swank as they talk about that special day and the career of Nate Colbert.
Willie Anderson, Episode 09
Willie Anderson was one of the top golfers in the world during the early 1900s. Of course, this was at a time when professional golf tournaments were few and far between and amateur golfers were held in higher regard. Nonetheless, Anderson was as good as anyone. In fact, he was dominant and became the first golfer to hold two Major U.S. titles at one time, the U.S. Open and the Western Open (the Western Open was considered a Major back in the early 1900s). More impressively, though, Anderson won the U.S. Open in 1901, 1903, 1904, and 1905. He is still the only golfer to ever win three straight U.S. Open Championships and he won four overall. And, if not for a fourth place finish in 1902, he would have won five straight. Tony Parker, historian and researcher at the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum joins us to take a look back at one of Sports’ Forgotten Heroes.
Dean Chance, Episode 08
Dean Chance enjoyed a terrific career while playing mostly for the California Angels and Minnesota Twins. He won the Cy Young Award in 1964, started two all star games, and is the author of two no-hitters. In high school, Chance threw 17 no-hitters! And while his career in baseball is somewhat overlooked, fellow pitchers like Denny McLain knew just how good he was. McLain joins the podcast to talk about Chance and his career on the mound. After his playing days were over, Chance turned his attention to the world of boxing and made an incredible mark on that sport too. Joining the podcast to talk about Chance’s career in the squared-circle are two members of the Boxing Hall of Fame, Bill Caplan and Don Chargin.
Tony Lema, Episode 07
Tony Lema was one of the best golfers in professional golf. In 1964 he won the British Open, and was knocking at the door of the Big 3 of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. He was as tough as the came, as evidenced by his 8-1-2 record in Ryder Cup play. But he was also one of the most fun-loving guys on the PGA TOUR, and the media loved him too! They loved the fact that they were treated to a round of champagne after every one of his victories. Injuries affected his play in 1965 and early on in 1966. But as the 1966 season progressed, Lema got his game back on track and then tragedy struck. He was killed, along with his wife, on a chartered flight from Akron, OH to just outside Chicago. Bill Roland a close friend of the Lema family, and the author of “Champagne Tony Lema; Triumph to Tragedy” joins the podcast for a look back at the terrific life and career of Tony Lema.
Teofilo Stevenson, Episode 06
Many say the Golden Age of boxing was during the 60s, 70s and 80s. The names, especially the heavyweights, are legendary beginning with Muhammed Ali. But let’s not forget Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Larry Holmes, and towards the end of the Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. But the one name few mention along with these greats is that of Teofilo Stevenson … and the reason is simple – he only fought as an amateur. He never stepped into the ring against any of the aforementioned greats; and many wish they could have seen him go toe-to-toe against them. Stevenson hailed from Cuba, but what he did in amateur boxing is nothing short of incredible. Not only did he compile an overall record of 302 wins against just 20 losses, he is the only boxer to win three gold medals in his weight division in the Olympics. He won gold in Munich in 1972, Montreal in 1976, and Moscow in 1980. Many think he would have won a fourth straight gold in Los Angeles in 1984. However, Cuba boycotted the ’84 Olympics in support of Russia (the USSR). Stevenson had a devastating right-hand, stood at 6-foot-5 and defeated future World Heavyweight Champions such as John Tate (knockout), Tony Tubbs (decision) and Michael Dokes (decision). Joining me on Sports’ Forgotten Heroes to look back at the career of this forgotten hero is George Thomas Clark (Tom Clark) who has written several articles on boxing, and is the author of the terrific book, “Death in the Ring”, where he writes about fictional matchups and what might have happened. You can check out Tom’s work at georgethomasclark.com. Here are some links to Stevenson fights:
Ed Delahanty, Episode 05
In the early 1900s the biggest star in baseball, arguably, was Ed Delahanty. A powerful outfielder for Philadelphia of the National League, “Big Ed” was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945. He hit over .400 on three occasions, once hit four homeruns in one game, led the league in stolen bases, doubles, hits, RBI, and more. He had a gun for an arm, and just might have been baseball’s first 5-tool player. But Delahanty was caught right in the middle of a battle for player services between the National League and the upstart American League. Ultimately, Delahanty left Philadelphia and signed on to play with Washington of the American League. But, baseball’s biggest star struggled financially and his contractual status left him in a desperate state to the point where he left his team in the middle of a road trip, and what happened afterwards is still one of the biggest mysteries in baseball history. Some said it was suicide, others said it was an accident. John Saccoman, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) joins me on Sports’ Forgotten Heroes for a conversation about Ed Delahanty – his hall of fame career, and the tragedy that followed.
Bill Barilko, Episode 03 and 04
Bill Barilko played only five years in the NHL for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but those were five phenomenal years. Barilko debuted towards the end of the 1946-47 season and helped lead Toronto to the first of three straight Stanley Cup Championships – the first team in NHL to do so. He won a fourth Cup with the Leafs in his final season 1950-51 and scored the winning goal in overtime to win the Cup for Toronto against the Montreal Canadiens. Here’s the radio call of that famous goal … and here’s video of the goal.
Billy Cannon, Episode 01 and 02
Billy Cannon is one of, if not, the most celebrated player in the history of LSU Football. His return of a punt for a touchdown on Halloween in 1959 is one of the most remarkable plays in the history of college football. In fact, Cannon’s return is still played regularly on the big scoreboard at LSU at every home game – especially when Ole Miss comes to town. Cannon scored 65 touchdowns during his professional career (17 rushing, 47 receiving, 1 kickoff return).