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WAMC's Jackie Orchard speaking with Tom Merritt, creator of the MLB Trivia Challenge game, at Shamrock Tavern in Cornwall-On-Hudson, NY.
Matthew Burton

If you’ve ever played the MLB Trivia Challenge board game, you may have wondered, “Where did all of these statistical questions come from?” They were created long before Google, and the game itself is the result of one upstate New York man’s life’s work.

Book cover for "Tom Seaver: A Terrific Life"
Simon & Schuster / Simon & Schuster

Tom Seaver was one of the most talented and popular players in the history of baseball. He is one of only two pitchers with 300 wins, 3,000 strikeouts, and an ERA under 3.00. He was a three-time Cy Young award winner, twelve-time All Star, and was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame with the highest percentage ever at the time. Popular among players and fans, Seaver was fiercely competitive but always put team success ahead of personal glory.

Bill Madden began following Seaver’s career in the 1980s. Seaver came to trust Madden so completely that, eager to return to New York from Chicago, he asked Madden to explore a possible trade to the Yankees, which never materialized. "Tom Seaver: A Terrific Life" draws in part on their long relationship. In the book, Madden offers a deeply personal and fascinating portrait of one of the greatest and most admired players of all time.

Jane McManus: A Rocky Road For Sports

Oct 22, 2020

Sports have returned.

But fans haven’t, at least not in the same numbers and with the same enthusiasm.

8/28/20 Panel

Aug 28, 2020
Microphone in radio studio
WAMC / WAMC

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, UAlbany Lecturer in Africana Studies Jennifer Burns, Former EPA Regional Administrator, Visiting Professor at Bennington College, President of Beyond Plastics Judith Enck, and counter-terrorism expert and best-selling author, Malcolm Nance.

The new book: "After the Miracle: The Lasting Brotherhood of the '69 Mets" is the inside account of an iconic team in baseball history - a consistently last-place team that turned it all around in just one season - told by ’69 Mets outfielder Art Shamsky, Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, and other teammates as they reminisce about what happened then and where they are today.

Art Shamsky will be in Albany, New York on June 18 when The New York State Assembly and Senate will pass a resolution to honor the 1969 Mets team on the 50th anniversary of their championship season. 

Shamsky was a Major League baseball player for eight years, starting with the Cincinnati Reds in 1965 and then joining the New York Mets in the winter of 1967. Since his retirement from baseball, he has been involved in various businesses and worked as a sports broadcaster at WNEW-TV in New York City and on ESPN, and as a broadcaster for the NY Mets.

Headshot of Tim Mead
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

One of the most beloved organizations in our region is getting a new leader. This summer, Tim Mead is taking over as president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown.

On Wednesday, May 15, Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic Paul Goldberger will talk with Oblong Book and Music's Dick Hermans about "Ballpark: Baseball in the American City."

The book is a new look at the history of baseball: told through the stories of the vibrant and ever-changing ballparks at the heart of our cities--where dreams are as limitless as the outfields.

The baseball is an amazing plaything. We can grip it and hold it so many different ways, and even the slightest calibration can turn an ordinary pitch into a weapon to thwart the greatest hitters in the world. Each pitch has its own history, evolving through the decades as the masters pass it down to the next generation. From the earliest days of the game, when Candy Cummings dreamed up the curveball while flinging clamshells on a Brooklyn beach, pitchers have never stopped innovating. In "K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches," Tyler Kepner traces the colorful stories and fascinating folklore behind the ten major pitches.

Tyler Kepner started covering baseball as a teenager, interviewing players for a homemade magazine that was featured in The New York Times in 1989. He attended Vanderbilt University on the Grantland Rice/Fred Russell sportswriting scholarship, then covered the Angels for the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise and the Mariners for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He joined The New York Times in 2000, covering the Mets for two seasons, the Yankees for eight, and serving as the national baseball writer since 2010.

Wanda Fischer has loved baseball since she was eight years old. She's parlayed that into her first novel, "Empty Seats," which is not necessarily about her favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. Wanda, of course, is best known as the host of "The Hudson River Sampler," which she's done since 1982.

In "Empty Seats," they were all stars in their hometowns. Then they were drafted to play minor league ball, thinking it would be an easy ride to playing in the big time. Little did they know that they'd be vying for a spot with every other talented kid who aspired to play professional baseball. Young, inexperienced, immature, and without the support of their families and friends, they're often faced with split-second decisions. Not always on the baseball diamond.

Wanda will be at the Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza signing her new book on Friday night at 6PM.

Mark McGuire of The Daily Gazette and Keith Strudler of Montclair State University join Vox Pop to discuss sports including the NFL, MLB and more. WAMC's Ray Graf hosts.

Keith Strudler: Pulling Punches

May 31, 2017

Weather permitting, today my 7 year old son Elliot will have his debut performance on the pitching mound in Little League Baseball. I’m not exactly sure what to expect, other than what I expect when I watch any baseball game of 7 and 8 year olds – a lot walks and dropped fly balls. He practiced pitching quite a bit yesterday – and by quite a bit, I mean like 15 minutes – and is pretty excited to have the spotlight. So excited he’s decided to skip today’s soccer game to play baseball instead, which, if you’re current on youth sports, is not a typical decision.

As a player, Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel's contemporaries included Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, and Christy Mathewson . . . and he was the only person in history to wear the uniforms of all four New York teams: the Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, and Mets.

As a legendary manager, he formed indelible, complicated relationships with Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Billy Martin. For more than five glorious decades, Stengel was the undisputed, quirky, hilarious, and beloved face of baseball--and along the way he revolutionized the role of manager while winning a spectacular ten pennants and seven World Series Championships.  

But for a man who spent so much of his life in the limelight--an astounding fifty-five years in professional baseball--Stengel remains an enigma. Acclaimed New York Yankees' historian and bestselling author Marty Appel digs into Casey Stengel's quirks and foibles, unearthing a tremendous trove of baseball stories, perspective, and history. His new biography is: Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character.

Yankee Stadium in 2014.
Ian Pickus

There's news today of labor peace in major league baseball. The owners and players have reportedly reached an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement that will keep the players on the field for another five years. The news is being hailed by baseball fans who still remember the 1994 strike that wiped out the World Series for only the second time. Joining us to discuss the deal is Rick Burton, the David B. Falk endowed professor of sport management at Syracuse University.

Former three-time major league baseball all-star Ralph Branca has died at 90. Branca had an 11-year career in the bigs including stints with the Tigers and Yankees, but he is best remembered for a landmark moment in New York baseball. Pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers in a 1951 playoff, Branca gave up the “Shot Heard Round The World” — Bobby Thomson’s home run that sent the New York Giants to the World Series. Years later, Branca and Thomson made peace. But as Branca explained in an interview with WAMC in 2011, it eventually emerged that Thomson had received help stealing the Dodgers’ signs in an elaborate scheme. We spoke with him about his memoir A Moment in Time: An American Story of Baseball, Heartbreak, and Grace.

Ron Darling is a New York Times bestselling author and Emmy Award-winning baseball analyst for TBS, the MLB Network, SNY, and WPIX-TV, and author of The Complete Game. He was a starting pitcher for the New York Mets from 1983 to 1991 and the first Mets pitcher to be awarded a Gold Glove.

In his new book, Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life, he looks back at what might have been a signature moment in his career, and reflects on the ways professional athletes must sometimes shoulder a personal disappointment as their teams find a way to win.

Every sports fan recalls with amazing accuracy a pivotal winning moment involving a favorite team or player - yet lost are the stories on the other side of these history-making moments, the athletes who experienced not transcendent glory but crushing disappointment: the cornerback who missed the tackle on the big touchdown; the relief pitcher who lost the series; the world-record holding Olympian who fell on the ice.

In Losing Isn’t Everything, sportscaster Curt Menefee (joined by bestselling writer Michael Arkush) examines a range of signature "disappointments" from the wide world of sports, interviewing the subject at the heart of each loss and uncovering what it means—months, years, or decades later—to be associated with failure. 

 Brian Kenny is an Emmy Award­–winning broadcaster and host for the MLB Network. The foremost proponent of analytics on sports television, he founded the first and only TV program devoted to sports analytics, Clubhouse Confidential. He currently hosts the daily panel shows MLB Now and MLB Tonight, and is a columnist for Sports on Earth.

In his new book, Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution, he uses stories from baseball’s present and past to examine why we sometimes choose ignorance over information, and how tradition can trump logic, even when directly contradicted by evidence.

Chances are if you’re a dedicated WAMC listener, Frank Deford is a part of your morning routine. The legendary sportswriter has delivered more than 1,600 commentaries for Morning Edition over the past 36 years. His wry and incisive observations remain a refreshing antidote in an age of shouty sports talk defined by hot takes.

An Emmy and Peabody winner, Deford has written 18 books and serves as senior contributing writer at Sports Illustrated, where he first appeared in 1962. He’s also a correspondent for Real Sports on HBO.

This Saturday, Deford will sign copies of his new book I’d Know That Voice Anywhere: My Favorite NPR Commentaries at Sweetpea in Stone Ridge, New York.

  Vin Scully called the tenth-inning groundball in Game Six of the 1986 World Series - Mets versus Red Sox - that sealed a comeback, fueled a curse, and turned a batting champion into a scapegoat.

But getting there was a long, hard slog with plenty of heartache. After being knocked out of contention the previous two seasons, the Mets blasted through the National League that year. They won blowouts, nailbiters, fights, and a 14-inning game that ended with one pitcher on the mound, another in right field, and an All-Star catcher playing third base.

Matthew Silverman’s new book is One-Year Dynasty: Inside the Rise and Fall of the 1986 Mets, Baseball's Impossible One-and-Done Champions. He will be at The Low Beat in Albany, NY for a Happy Hour Mets event and book signing and he joins us. 

What’s it like to live through the longest season in sports, the 162-game Major League Baseball schedule? Washington Post staff writer Barry Svrluga’s The Grind, now out in paperback, captures the frustration, impermanence, and glory felt by the players, the staff, and their families from the start of spring training to the final game of the year – and into the offseason, when the preparations start again.

So much about baseball is known: the distance between the bases (90 feet), the batting average of a good hitter (.300), the velocity of a hard fastball (95 mph). The Grind shows us what we don’t know. No sport is as unrelenting as Major League Baseball; enduring the 162 games squeezed into 185 days (plus spring training and postseason) is shared, in different ways, by every facet of a franchise.

Keith Strudler: Brothers In Arms

Sep 30, 2015


Anyone who listens to this commentary regularly, and I say thank you, knows that I have two sons, currently aged 5 and 8. And more than anything, they like to fight with each other. They fight over pretty much anything. Yesterday they fought over a game of war. They often fight over Pokemon cards, which I still don't fully understand. Sometimes they fight out of mere habit or proximity. It starts as a hug and turns into a wrestling match. If you have kids, you likely know what I mean.

  So much about baseball is known: the distance between the bases (90 feet), the batting average of a good hitter (.300) and the velocity of a hard fastball (95 mph). Barry Svrluga’s new book, The Grind, shows us what we may not know. No sport is as unrelenting as Major League Baseball; enduring the 162 games squeezed into 185 days (plus spring training and postseason.)

In 2004, Svrluga was assigned to cover the return of baseball to Washington D.C. The nation’s capital had gone without a major league team since 1971. In 2014, Svrluga wrote a series for the Post about the personal toll that baseball takes, with each installment profiling a different character from the franchise.

The Grind grew directly from that series, including the original six longform pieces plus updates and additional chapters.

Keith Strudler: A Shorter Porch At Citi Field

Nov 19, 2014

It will be slightly easier to swing for the fences next year in New York’s Citi Field. That’s because those barriers have been moved slightly closer to home plate. Around 10 ten feet in right center field. This is the second time those pearly gates have moved in since the parks opening in 2009, both moves done to create more regular home run opportunities for Mets power hitters. This time it’s so that Curtis Granderson and others might reap the benefits of what this year were simply near misses. That, according to Mets logic, would increase Mets scoring, let them win more games, and, by default, fill seats, of which there will be a few more thanks to the extra space in right field.

8/15/14 Panel

Aug 15, 2014

    

  Today's panelists are NYPIRG legislative director Blair Horner and College of St. Rose Communications Professor, Mary Alice Molgard.

Topics include:
Iraq Update
Robin Williams - Parkinsons
Obama Urges Calm
Military-like Response in Ferguson
Baseball Commissioner Battle

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

PG Jason KIdd to Join the Knicks

Jul 6, 2012

Well the Knicks have added a Kidd to their backcourt – but they haven’t gotten any younger…

ESPN reports this morning that veteran point guard Jason Kidd has decided to leave the Mavericks and join the Knicks to the tune of roughly $9 million dollars over three years.  This move comes as Houston and restricted free agent point guard Jeremy Lin have reportedly come to terms on a four year, $29 million dollar deal - the Knicks have three days to match the Rockets’ offer.

Lakers Land PG Nash, Rockets Make Offer to Knicks' Lin

Jul 5, 2012

Well one NBA club celebrated our nation’s independence by bringing a Canadian to town…

The Lakers have acquired point guard Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade deal with the Suns, who receive four draft picks in return: first rounders in 2013 and 2015, and second rounders in 2013 and 2014. Nash agreed to a three-year deal worth $27 million dollars.

To replace Nash, the Suns have re-acquired point guard Goran Dragic to the tune of $34 million dollars over four years.

Source: Nets Land Hawks' Johnson, Pursue PG Williams

Jul 3, 2012

Well according league sources, the Nets have made a major move – and the deal does not include the names Dwight or Howard. 

The Hawks and Nets have reportedly agreed to a trade that would send All-Star guard Joe Johnson to Brooklyn. Johnson has four years and $90 million left on his contract.  The Hawks will receive five players and a draft pick from the Nets, who are also trying to re-sign free agent point guard Deron Williams.

Yankees' Sabathia, Pettitte Placed on DL

Jun 28, 2012

Well the Yankees starting rotation has taken a major hit…

Hours after the Yankees placed C.C. Sabathia on the DL with a strained groin, Andy Pettitte was hit by a line drive back through the box, breaking his left fibula right near the ankle.  Robinson Cano supplied a go-ahead, two-run shot to prevent the day from being a total loss, as the Yankees edged Cleveland 5-4.

In Boston, David Ortiz smacked his 399th career home run to help power the Red Sox, who scored six first-inning runs, to a 10-4 rout of Toronto.

Well there were no real surprises on the second day of play at Wimbledon…

Second seeds Rafael Nadal and Victoria Azarenka were straight-sets winners.  Nadal beat Thomaz Bellucci 7-6, 6-2, 6-3. Azarenka got the better of American Irina Falconi 6-1, 6-4.

Other winners on the men's side include fourth seed Andy Murray, fifth-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, ninth seed Juan Martin del Potro, and No. 10 Mardy Fish. 

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