September 26 2015

“At The Ballpark” — A Phenomenal Panel

A phenomenal panel on a Friday evening in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse...

“At The Ballpark” with Lee Lowenfish, Roberta Newman, Charlie Vascellaro & Russell Wolinsky.

They talked Baseball.  We listened and learned.

“At the Ballpark: A Fan’s Companion” is the perfect how-to guide -- especially for young fans -- illustrating the experience of watching, understanding and enjoying baseball.  In the words of the Chicago Tribune:  “Take kids out to the ballgame -- and bring this book.”

The phenomenal panel...

Lee Lowenfish, baseball author and CBN (Certified Baseball Nut), still remembers the thrill of seeing the green grass at the Polo Grounds at his first game in 1948.

Roberta Newman, a cultural historian who teaches at NYU, writes about the connections between baseball and advertising.

Charlie Vascellaro is a vagabond freelance baseball/travel writer who spends inordinate amounts of time in Cooperstown and spring training in Arizona, from where he issues frequent dispatches for newspapers and magazines around the country and speaks to various groups of people interested in baseball.

Russell Wolinsky is a punk rocker/baseball historian who was raised on the mean streets of the 1960s-1970s Bronx.

Listen.  Enjoy...


June 22 2015

“The Dad Report: Fathers, Sons, and Baseball Families” with Kevin Cook

A tapestry of uplifting stories in which fathers and sons share the game...

Almost two hundred father-son pairs have played in the big leagues.  Kevin Cook takes us inside the clubhouses, homes, and lives of many of the greats.

In visiting these legendary families, Cook discovers that ball-playing families are a lot like our own.  Dan Haren regrets the long road trips that keep him from his kids.  Ike Davis and his father, a former Yankee, debate whether Ike should pitch or play first base.  Buddy Bell leads a generation of big-leaguers determined to open their workplace -- the clubhouse -- to their kids.

Framing The Dad Report is the story of Kevin Cook's own father, Art Cook, a minor-league pitcher, a loveable rogue with a wicked screwball.  In Art's later years, Kevin phoned him almost every night to talk baseball.  They called those nightly conversations “the Dad Report.”  In time, Kevin came to see that these conversations were about much more than the game.  That's what this book is about: the way fathers and sons talk baseball as a way of talking about everything -- courage, fear, fun, family, morality, and mortality.

An award-winning sportswriter and former senior editor at Sports Illustrated, Kevin Cook is the author of Titanic Thompson, Tommy's Honor, and Kitty Genovese.

Listen in to Kevin Cook's special Father’s Day week conversation in the Clubhouse...


June 6 2015

“Crack of the Bat: A History of Baseball on the Radio” with James Walker

“I watch a lot of baseball on the radio.”  -President Gerald R. Ford

Radio has brought the sounds of baseball into homes for almost one hundred years.  The first All-Star Game, Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech, Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ’Round the World.”  Red Barber, Vin Scully, Harry Caray, Ernie Harwell, Bob Uecker, and dozens of other beloved announcers helped cement the love affair between radio and the national pastime.
Crack of the Bat: A History of Baseball on the Radio takes readers from the 1920s to the present.  Despite cable television’s ubiquity, live video streaming, and social media, radio remains an important medium through which fans engage with their teams. Even in changing times, the familiar sounds of the ball hitting the glove and the satisfying crack of the bat stay the same.

Pull up a chair and listen in to our Clubhouse conversation with James Walker.  An evening well spent...


May 30 2015

“The Colonel and Hug: The Partnership That Transformed The New York Yankees” with Steve Steinberg

“Ruppert and Huggins were the principal figures in the transition of the Yankees from an afterthought on the New York baseball scene to the nation’s greatest sports dynasty of the twentieth century.”  -Marty Appel

From the team’s inception in 1903, the New York Yankees were a floundering group that played as second-class citizens to the New York Giants. With four winning seasons to date, the team was purchased in 1915 by Jacob Ruppert and his partner, Cap “Til” Huston. Three years later, when Ruppert hired Miller Huggins as manager, the unlikely partnership of the two figures began, one that set into motion the Yankees’ run as the dominant baseball franchise of the 1920s and the rest of the twentieth century, capturing six American League pennants with Huggins at the helm and four more during Ruppert’s lifetime.
The Yankees’ success was driven by Ruppert’s executive style and enduring financial commitment, combined with Huggins’s philosophy of continual improvement and personnel development. While Ruppert and Huggins had more than a little help from one of baseball’s greats, Babe Ruth, their close relationship has been overlooked in the Yankees’ rise to dominance. Though both were small of stature, the two men nonetheless became giants of the game with unassailable mutual trust and loyalty.
The Colonel and Hug tells the story of how these two men transformed the Yankees. It also tells the larger story about baseball primarily in the tumultuous period from 1918 to 1929 -- with the end of the Deadball Era and the rise of the Lively Ball Era, a gambling scandal, and the collapse of baseball’s governing structure -- and the significant role the Yankees played in it all.

On a Thursday evening in May, Steve Steinberg took us back in time.  Listen in to our Clubhouse conversation...

Steve Steinberg is a baseball historian and coauthor (with Lyle Spatz) of “1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York.”


May 26 2015

“Split Season 1981″ with Jeff Katz, the Mayor of Cooperstown

The Mayor of Cooperstown, an author, and a former options trader walked into a Clubhouse...

The never-before-told, behind-the-scenes story of the exciting and memorable 1981 baseball season.  The year of Fernando Valenzuela, Pete Rose, the last Yankees-Dodgers World Series -- and the mid-season players’ strike that cut the heart out of the American summer.

Sourcing extensive interviews with almost all of the major participants in the strike, Split Season 1981: Fernandomania, The Bronx Zoo, and The Strike That Saved Baseball returns us to the on- and off-field drama of an unforgettable baseball year.

On a spring evening, Jeff Katz -- the Mayor of Cooperstown, author, former options trader -- walked into the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse.  We had a star-studded, standing-room-only crowd.  Listen in to our Clubhouse conversation...


May 16 2015

“Billy Martin: Baseball’s Flawed Genius” with Bill Pennington

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” Billy Martin said.  He was in second grade.

Billy Martin is a story of contrasts. He was the “other” second baseman in New York in the 1950s, playing nearly every fall opposite Brooklyn’s Jackie Robinson. He spent sixteen seasons managing in the big leagues and is considered by anyone who knows the sport to have been a true baseball genius, a field manager without peer. Yet he’s remembered more for his habit of kicking dirt at umpires, for being hired and fired by George Steinbrenner five separate times, for his rabble-rousing and public brawls on the field and off. He was combative, fiery, intimidating, bombastic, and yet endearing and beloved by the everyday fan. He was hard on his players and even harder on himself.  But he knew how to turn around a losing team like no one else. And how to entertain us every step of the way.

Drawing on exhaustive interviews with friends, family, teammates, players, and countless adversaries -- and his own time covering Martin as a young sportswriter -- Bill Pennington paints an indelible portrait of a man who never backed down for the game he loved. From his upbringing in a broken home surrounded by a shantytown to his days on the Yankees in the 1950s, where he found success as a scrappy clutch player, through sixteen years of managing, including his legendary, often fraught tenure at the helm of the Yankees, Billy Martin made sure no one ever ignored him. And indeed no one could. He was the hero, the antihero, and the alter ego -- or some combination of all three -- for his short sixty-one years among us.

Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius by Bill Pennington

Bill Pennington is an award-winning sportswriter for “The New York Times.”  A former syndicated columnist, Pennington was a beat writer who covered much of Billy Martin's tenure with the New York Yankees. 

Listen in to a special spring evening of inside baseball stories with Bill Pennington in the Clubhouse...


May 11 2015

“If These Walls Could Talk: New York Yankees” with Jim Kaat

Pitching through four decades in the Major Leagues, Jim Kaat won 283 games with the Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals.  After his playing days, Jim went on to win seven Emmy Awards for his work as a broadcaster for the New York Yankees.  Since joining MLB Network, Jim has been nominated for three national Emmys.

As a ballplayer and broadcaster, Jim had a prime seat to watch it all unfold.  In If These Walls Could Talk, he provides a closer look at the Yankees.  Via multiple interviews conducted with current and past Yankees, readers will meet the players, coaches and management, and share in their moments of victory and defeat.

During our special event with Jim Kaat, he discussed his childhood baseball memories, favorite piece of memorabilia, matching up in the World Series against Sandy Koufax, the best ballplayers of his era, the ballplayers of today, Sabermetrics, Billy Martin, George Steinbrenner, Pete Rose, Stephen Strasburg, pitch counts, and his broadcasting career. 

Listen in to our fascinating evening with Jim Kaat, when the Clubhouse walls talked...


April 30 2015

“A Game of Their Own: Voices of Contemporary Women in Baseball” with Jennifer Ring

There is a national women’s baseball team in the United States.  It is virtually unknown.

One of the best kept secrets in American sports: Team USA has medaled in every international competition it has played in for the past decade.
A Game of Their Own chronicles the largely invisible history of women in baseball.  Jennifer Ring includes oral histories of eleven members of the U.S. Women’s National Team, from the moment each player picked up a bat and ball as a young girl to her selection for Team USA.  Each story is unique, but they share common themes that will resonate with all baseball fans: facing skepticism and taunts from players and parents when taking the batter’s box or the pitcher’s mound, self-doubt, the unceasing pressure to switch to softball, and eventual acceptance by their baseball teammates as they prove themselves as ballplayers.  The stories of these racially, culturally, and economically diverse players come alive as they recount their battles and most memorable moments playing baseball -- the joys of exceeding expectations and the pleasure of honing baseball skills and talent despite the lack of support.
Featuring exclusive interviews with players, coaches, and administrators, A Game of Their Own celebrates the U.S. Women’s National Team and the excellence of its remarkable players.  In response to the jeer “No girls allowed!” these are powerful stories of optimism and staying true to oneself.

Listen in to our wonderful evening with Jennifer Ring in the Clubhouse...


April 20 2015

“Freedom Between The Lines” with Gregory Rubano

A story that needs to be told...

Devised in the late nineteenth century, the United States government’s “solution” to “the Indian Problem” was simple and heartless.  Take the children from their homes, strip them of their cultural identity and pride, and make them “Americans.”  Teaching them baseball -- “America's Game” -- would complete the indoctrination.  Or so they thought.

Freedom Between The Lines recreates the story of Native American youth sent to a federally run boarding school -- the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.  What awaits the children is a carefully plotted re-education program intended to “civilize” them by “driving the Indian out of them.”  The psychological assault begins as soon as they arrive: hair is cut, uniforms issued, clothes and keepsakes destroyed.  In baseball, however, the boys find a way to reclaim their proud warrior tradition, a way to compete fairly against an unjust society.  The book focuses upon one of the boys, Charles Albert Bender.  He was so good at “America' Game,” Bender became the only Native American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The book includes a supplement with many photos that traces both the tragic history of the government’s attempts to solve “the Indian problem,” and the early history of baseball’s amazing appeal to all of America.

A recently retired English teacher, Gregory Rubano is currently the director and curriculum consultant for an arts integrated anti-bullying and intolerance program, All for Youth.

Listen in to our Clubhouse conversation with Greg Rubano and Freedom Between The Lines...


April 10 2015

“100 Years of Who’s Who in Baseball” with Marty Appel and Doug Lyons

In celebration of the 100th issue of Who’s Who in Baseball -- one of the game’s most venerable publications -- this beautiful book features each of the annual's 100 iconic covers in full color along with an account of why the player rated the cover and what was going on in baseball at the time.

Marty Appel is the author of many books, including Pinstripe Empire and the New York Times bestseller Munson. Following his years as the Yankees’ public relations director, he became an Emmy Award-winning television producer and director of Marty Appel Public Relations. Appel lives in New York City and appears frequently on ESPN, HBO, the MLB Network, and the YES Network.

Douglas B. Lyons is a leading authority on all things baseball. He is the author of Out of Left Field, Curveballs and Screwballs, and Short Hops and Foul Tips, all of which he co-wrote with his brother Jeffrey. He also wrote Broadcast Rites and Sites: I Saw It on the Radio with Red Sox broadcaster Joe Castiglione.

On a spring evening in the Clubhouse, we had a wide-ranging, fascinating discussion with two of the country's leading baseball experts.  Listen in...


March 28 2015

“Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers” with 16-year-old author Matt Nadel

We’ve hosted Hall of Famers and Pulitzer Prize winners.  But never a 16-year-old author.  Until now.

Matt Nadel’s first book -- Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers -- is an A-to-Z compendium of the best players, ballparks, teams, and moments in the history of the game.  Filled with stats and quick facts, and featuring over 50 iconic photographs, the book is a primer for baseball beginners, a resource for developing fans, and a treat for long-time devotees.  Special bonus: a foreword by Hall of Famer Jim Palmer.

All of Matt’s book proceeds will be donated to the ALS, Turn 2, Jackie Robinson, and Hall of Fame foundations.

Matt Nadel has written an Pro Blog since he was 13-years-old.  He’s interviewed Yogi Berra, Hank Aaron, Bud Selig, Rob Manfred, Billy Crystal, President George W. Bush and many others.  Matt would like to interview every living President and Hall of Famer.  A 10th grader who resides in New Jersey, he aspires to be a baseball journalist and historian.  When not doing baseball research or working on his blog, Matt enjoys watching his beloved Yankees, playing video games, and eating chocolate ice cream with rice krispies.

On a March evening, Matt Nadel came to the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse for his first-ever book event.  In front of a standing-room-only crowd, Matt showed why he's a "can't-miss" prospect.  Listen in...


March 16 2015

“Joe Black: More Than A Dodger” with Martha Jo Black

“I pray that my Dad knew how much I loved and respected him. I am very blessed to be able to say that Joe Black was my father.”
  -Martha Jo Black

When Joe Black was in high school, a Major League scout told him that the color of his skin would keep him out of the big leagues.  But in 1952, at the age of 28, he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  In the face of segregation, verbal harassment, and even death threats, Joe Black became Jackie Robinson’s roommate and rose to the top of his game; he was named National League Rookie of the Year and became the first African-American pitcher to win a World Series game.  With the same tenacity he showed in his baseball career, Black became the first African-American vice president of a transportation corporation when he went to work for Greyhound.

Martha Jo Black is the daughter of Joe Black.  She lives in Chicago, where she works for the Chicago White Sox.

Joe Black: More Than A Dodger.  Listen in to our intimate Clubhouse conversation with Martha Jo Black from a March evening, where she shared stories of the father she knew and loved...


March 7 2015

“Gil Hodges: A Hall of Fame Life” with author Mort Zachter

“No man lives his image.”  -Gil Hodges

“As a Marine, one of Brooklyn’s beloved Boys of Summer, and the manager of the Miracle Mets, Gil Hodges lived a great American life, though one cut too short. In these pages you understand how Hodges defined what it meant to be a role model in a golden age."  -Tom Verducci, senior writer for Sports Illustrated

“Zachter brings the same grace and precision to the page that Hodges brought to first base at Ebbets Field and with methodical research, insight, and pure affection gives life to the man behind the astounding stats.”
  -Marty Markowitz, former Brooklyn Borough president

“Whether focusing on Hodges the Hoosier, the marine on Okinawa, the home run-hitting slugger, or the Brooklynite on Bedford Avenue, Mort Zachter has given us Gil, right down to the nub of his Marlboro.”
  -Bob McGee, author of The Greatest Ballpark Ever

Listen in to Mort Zachter's appearance in the Clubhouse on a snowy March evening and you’ll understand the warm praise...


February 16 2015

“Circus Maximus” with Andrew Zimbalist

Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup

“Andrew Zimbalist is a perpetual source of insight on the economics and administration of modern sports.”  -Bob Costas

For his third appearance in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse -- and on the date of its release -- we celebrated the newest book by noted sports economist Andrew Zimbalist.

Athletes compete for national honor in Olympic and World Cup games.  But the road to these mega events is paved by big business.  How did both the Olympics and the World Cup evolve from noble sporting events to exhibits of excess?  And what is the "winner's curse?"

Listen in to our wide-ranging, fascinating Clubhouse conversation with Andrew Zimbalist...

Andrew Zimbalist is the country’s preeminent sports economist, a frequent sports industry consultant and media commentator, professor at Smith College, and author of many books, including The Sabermetric Revolution, Baseball and Billions, Circling the Bases, and In the Best Interests of Baseball.


November 14 2014

Special Event: “A Baseball Life” with Bill Giles and author John Lord

"I was born and raised in a ballpark."

A special event in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse: "A Baseball Life" with Bill Giles and author John Lord.

Celebrating Bill Giles & Baseball, we discussed the inner workings of the national pastime.

Bill and John spoke about realignment, the wild card, revenue sharing, collusion, Bud Selig, Peter Ueberroth, Lance Parrish, Ernie Lombardi's missing glove, Pete Rose, the Major League Baseball Players Association, Citizens Bank Park, and so much more.

Listen in to an evening of emotion and stories, live from the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse...


October 11 2014

“The Chalmers Race” with author Rick Huhn

In 1910, auto magnate Hugh Chalmers offered an automobile to the baseball player with the highest batting average that season.  What followed was a batting race unlike any before or since, between the greatest but most despised hitter, Detroit's Ty Cobb, and the American League's first superstar, Cleveland’s popular Napoleon Lajoie.

The race came down to the last game of the season and became a national obsession.

The Chalmers Race details a story of dubious scorekeeping and statistical systems, of performances and personalities in conflict, of accurate results coming in 70 years too late, and of a contest settled not by play on the field but by human foibles.

Do you know this story of baseball and America?

On October 9, Rick Huhn led our Clubhouse conversation.  Listen in...


October 7 2014

NY Giants Preservation Society special guest: Ed Lucas

The final NY Giants Preservation Society event of the 2014 season.

Special guest: Ed Lucas

"Baseball took my sight, but gave me a life."

There is nothing else to add, except listen.  Please pull up a chair and listen.  47 spellbinding minutes...


September 12 2014

A special evening in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse with Nicholas Dawidoff

On a September evening, we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of The Catcher Was a Spy with Nicholas Dawidoff, writer extraordinaire.

Dawidoff, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard, has been a Guggenheim Fellow, Civitella Ranieri Fellow, Berlin Prize Fellow of the American Academy, Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University, and is currently a Branford Fellow at Yale University.  A Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Fly Swatter, Dawidoff is a contributor to The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and Rolling Stone.

Listen in to Nicholas Dawidoff, a fascinating fellow, discuss his books The Catcher Was a Spy and Collision Low Crossers.  A captivating conversation in the Clubhouse...


September 8 2014

“No No: A Dockumentary” - special panel discussion with director Jeffrey Radice and sports agent Tom Reich

On an evening in June 1970, Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In all of baseball history, Dock is the only pitcher to ever claim he accomplished this feat while high on LSD.

During his 12 years in the major leagues, Dock lived the expression “Black is Beautiful!” He wore curlers on the field. He stepped out of his Cadillac wearing the widest bell bottoms and the broadest collars. When he put on his uniform, he was one of the most intimidating pitchers of the 1970s.

Dock was often at the forefront of controversy and was an outspoken leader of a new wave of civil rights in sports.

After retiring, Dock became as outspoken about his career-spanning substance abuse issues as he had been about intolerance.  He spent his last decades utilizing his brash approach as a counselor, helping other addicts in their recoveries.

On the eve of its theatrical release, we viewed limited footage from No No: A Dockumentary.  Listen in to the discussion that followed with director Jeffrey Radice and preeminent sports agent Tom Reich.  A fascinating evening in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse...


July 16 2014

“Big Red” with Ken Griffey

A special All-Star evening in the Clubhouse...

"Big Red: Baseball, Fatherhood, and My Life in the Big Red Machine" by Ken Griffey and Phil Pepe

Reflecting on an outstanding 19-year major league career, Ken Griffey's autobiography details his decision to venture into the baseball business, documenting his time as a player, scout, coach, and manager along with his accomplishments as a father, raising two other major league ballplayers: Craig, who played briefly for the Seattle Mariners, and future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.

Capturing Griffey's time with the Big Red Machine, this book details his days playing alongside Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Pete Rose, highlighting the Reds' two consecutive world championships in 1975 and 1976.  Finally, the ultimate thrill of his career is featured: playing in the same outfield in 1990 with his son, Ken Griffey Jr., during the game where they hit back-to-back home runs -- the only father-son combination to do so in the history of Major League Baseball.

We spent the night of the All-Star Game with someone who played in it.  Listen in to Ken Griffey's behind-the-scenes stories of what it’s like when baseball really does run in the family...

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