April 23 2016

“God Almighty Hisself: The Life and Legacy of Dick Allen” with author Mitchell Nathanson


“I believe God Almighty hisself would have trouble handling Richie Allen.”  -George Myatt, Philadelphia Phillies’ interim manager, 1969

When the Philadelphia Phillies signed Dick Allen in 1960, fans of the franchise envisioned bearing witness to feats never before accomplished by a Phillies player.   A half-century later, they’re still trying to make sense of what they saw.

Carrying to the plate baseball’s heaviest and loudest bat as well as the burden of being the club’s first African American superstar, Allen found both hits and controversy with regularity as he established himself as the premier individualist in a game that prided itself on conformity.  Mitchell Nathanson unveils the strange and maddening career of a man who somehow managed to fulfill and frustrate expectations all at once.

Mitchell Nathanson is Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law.  He is author of “A People's History of Baseball” and coauthor of “Understanding Baseball: A Textbook.”

An April evening in the Clubhouse and God Almighty Hisself: The Life and Legacy of Dick Allen.  Listen in...


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April 7 2016

“Kings of Queens: Life Beyond Baseball with the ‘86 Mets” with author Erik Sherman


“I’m so proud of what we accomplished in that magical 1986 season and the brotherhood that we still have for one another all these years later.  Enjoy this personal portrayal of one of baseball history’s greatest and most charismatic teams.”  -Davey Johnson

In 1986, the bad guys of baseball won the World Series.

“What if I actually went out and visited the players where they are today -- in their homes, in the dugouts they currently coach or manage in, or in the bars they might frequent?  I would interview the men who’d made up this magical team, find out what happened to them after their glory days were behind them, and explore the impact they as individuals and as a team had on the fans and the organization -- then and now.”  -Erik Sherman

During the first week of the 2016 season, Erik Sherman offered his unique perspective in a Clubhouse conversation about the "Kings of Queens: Life Beyond Baseball with the '86 Mets."  Listen in...

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March 28 2016

“Greatness in the Shadows” with author Douglas Branson


“Larry Doby’s trials, and the triumphs that earned him a place in Cooperstown, are a stirring story wonderfully told by Douglas Branson.”  -George F. Will

Just eleven weeks after Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, Larry Doby became the first black player to integrate the American League, signing with the Cleveland Indians in July 1947.  Doby went on to become a seven-time All-Star who led the Indians to two pennants.  In many respects, Robinson and Doby were equals in their baseball talent and experiences and had remarkably similar playing careers.

Well into the 1950s, Doby was the only African American All-Star in the American League during a period in which fifteen black players became National League All-Stars.  Why is Doby largely forgotten as a central figure in baseball’s integration?  Why has he not been accorded his rightful place in baseball history?  Greatness in the Shadows: Larry Doby and the Integration of the American League attempts to answer these questions, bringing Doby’s story to life and sharing his achievements and firsts with a new generation.

Douglas M. Branson is the W. Edward Sell Chair in Business Law at the University of Pittsburgh.  He is the author of nineteen books, including No Seat at the Table; The Last Male Bastion; and Three Tastes of Nuoc Mam.

Listen in to Douglas Branson and Greatness in the Shadows, live in the Clubhouse...

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March 19 2016

“Amazin’ Again” with author Greg Prince


“The Mets are gonna be amazing.”  -Casey Stengel, circa 1975

They were coming off a seemingly endless string of losing records.  They were considered years away from legitimate contention.  They were derided and disregarded as a matter of course.  But in 2015, the New York Mets changed their course and changed their story.  The result was the best kind of amazin’.  They proceeded to capture a division title, raise a pennant, and lay claim to the heart of their city.

Author Greg Prince -- cocreator of Faith and Fear in Flushing -- traces the trajectory of this championship season and recreates the emotions of a year that culminated in the Mets making New York their kind of town once again in Amazin' Again: How the 2015 New York Mets Brought the Magic Back to Queens.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was six, during the magical summer of 1969.  He is the cocreator of the blog Faith and Fear in Flushing, the daily destination for “Mets fans who like to read.”  Prince has written about baseball for The New York Times, Huffington Post, Yahoo! Sports, and ESPN.com; served as a consultant to the film The Last Play at Shea; and helped organize the New York Mets 50th Anniversary conference at Hofstra University.

On an amazin' March evening, Greg brought the magic back to the Clubhouse.  Listen in.  Enjoy...


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March 8 2016

“The Cardinals Way” with Howard Megdal


How one team embraced tradition and Moneyball at the same time...

The St. Louis Cardinals have experienced the kind of success that is rare in baseball.  They not only win, but do so with an apparently bottomless pool of talent, one that is mostly homegrown.

“The Cardinal Way” -- a term that has come to represent many things to fans, media, and other organizations, from an ironclad code of conduct to the team’s cutting-edge use of statistics and analytics, and a farm system that has transformed baseball.

In the spirit of “Moneyball,” baseball journalist Howard Megdal takes fans behind the scenes and off the field.  Megdal reveals how the players are assessed and groomed using an unrivaled player development system.  He tells an in-depth, fascinating story about a consistently good franchise, the business of sports in the 21st century, and a team that has learned how to level the playing field, turning in season after successful season.

Howard Megdal has written for “Capital New York,” “Sports Illustrated,” “The New York Times,” and “USA Today,” among others.  His prior books include “The Baseball Talmud” and “Wilpon’s Folly.”

On the first Thursday in March, Howard Megdal led a packed Clubhouse in our captivating conversation about “The Cardinals Way.”  Listen in...

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February 26 2016

“Black Baseball, Black Business” with Roberta Newman and Joel Nathan Rosen


“Desegregation in baseball was hard on everybody.”  -Monte Irvin, Hall of Famer

An extraordinary history of the Negro Leagues and the economic disruptions of desegregating a sport

Roberta Newman and Joel Nathan Rosen examine how the relationship between black baseball and black businesses functioned, particularly in urban areas with significant African American populations.  Inextricably bound together by circumstance, these sports and business alliances faced destruction and upheaval.

Once Jackie Robinson and a select handful of black baseball’s elite gained acceptance in Major League Baseball and financial stability in the mainstream economy, shock waves traveled throughout the black business world.  Though the economic impact on Negro League baseball is perhaps obvious due to its demise, the impact on other black-owned businesses and on segregated neighborhoods is often undervalued if not outright ignored in current accounts.  We know about the great individual players who played in the Negro Leagues and integrated the Major Leagues.  But what happens when a community has its economic footing undermined while simultaneously being called upon to celebrate a larger social progress?

On a February evening in front of a standing-room-only crowd in the Clubhouse, Roberta Newman and Joel Nathan Rosen took us through Black Baseball, Black Business.  Pull up a chair and listen in...

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February 5 2016

“The Golden Era of Major League Baseball” with Bryan Soderholm-Difatte


A former CIA analyst walked through the Clubhouse door...

In The Golden Era of Major League Baseball: A Time of Transition and Integration, Bryan Soderholm-Difatte explores the significant events and momentous changes that took place in baseball from 1947 to 1960.

Beginning with Jackie Robinson’s rookie season in 1947, Soderholm-Difatte provides a careful and thorough examination of baseball’s integration, including the struggles of black players who were not able to break into the starting lineups.  In addition, the author looks at the dying practice of player-managers, the increasing use of relief pitchers and platooning, the iconic 1951 pennant race between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and more.  Soderholm-Difatte also tells the stories of three central characters to this era, whose innovations, strategies, and vision changed the game -- Branch Rickey, Casey Stengel, and Leo Durocher.

Bryan Soderholm-Difatte is a former senior analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Counterterrorism Center.  He is a regular contributor to The Baseball Research Journal.

Listen in to a fascinating “deep dive” discussion on a February evening in the Clubhouse with Bryan Soderholm-Difatte...

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January 25 2016

“Fun City: John Lindsay, Joe Namath, and How Sports Saved New York in the 1960s” with Sean Deveney


“Coming events cast their shadows before.”  -Thomas Campbell, Scottish poet

On January 1, 1966, New York came to a standstill as the city’s transit workers went on strike.  This was the first day on the job for Mayor John Lindsay.  He would approach the transit shutdown with the sort of dynamic problem solving that would be his hallmark.  He ignored the cold and walked four miles, famously declaring, “I still think it is a fun city.”

As Lindsay juggled his city’s repeated crises, the sporting scene saw tremendous upheaval.  On one hand, the venerable Yankees -- who had won 15 pennants in an 18-year span before 1965 -- and the NFL’s powerhouse Giants suddenly went into a level of decline neither had known for generations.  But on the other, the fall of the city’s sports behemoths was accompanied by the rise of anti-establishment outsiders -- there were Joe Namath and the Jets, as well as the shocking triumph of the Amazin’ Mets, who won the 1969 World Series after spending the franchise’s first seven seasons losing 737 ballgames.

The overlap of these two worlds in the 1960s -- Lindsay’s politics and the reemerging sports landscape -- serves as the backbone of “Fun City.”  It is a story of a thrilling time in New York sports, set against the backdrop of a remarkable and often difficult time for the city, culturally and socially.

Listen in to our fascinating discussion with Sean Deveney on a “Fun City” winter evening in the Clubhouse...

(This podcast is dedicated to the memory of David Garth, a truly great New Yorker.)

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December 17 2015

“Baseball Immortal: Derek Jeter” with Danny Peary

“Passion is the genesis of genius.”  -Galileo

Baseball Immortal: Derek Jeter takes you on a remarkable forty-year journey, letting you step inside the great Yankee shortstop’s life and career through his own words and those of the people who have known him best personally and in the sports community.  The result is an incredible, insightful look at what made him not only an amazing ballplayer, but also an intriguing and complex personality.

The book is packed with quotes by Jeter’s parents, friends, teachers and mentors, coaches, scouts, teammates, opposing players, his fans and critics, celebrities, elite athletes like Michael Jordan, writers and broadcasters, managers, George Steinbrenner and even two presidents. The big surprise comes from the revealing quotes from Derek Jeter himself, who, during his career, constantly frustrated journalists by keeping his thoughts to himself.

Danny Peary is a sports and film historian who has published 24 books.  He collaborated on the biographies of Roger Maris and Gil Hodges, the autobiographies of Ralph Kiner and Shannon Miller, and three books with Tim McCarver.  Peary is the writer-researcher of The Tim McCarver Show.

Listen in to our conversation with Danny Peary on a warm December evening in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse...

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November 16 2015

“A Century in the Bleachers” with Arnold Hano and filmmaker Jon Leonoudakis


Meet Arnold Hano. He might be the Babe Ruth of writers.

Arnold has been published in nine decades, wrote twenty-seven books, sold over a million of them, and penned 500 magazine and newspaper articles.

Hano! A Century in the Bleachers is the story of the extraordinary life and times of 93-year-old Arnold Hano, one of the most prolific writers of the past century.

Baseball fan, war veteran, activist and storyteller emeritus: few have lived and chronicled the American experience as extensively. His story has flown under the radar of popular culture for almost a hundred years... until now.

On a Friday evening in November, we welcomed the legendary Arnold Hano and filmmaker Jon Leonoudakis to the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse for a special event.  Listen in...

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November 10 2015

“Havana Hardball: Spring Training, Jackie Robinson, and the Cuban League” with Cesar Brioso


In February 1947, the most memorable season in the history of the Cuban League finished with a dramatic series win by Almendares against its rival Habana.  As the celebration spread through the streets of Havana and across Cuba, the Brooklyn Dodgers -- and a minor leaguer named Jackie Robinson -- were beginning spring training on the island.

Robinson was two months away from making his major league debut in Brooklyn.  To avoid racism and harassment from the crowds in Florida during this critical time, the Dodgers relocated their spring training to Cuba.

It was also during this time that Major League Baseball was trying to bring the “outlaw” Cuban League under the control of organized baseball.  As the Cubans fought to stay independent, Robinson worked to earn a roster spot on the Dodgers.

In Havana Hardball, veteran journalist Cesar Brioso brings together a rich mix of worlds as the heyday of Latino baseball converged with one of the most socially meaningful events in American history.  Listen in to our discussion on a Fall evening in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse...

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November 3 2015

“The Betrayal: The 1919 World Series and the Birth of Modern Baseball” with Charles Fountain


We are continually pulled to the story of the 1919 World Series and the Chicago White Sox -- The Black Sox -- because so much of modern sport, and our attitude towards it, springs from the scandal.

In The Betrayal, Charles Fountain traces the Black Sox story from its roots in the gambling culture that pervaded the game in the years surrounding World War I, through the confusing events of the 1919 World Series itself, to the noisy aftermath and trial, and illuminates the moment as baseball's tipping point.

Situating the Black Sox events in the context of later scandals, including those involving Cincinnati Reds manager and player Pete Rose, and the ongoing use of performance-enhancing drugs in the game up through the present, Fountain illuminates America’s near century-long fascination with the story, and its continuing relevance today.

Charles Fountain is an Associate Professor at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism.  His journalism career encompassed work in television, radio, newspapers and magazines.  Fountain is the author of several books, including Under the March Sun: The Story of Spring Training and Sportswriter: The Life and Times of Grantland Rice.

On an off day for this year’s World Series, we took a look back at the most talked about Fall Classic in baseball history.  Listen in...

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October 22 2015

“Game of My Life: NY Mets” with Ed Charles and author Michael Garry


An October evening in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse with a World Series Champion.

Michael Garry, author of Game of My Life: New York Mets, took us through the most unforgettable games in Mets history, as the franchise morphed from a dismal expansion team in 1962 to World Series Champions in 1969 and 1986 and then back to basement dwellers before meeting the Yankees in the 2000 Subway Series and evolving into the current, highly promising squad.

Then, special guest Ed Charles -- "The Glider" -- of the 1969 Miracle Mets, told stories and answered questions.  It was a night filled with emotion.  A special night.  Listen in...

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October 10 2015

“Pinstripes and Penance / Long Road Home” with John Malangone and Mike Harrison


“I want you to stay away from my brothers.  You are prone to trouble.  You are always in trouble.”  -Mickey Mantle

After a private screening of the award-winning documentary Long Road Home, John Malangone spoke in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse.

In 1937, at the age of six, John found a broken umbrella in the basement of his East Harlem tenement.  He stripped it and turned it into a javelin.  John threw it, accidentally hitting a child in the head, piercing his skull.  The child was only a year older.  He was also John’s uncle.

As a teenager, Malangone couldn’t play for his high school team because he was “classified” as intellectually slow.  Paul Krichell, the scout who first identified Lou Gehrig and Whitey Ford as prospects, spotted John in a sandlot game.  Soon, Malangone was a 17-year-old catcher in the Yankees organization.

John’s life story -- as featured in Pinstripes and Penance by author Michael Harrison -- offers an unvarnished look into that organization and a man’s struggle with memories of a life-changing childhood tragedy.

On an October evening in the Clubhouse, we heard stories about the rich and often tumultuous culture of East Harlem in the 1940s and 1950s... betting on ballgames, the Hoodlum Priest, the Mob, hijacking tractor trailers in Winston-Salem and dropping them off at the Vince Lombardi Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike, and many more.  John also reminisced about Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, and Earl Weaver.

Pull up a chair, relax, and listen in on the life of the best New York Yankee prospect you never heard of: John Malangone at the age of 84...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.”

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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...

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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...

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