June 26 2017

“The Pride of the Yankees” with Richard Sandomir

 

The untold story behind the first great sports film... The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper, and the Making of a Classic

 

On July 4, 1939, baseball great Lou Gehrig stood in Yankee Stadium and gave a speech that contained the phrase that would become legendary: "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

He died two years later and his fiery widow, Eleanor, wanted nothing more than to keep his memory alive.  With her forceful will, she and the irascible producer Samuel Goldwyn quickly agreed to make a film based on Gehrig's life, "The Pride of the Yankees."  Goldwyn didn't understand -- or care about -- baseball.  For him this film was the emotional story of a quiet, modest hero who married a spirited woman who was the love of his life, and, after a storied career, gave a short speech that transformed his legacy.  With the world at war and soldiers dying on foreign soil, it was the kind of movie America needed.

Using original scripts, letters, memos, and other rare documents, Richard Sandomir tells the behind-the-scenes story of how a classic was born.  The search to find the actor to play Gehrig; the stunning revelations Eleanor made to the scriptwriter Paul Gallico about her life with Lou; the intensive training Gary Cooper underwent to learn how to catch, throw, and hit a baseball for the first time.

On a warm summer evening, Richard Sandomir led our intimate Clubhouse conversation and brought "The Pride of the Yankees" to life.  Listen in...

 

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June 16 2017

“Piazza” with author Greg Prince

A franchise and fan base in perpetual search of validation finally had its ticket punched as 2016 dawned.  Mike Piazza, who held records in one hand and a city's rapt attention in the other, gained election to the Hall of Fame.  Within weeks of this long-awaited announcement, the ballclub with whom he chose to cast his eternal lot, the New York Mets, made a date to retire his number.

In Piazza: Catcher, Slugger, Icon, Star, Greg Prince explores the parallel paths Piazza and the Mets set out on in the early 1990s and how their individual journeys merged into a mutual quest for transcendence.  From marriage of convenience to lifetime bond to a state of baseball grace reached only once before in team history, "Piazza" examines how the stranger from Los Angeles became New York's favorite son and why the Mets fans continued to rally to Piazza's cause years after he took his final swing for them.

Greg Prince is co-creator of the blog Faith and Fear in Flushing, the daily destination for "Mets fans who like to read."  His memoir of the same name was published in 2009 and was followed in 2016 by "Amazin' Again."  He has written about baseball for the "New York Times," "Huffington Post," and ESPN.com; served as a consultant to the film "The Last Play at Shea;" and helped organize the New York Mets Fiftieth Anniversary Conference at Hofstra.

On June 15, 2017 -- the 40th Anniversary of "The Midnight Massacre" -- Greg Prince led our intimate Clubhouse conversation into a slice of Mets history, as only he can.  Piazza, Seaver, Prince.  Hall of Famers, all.  Listen in...

 

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June 10 2017

“Making My Pitch” with Jean Hastings Ardell

 

"Making My Pitch: A Woman's Baseball Odyssey" tells the story of Ila Jane Borders, who despite formidable obstacles became a Little League prodigy, MVP of her otherwise all-male middle school and high school teams, the first woman awarded a baseball scholarship, and the first to pitch and win a complete men's collegiate game.

After Mike Veeck signed Borders in May 1997 to pitch for his St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League, she accomplished what no woman had done since the Negro Leagues era: play men's professional baseball.  Borders played four professional seasons and in 1998 became the first woman in the modern era to win a professional ball game.

Borders had to find ways to fit in with her teammates, reassure their wives and girlfriends, work with the media, and fend off groupies.  But these weren't the toughest challenges.  She had a troubled family life, a difficult adolescence as she struggled with her sexual orientation, and an emotionally fraught college experience as a closeted gay athlete at a Christian university.

"Making My Pitch" shows what it's like to be the only woman on the team bus, in the clubhouse, and on the field.  Raw, open, and funny at times, her story encompasses the loneliness of a groundbreaking pioneer who experienced grave personal loss.  Borders ultimately relates how she achieved self-acceptance and created a life as a firefighter and paramedic and as a coach and goodwill ambassador for the game of baseball.

Jean Hastings Ardell is an Author/Editor/Speaker/Researcher/Teacher.  She is co-chair of the NINE Spring Training Conference, and author of "Breaking into Baseball: Women and the National Pastime."

On a Thursday in June, Jean Hastings Ardell led our intimate Clubhouse conversation.  A beautiful evening.  Listen in...

 

 

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June 2 2017

“Urban Shocker” with Steve Steinberg

Baseball in the 1920's is most known for Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees, but there was another great Yankees player in that era whose compelling story remains untold.

Urban Shocker was a fiercely competitive and colorful pitcher.  With the 1927 Yankees, widely viewed to be the best team in Major League Baseball history, Shocker pitched with guts and guile, finishing with a record of 18-6 even while his fastball and physical skills were deserting him.  Hardly anyone knew that Shocker was suffering from incurable heart disease that left him able to sleep only while sitting up and which would take his life in less than a year.

Steve Steinberg is a baseball historian and coauthor with Lyle Spatz of "The Colonel and Hug: The Partnership that Transformed the New York Yankees" and "1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York."

Delving into his baseball career, his love of the game, and his battle with health issues, Steve Steinberg led our intimate Clubhouse conversation about the dominant and courageous force of "Urban Shocker: Silent Hero of Baseball's Golden Age."  Listen in...

 

 

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