Show cover of Good Seats Still Available

Good Seats Still Available

“Good Seats Still Available” is a curious little podcast devoted to the exploration of what used-to-be in professional sports. Each week, host Tim Hanlon interviews former players, owners, broadcasters, beat reporters, and surprisingly famous "super fans" of teams and leagues that have come and gone - in an attempt to unearth some of the most wild and woolly moments in (often forgotten) sports history.

Tracks

350: The "Father of Modern Baseball" - With Tom Delise & Jay Seaborg
First-time sports historians Tom Delise and Jay Seaborg ("Foxy Ned Hanlon: The Baseball Life of a Hall of Fame Manager") join the podcast for a biographical look at one of baseball's most innovative managerial minds - and who just may be related to your humble host! "Foxy" Ned Hanlon was one of the major leagues' earliest tactical visionaries, who recognized the value of speed and strategy in generating runs long before the term “small ball” became popular.  Starting as a fine outfielder, Hanlon played 13 professional seasons with the Cleveland Blues, Detroit Wolverines, the Federal League's one-year Pittsburgh Burghers, Pittsburgh Pirates (neé Alleghenys), and (original American Association-then-National League) Baltimore Orioles - stealing 329 bases after stolen bases were first recorded in 1886.  Despite a modest .260 batting average, Hanlon was renowned for his speed and daring on the bases, as well as his defensive prowess, leading the National League in putouts in 1882 and 1884. Hanlon’s managerial career began after participating in A.G. Spalding’s “Around The World Baseball Tour” in the winter of 1888.  He became the player-manager of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1889 and supported the short-lived Players’ League in 1890, where he posted a .383 on-base percentage.  Returning to the Alleghenys, Hanlon inadvertently contributed to the team’s name change to Pirates due to his aggressive player acquisition tactics. In 1892, Hanlon took over the Baltimore Orioles and revolutionized the game with his “Inside Baseball” philosophy.  He emphasized teamwork, speed, and innovative plays like the hit-and-run, sacrifice bunt, and double steal. Hanlon also introduced the "Baltimore Chop" and was among the first to use a platoon system based on pitcher handedness.  Under his leadership, the Orioles transformed from cellar dwellers to dominant forces, capturing five NL pennants from 1894 to 1900. Hanlon’s strategic genius earned him accolades from peers and successors. Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack regarded Hanlon as the greatest leader in baseball history, and in 1937, The Sporting News dubbed him “The Father of Modern Baseball.”  Ned Hanlon passed away on April 14, 1937, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996, cementing his legacy as a pioneer of the sport. + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: "Good Seats" Show & Defunct Team Merch:  http://tee.pub/lic/RdiDZzQeHSY Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable     SPONSOR THANKS: Old School Shirts.com (promo code: GOODSEATS) https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS): https://www.503-sports.com?aff=2   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: Foxy Ned Hanlon: The Baseball Life of a Hall of Fame Manager (2024): https://amzn.to/3Vyge6v   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
83:11 6/10/24
349: The Peking-to-Paris Motor Challenge - With Kassia St. Clair
Cultural historian and best-selling British author Kassia St. Clair ("The Secret Lives of Color"; "The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History")  joins the podcast for a look back at the fascinating, improbable and culturally paradigm-shifting 1907 Peking-to-Paris Motor Challenge - as featured in her new book "The Race to the Future: 8,000 Miles to Paris - The Adventure That Accelerated the Twentieth Century":   From the "Race to the Future" dust jacket:   "The rise of the automobile as told through its Rubicon moment―a sensational, high-risk race across two continents on the verge of revolution. "The racers―an Italian prince and his chauffeur, a French racing driver, a con man, and several rival journalists―battle over steep inclines, through narrow mountain passages, and across the arid Gobi Desert. Competitors endure torrential rain and choking dust. There are barely any roads, and petrol is almost impossible to find. A global audience of millions follows each twist and turn, devouring reports telegraphed from the course. "More than its many adventures, the Peking-to-Paris Motor Challenge took place on the precipice of a new world. As the twentieth century dawned, imperial regimes in China and Russia were crumbling, paving the way for the rise of communist ones. The electric telegraph was rapidly transforming modern communication, and with it, the news media, commerce, and politics. Suspended between the old and the new, the Peking-to-Paris, as best-selling historian Kassia St. Clair writes, became a critical tipping point. "A gripping, immersive narrative of the race, The Race to the Future sets the drivers’ derring-do (and occasional cheating) against the backdrop of a larger geopolitical and technological race to the future. Interweaving events from the fall of the Qing dynasty to the departure of the horse economy and the rise of gendered marketing, St. Clair shows how the Peking-to-Paris provided an impetus for profound social, cultural, and industrial change, while masterfully capturing the mounting tensions between nations and empires―all building up to the cataclysmic event that changed everything: the First World War."   + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Show Merch:  http://tee.pub/lic/RdiDZzQeHSY Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable   SPONSOR THANKS: Old School Shirts.com (promo code: GOODSEATS) https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS): https://www.503-sports.com?aff=2   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: The Race to the Future: 8,000 Miles to Paris - The Adventure That Accelerated the Twentieth Century (2024): https://amzn.to/3VoxYB7   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
75:34 6/3/24
348.5: Sports Promoter Doug Verb [ARCHIVE RE-RELEASE]
[An essential fan favorite from 2018 - with the dean of "forgotten sports" promotion!]  If someone ever decides to build an American sports promotion Hall of Fame, the inaugural class will undoubtedly be led by this week’s special guest, Doug Verb.  In a career spanning more than 40 years in professional sports management, Verb’s remarkable career has included spearheading marketing, promotion, publicity, and television for some of the most innovative and memorable leagues and franchises of the modern era.  One of the founding executives of both the pioneering Major Indoor Soccer League (along with sports entrepreneurs Earl Foreman, Ed Tepper, and previous podcast guest Dr. Joe Machnik), and the frenetic Arena Football League (with the sport’s inventor [and past two-part guest] Jim Foster), Verb additionally  served as president of pro soccer’s legendary Chicago Sting from 1982-86 – which, incredibly, drifted between playing in two separate leagues during his tenure (for one year, simultaneously) – the outdoor North American Soccer League and the indoor MISL.  In our longest and more anecdote-filled episode to date, Verb vividly recounts the highs and lows of launching new teams, leagues and even sports themselves from whole cloth – with nary an operational blueprint or career roadmap to be found.  Buckle up for a wild ride through the woeful 1976 NASL Philadelphia Atoms, the “Rocket Red” pinball-like MISL, soccer for all seasons in the Windy City, and birthing indoor football.  PLUS:  Kiddie City to the rescue; Earl Foreman’s “Brother-in-Law Effect;” getting paid in soybeans; and the curious one-game history of the Liberty Basketball Association!  + + +  SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable "Good Seats" Merch: http://tee.pub/lic/RdiDZzQeHSY   SPONSOR THANKS: Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS): https://www.503-sports.com?aff=2 Old School Shirts.com (promo code: GOODSEATS) https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
186:37 5/27/24
348: The Tragic Season of 1946's Spokane Indians - With Eric Vickrey
Baseball historian and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) contributor Eric Vickrey ("Season of Shattered Dreams: Postwar Baseball, the Spokane Indians, and a Tragic Bus Crash That Changed Everything") joins the podcast for a look back at one of the worst tragedies in the history of US pro sports.   From the dust jacket of Vickrey's new book: "On June 24, 1946, a bus carrying the Spokane Indians baseball team crashed to the bottom of a deep ravine in Washington state’s Cascade mountains, killing nine players. To this day, it remains the deadliest accident in the history of American professional sports. "In Season of Shattered Dreams: Postwar Baseball, the Spokane Indians, and a Tragic Bus Crash That Changed Everything, Eric Vickrey details the series of events that occurred before, during, and after the heartbreaking accident. Vickrey chronicles the often-overlooked impact that the end of World War II had on the major and minor leagues, now crowded with players returning from military service. The Spokane Indians were no exception, with several top prospects and former big leaguers arriving that season. The journeys of three Spokane players in particular - Vic Picetti, Ben Geraghty, and Jack Lohrke - reveal the impact of the war on players’ lives, the struggles of a minor-league career, and the devastating impact of that catastrophic crash. "The Spokane Indians were not your average minor-league team, and though their story has been largely forgotten with time, it is one that deserves to be told. Featuring original interviews, as well as letters and photos from the personal collections of players and their families, Season of Shattered Dreams offers incredible insight into one of the most singular seasons in professional baseball."   + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable "Good Seats" Merch: http://tee.pub/lic/RdiDZzQeHSY     SPONSOR THANKS:   Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS): https://www.503-sports.com?aff=2 Old School Shirts.com (promo code: GOODSEATS) https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats     BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: Season of Shattered Dreams: Postwar Baseball, the Spokane Indians, and a Tragic Bus Crash That Changed Everything  (2024): https://amzn.to/4bMLDar   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
75:13 5/20/24
347.5: The North American Soccer League - With Paul Gardner
We celebrate the 94th birthday of legendary Soccer America columnist Paul Gardner (The Simplest Game: The Intelligent Fan's Guide to the World of Soccer; Soccer Talk: Paul Gardner on Soccer) with this special archive re-release (and our 6th-ever episode!) from 2017. The universally acknowledged "dean" of American soccer writers waxes nostalgic on his unlikely journey from fledgling British pharmacist to the States' most persistently influential commentator on the "beautiful game."  Gardner: Recounts the chaotic formation of the modern professional game in the U.S. during the 1960s; Recalls how ambitious sports entrepreneurs like the International Soccer League’s Bill Cox, and greedy corporate owners like the United Soccer Association’s Madison Square Garden were quickly chagrined by the machinations of soccer’s international governing body; Describes how a complex Welsh-born, player-turned-NASL-commissioner curiously nudged him into national TV game commentating; Remembers when he first recognized pro soccer had finally “arrived” in America (ironically, while out of the country); and Suggests that a revised U.S. corporate tax code may have helped hasten the demise of an already-wobbly NASL as the 1980s beckoned. + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable "Good Seats" Merch: http://tee.pub/lic/RdiDZzQeHSY   SPONSOR THANKS: Old School Shirts.com (promo code: GOODSEATS) https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS): https://www.503-sports.com?aff=2   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: The Simplest Game: The Intelligent Fan's Guide to the World of Soccer (1996): https://amzn.to/3yhjJFc Soccer Talk: Paul Gardner on Soccer (1999): https://amzn.to/44AoHsV   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
93:43 5/13/24
347: Powering Forward - With Dean Tolson
During the late 1960s, Dean Tolson ("Power Forward: My Journey from Illiterate NBA Player to a Magna Cum Laude Master's Degree") emerged as a standout prep basketball talent during his junior and senior years at Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri. His prowess on the court attracted the attention of a bevy of college recruiters, leading him to accept a full scholarship offer from the nearby University of Arkansas. Despite literally not knowing how to read or write, Tolson defied significant odds, and became one of the most renowned players in Razorbacks history. In 1974, Tolson was drafted by both the NBA's Seattle Supersonics and the ABA's New York Nets - eventually joining the Sonics to play under the tutelage of the legendary Bill Russell in Seattle, and showcasing his talent on a national stage.  An 11-year journeyman career followed, with stops in the Eastern Basketball Association (Hazleton Bullets), the CBA (including a 1980 league championship with the Anchorage Northern Knights), and pro leagues in both Greece and the Philippines. After retiring from basketball, Tolson made the courageous decision to re-enroll at the University of Arkansas, determined to pursue his education authentically - repeating all four years of college and finally obtaining his degree through legitimate means. Remarkably, he returned to the university once again at age 52, earning a master's degree with magna cum laude honors. Tolson's journey, from his challenging upbringing in an orphanage to his remarkable academic achievements, serves as a powerful indictment of a system that often prioritizes athletic talent over educational accountability. His story sheds light on the pervasive issue of athletes being "passed along" without facing the academic rigor expected of their peers. Yet, amidst these challenges, Tolson's story is a beacon of inspiration - showcasing resilience and determination to overcome formidable odds to (eventually) achieve success.  + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable "Good Seats" Merch: http://tee.pub/lic/RdiDZzQeHSY   SPONSOR THANKS: Old School Shirts.com (promo code: GOODSEATS) https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS): https://www.503-sports.com?aff=2   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: Power Forward: My Journey from Illiterate NBA Player to a Magna Cum Laude Master's Degree (2023): https://amzn.to/4btrTJ7   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
80:34 5/6/24
346: Roller Derby's Los Angeles Thunderbirds - With Scott Stephens
It's our first journey into the chaotically exciting history of "professional" roller derby with former skater and long-time keeper-of-the-flame Scott Stephens ("Rolling Thunder: The Golden Age of Roller Derby & the Rise and Fall of the L.A. T-Birds"). From the moment he laced up his first pair of roller skates at age six in mid-1960s Los Angeles, roller derby became more than just a sport to Stephens – it became his passion. In the midst of the craze sweeping through the city, Stephens found himself captivated by the electrifying energy of the Los Angeles Thunderbirds, whose thrilling matches were locally (and nationally) televised, and whose star performers rivaled the fame of players on established sports teams like the Dodgers, Rams and Lakers. As he honed his skills at the T-Bird Rollerdrome in Pico Rivera,  Stephens' love for skating soon transformed into an unexpected opportunity as he discovered the team's urgent need for new talent. From 1978-81, Stephens dove headfirst into the exhilarating world of Roller Games, immersing himself in every aspect of the sport – from the adrenaline-fueled races around the track to the underground culture teeming with colorful characters and unconventional lifestyles. Stephens takes us on a nostalgic exploration of some of roller derby's storied past, as well as the outsized role of its most iconic team. + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable "Good Seats" Merch: http://tee.pub/lic/RdiDZzQeHSY SPONSOR THANKS: Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS): https://www.503-sports.com?aff=2 Old School Shirts.com (promo code: GOODSEATS) https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN:  Rolling Thunder: The Golden Age of Roller Derby & the Rise and Fall of the L.A. T-Birds (2019): https://amzn.to/3y0y0Go FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
103:56 4/29/24
345: From Vancouver to Memphis - With Łukasz Muniowski
It's a special mea culpa episode this week, as we welcome back Szczecin University (Poland) history professor and Episode 289 guest Łukasz Muniowski (Turnpike Team: A History of the New Jersey Nets 1977-2012) for a deep dive into the drama of the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies move to Memphis in 2001 - and an assessment of the winners and losers some 23+ years since.   While Muniowski's current title on the topic (The Grizzlies Migrate to Memphis: From Vancouver Failure to Southern Success) has been out since October, your humble host not only lost track of the book's publishing date, but also the entire audio file of our conversation (originally recorded back in August 2023) - until a recent cloud backup surfaced a redundant version.   It's worth the wait, as we tackle the origin story of the Grizzlies' move from Vancouver's GM Place (now Rogers Arena) to Memphis' Pyramid (and eventually FedEx Forum), the numerous other destination cities rumored in the process, the outsized personalities involved, the motivations behind such a hasty move only six seasons after becoming an expansion franchise, and the aftermath - including whether the Memphis version of the club can be labeled a "success," despite winning only two division titles since bringing pro hoops to Beale Street.    + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable "Good Seats" Merch: http://tee.pub/lic/RdiDZzQeHSY   SPONSOR THANKS: Newspapers.com (promo code: GSA20):  https://newspapers.com Old School Shirts.com (promo code: GOODSEATS) https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS): https://www.503-sports.com?aff=2   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: The Grizzlies Migrate to Memphis: From Vancouver Failure to Southern Success (2023): https://amzn.to/3xNvWBr   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
85:16 4/22/24
344.5: The NFL’s 1943 “Steagles” - With Matt Algeo [ARCHIVE RE-RELEASE]
[A dip into the archives for a one of our first-ever episodes from 2017 - by request!] Author Matt Algeo (Last Team Standing: How the Steelers and the Eagles – "The Steagles" – Saved Pro Football During World War II) joins Tim Hanlon all the way from Maputo, Mozambique to discuss the marriage of convenience that literally saved the National Football League from collapse in 1943. Algeo describes how a desperate Art Rooney scrambled to save his Pittsburgh Steelers franchise, depleted by wartime military call-ups; how a hastily assembled squad of ragtag draft rejects practiced football at night while maintaining defense jobs by day (including one player who worked on the eventual war-ending Manhattan Project); why the "Phil-Pitt Combine" wore Eagles colors and played more home games in Philadelphia than in Pittsburgh; and, in a PODCAST EXCLUSIVE, why the story of the Steagles just might soon be coming to a theater near you.
56:01 4/14/24
344: The Evolution of Sports Media - With David Bockino
Former ESPN ad researcher, and current Elon University professor of communications and sport management David Bockino (Game On: How Sports Media Grew Up, Sold Out, and Got Personal with Billions of Fans) helps us trace the evolution of the sports media industry - with historical points of interest both obvious (e.g., the 1958 NFL Championship Game; "Sports Illustrated" magazine; ABC's "Monday Night Football;" the 1979 launch of cable's ESPN); and subtle (1967's live multinational "Our World" TV broadcast; World Series Cricket; 1981's short-lived Enterprise Radio Network; AudioNet/Broadcast.com; and virtual graphics pioneer SportVision). + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable "Good Seats" Merch: http://tee.pub/lic/RdiDZzQeHSY   SPONSOR THANKS: Newspapers.com (promo code: GSA20):  https://newspapers.com Old School Shirts.com (promo code: GOODSEATS) https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS): https://www.503-sports.com?aff=2   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN:  Game On: How Sports Media Grew Up, Sold Out, and Got Personal with Billions of Fans (2024): https://amzn.to/49AopDi   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
86:12 4/8/24
343: Baseball History Landmarks - With Chris Epting
We reach back into the vaunted Good Seats library stacks this week for a deep dive into one of Tim's favorite sports reference books - Roadside Baseball: The Locations of America's Baseball Landmarks - with its (prodigious non-fiction) author Chris Epting.   Now in its third edition, Roadside is everything you'd imagine from the title: a detailed, geographic cataloging of over 500 important events in North American baseball history, including historical data, trivia, photographs, and lore - highlighting birthplaces of baseball legends, ballparks, museums and halls of fame, final resting places, and dozens of former locations no longer standing.   Join us for an aural road trip across some of baseball's most recognizable landmarks and forgotten out-of-the-way points of interest!   + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable "Good Seats" Merch: http://tee.pub/lic/RdiDZzQeHSY   SPONSOR THANKS: Newspapers.com (promo code: GSA20):  https://newspapers.com   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN:  Roadside Baseball: The Locations of America's Baseball Landmarks - Third Edition (2010): https://amzn.to/3PItVwv   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
78:47 4/1/24
342.5 [PROMO DROP] "Ways To Win"
Sharing something special, an episode of the new podcast "Ways to Win" - where coaches Craig Robinson and John Calipari use their on-court wisdom to solve off-court problems. In this first episode (recorded before the start of the NCAA basketball tournament!), there's no better way to kick off March Madness than with President Barack Obama (and Craig’s favorite brother-in-law), who drops by to break down his bracket. Find out who’s in his Final Four and how far he thinks Coach Cal’s Wildcats will go (even if Cal doesn't want to know). Plus, the guys chat about how Cal's preparing his players for the first round of the tournament and what it takes to lead teams under pressure. You can listen to more episodes of Ways to Win here!
51:48 3/26/24
342: "Boston Ball" - With Clayton Trutor
We bust some brackets this week in honor of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, with a look back at the old East Coast Athletic Conference and the coaching cradle of city of Boston - with return (Episode 237) guest Clayton Trutor ("Boston Ball: Rick Pitino, Jim Calhoun, Gary Williams, and the Forgotten Cradle of Basketball Coaches").   Before the formation of the original Big East Conference in 1979, much of DI college basketball in the US Northeast and Mid-Atlantic was part of a loose patchwork of small conferences and independents that collectively fed into the not-really-a-conference ECAC umbrella for post-season playoffs, helping winnow at-large bids for a still-small NCAA tournament.    Trutor helps set the stage through the early-career Boston exploits of three eventual Hall of Fame coaches:   "Before Pitino became the face of the Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville programs, before Calhoun turned UConn into a national power, and before Williams brought Maryland to its first national championship, all three of these coaches cut their teeth in front of modest-sized crowds in the crumbling college gymnasiums of Boston during the 1970s and early 1980s. "'Boston Ball' charts how this trio of coaches, seemingly out of nowhere, started a basketball revolution: Pitino at Boston University, Calhoun at Northeastern University, and Williams at Boston College. Toiling in relative obscurity, they ignited a renaissance of the “city game,” a style of play built on fast-breaking up-tempo offense, pressure defense, and board crashing.  Pitino, Calhoun, and Williams took advantage of the ample coaching opportunities in 'America’s College Town' to craft their respective blueprints for building a winning program and turn their schools into regional powers, and these early coaching years served as their respective springboards to big-time college basketball."   + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable "Good Seats" Merch: https://www.teepublic.com/stores/good-seats-still-avalable?ref_id=35106 SPONSOR THANKS: Newspapers.com (promo code: GSA20):  https://newspapers.com BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN:  Boston Ball: Rick Pitino, Jim Calhoun, Gary Williams, and the Forgotten Cradle of Basketball Coaches (2023): https://amzn.to/3vtBrUX FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
92:01 3/25/24
341: "Pro" Wrestling's Origin Story - With Jon Langmead
We squint hard this week for a look into the story of American "professional" wrestling's formative years - with pop culture writer Jon Langmead (Ballyhoo! The Roughhousers, Con Artists, and Wildmen Who Invented Professional Wrestling).   Langmead takes us inside the raucous period roughly between the mid-1870s to the early-1940s - where genuine competitive wrestlers and opportunistic amusement-minded promoters (both heavily influenced by the country's booming carnival circuit) together codified the now modern-day conventions that transformed a legitimate, physically demanding sport into melodramatic mass entertainment.    Central to Langmead's narrative is the life and career of Jack Curley - a fledgling turn-of-the-century boxing promoter whose fortunes turned when he began touting wrestling matches in big US cities like Chicago and New York - where by the late-1910s, his monthly shows regularly sold out Madison Square Garden.   Join us for a look back at the foundational years of "professional" wrestling, - before Vince McMahon and the WWE, and even prior to the "golden era" of the National Wrestling Alliance on early television - where colorful athletes like “Strangler” Ed Lewis, Frank Gotch, the “Masked Marvel,” Jim Londos, “Gorgeous George” Wagner, “Farmer” Martin Burns, and “Dynamite” Gus Sonnenberg ruled the day - and defined the "sport."     + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable   SPONSOR THANKS: Newspapers.com (promo code: GSA20):  https://newspapers.com   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN:  Ballyhoo! The Roughhousers, Con Artists, and Wildmen Who Invented Professional Wrestling(2024): https://amzn.to/49ZofGy   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
77:47 3/18/24
340: Baseball's "New York Game" - With Kevin Baker
Harper's Contributing Editor and novelist/historian extraordinaire Kevin Baker ("The New York Game: Baseball and the Rise of a New City") brings his blended affection for (and evocative portrayals of) both "The Big Apple" and the "National Pastime" - to make a compelling case for New York City as the rightful center of the baseball universe. From Alan Moores' review in Booklist:   "Baseball fans beyond Gotham’s gravitational pull might bristle at the notion that New York was the epicenter of the creation and growth of the game. But Baker’s raucous, revelatory, lovingly detailed account will win them over from the first pitch. Baker lays out the early history of the game in the city, then seamlessly weaves together the vibrant origin stories of the New York Yankees, New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers, and the city’s Cuban and African American teams, right up to the eve of Jackie Robinson’s 1945 signing with the Dodgers.   "He vividly recreates the recklessly ambitious, breathtakingly corrupt, alcohol-fueled world of Tammany Hall politics—which were followed by the reforms of Fiorello La Guardia—that steered, and were sometimes even steered by, the game. Dozens of near-mythic and also too-human figures parade through the pages, from John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, Fred Merkle, Carl Hubbell, Mel Ott, Leo Durocher, Casey Stengel, Red Barber, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Branch Rickey, to an array of crime bosses, team owners, and mayors.    "Then there was Babe Ruth, whose gaudy statistics, irrepressible personality, and seismic impact on the game, the city, and the entire nation outshone even his legend, as Baker convincingly argues here. A spellbinding history of a game and the city where it found itself."   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable   SPONSOR THANKS: Newspapers.com (promo code: GSA20):  https://newspapers.com   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: The New York Game: Baseball and the Rise of a New City (2024): https://amzn.to/3TvWgsf   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
66:43 3/11/24
339: Early-Day WNBA - With Marie Ferdinand-Harris
It's a celebration of women's hoops this week, as we look back at the "early days" of the Women's National Basketball Association - including stops with the oft-forgotten Utah Starzz and San Antonio Silver Stars - with three-time league all-star Marie Ferdinand-Harris (Transformed: The Winning Side of Losing).   A first-round pick in the WNBA's fifth-ever draft in 2001, Ferdinand was a dominant shooting guard at LSU prior to her 8th-overall selection by Utah - a formidable presence inside the paint and outside the arc, skills honed from leading title-winning teams at Edison High School, in the heart of Miami's historically poor "Little Haiti" neighborhood.   After a stellar 11-year pro career (including turns with the league-original LA Sparks and Phoenix Mercury), Ferdinand-Harris is one of the unsung pioneers of the WNBA, part of a first generation of players that helped solidify the foundation for an organization whose success was not guaranteed at the time - but now is firmly rooted in the American pro sports infrastructure.     + + +   SUPPORT THE SHOW: Buy Us a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/goodseatsstillavailable Donate via Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/goodseatsstillavailable   SPONSOR THANKS: Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS):  https://www.royalretros.com/?aff=2   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: Transformed: The Winning Side of Losing (2024): https://amzn.to/4bWEQvZ   GIVE UNTIL IT HURTS: Be Like CJ Foundation: https://www.belikecj.org/   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Threads: https://www.threads.net/@goodseatsstillavailable Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
77:07 3/4/24
338: 50 Years of San Jose Earthquakes Soccer - With Gary Singh
It's a "retcon" special this week, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the most colorful and persistent franchises in American pro soccer history - with a return visit from Episode 40 guest Gary Singh (The Unforgettable San Jose Earthquakes: Momentous Stories On & Off the Field). As one of four West Coast expansion teams (along with the Los Angeles Aztecs, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps) added for the North American Soccer League’s breakthrough 1974 season, the original San Jose Earthquakes were an immediate hit both on the field (finishing second in an all-new Western Division, led by league-leading scorer [and Episode 35 guest] Paul Child) - and in the stands, where they averaged 15,000+ fans a game to a less-than-modern Spartan Stadium, more than double the league average at the time.  Though never regular championship contenders, the ‘Quakes cultivated a rabidly loyal fan base that became the envy of clubs across the league – until the NASL’s ultimate demise ten years later.  Fragments of the club soldiered on semi-professionally in the following years, but the appellation (along with some of the previous cast) returned in earnest in 1999, when the management of San Jose’s struggling (and unpopularly named) Major League Soccer “Clash” sought to rekindle some of the original NASL team's magic; by 2001, the second iteration of the Earthquakes were contending for and winning MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield titles.    However, stymied by an inability to construct a soccer-specific stadium in the area, owner-operator Anschutz Entertainment Group pulled up stakes and relocated the club to Houston (Dynamo) for 2006 – taking further championships with them.  Nonplussed San Jose fans revolted – and a new “expansion” franchise was quickly announced by MLS officials, with plenty of structural caveats that ensure today’s now-third incarnation of the ‘Quakes rightfully retains all of its accumulated heritage and rich legacy. + + +     SPONSOR THANKS: Old School Shirts (promo code: GOODSEATS):  https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats     BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: The Unforgettable San Jose Earthquakes: Momentous Stories On & Off the Field (2024): https://amzn.to/48oMwEc The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy (2015): https://amzn.to/42ZNkOL   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
91:59 2/26/24
337: The 1990-91 Minnesota North Stars - With Kevin Allenspach
Veteran Minnesota sportswriter Kevin Allenspach (Mirage of Destiny: The Story of the 1990-91 Minnesota North Stars) takes to the ice with us this week, as we look back at one of the most improbable playoff runs in NHL history - one that came the closest to giving the self-professed "State of Hockey" its first Stanley Cup championship - a title that still eludes the region to this day. Throughout much of the 1990-91 season, the Minnesota North Stars were among the worst-performing clubs in the National Hockey League - and dead last at the box office. Rumors of the team's possible sale to new owners of the team were swirling, and the threat of relocation was real. Distractions notwithstanding, the North Stars gritted their way into the playoffs, winning only 27 of 80 regular-season games. And against all odds, they upset both the Presidents' Trophy-winning Chicago Blackhawks and the regular season's second-best St. Louis Blues in the first two rounds - followed by a dispatching of the defending Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers in the Campbell Conference Finals. Despite ultimately losing the Stanley Cup Finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the underdog North Stars managed to capture the imagination of Twin Cities hockey fans (not to mention a certain club public relations intern) during their unexpected postseason run - enough to spark renewed hope for the franchise's future. Allenspach, of course, tells us otherwise - culminating in the team's relocation to Dallas in 1993. + + +   SPONSOR THANKS: Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS):  https://www.royalretros.com/?aff=2   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: Mirage of Destiny: The Story of the 1990-91 Minnesota North Stars (2024): https://amzn.to/48pbyTw   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
111:43 2/19/24
336: Lost Tales of the MISL - With Tim O'Bryhim
We celebrate the launch of the new "MISL 1980s: The Story of Indoor Soccer" Substack series with its author and return (Episode 31) guest Tim O'Bryhim ("Make This Town Big: The Story of Roy Turner and the Wichita Wings" & "God Save the Wings"). O'Bryhim's long-form pieces promise to bring to light myriad stories from the legendary original Major Indoor Soccer League - a pioneering pro soccer circuit that remains surprisingly under-chronicled, despite its outsized influence on the game's history in the US, including its role in helping mainstream the art of entertainment-flavored presentation now commonplace in big-time sports. + + + SPONSOR THANKS: Old School Shirts (promo code: GOODSEATS):  https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats     SUBSCRIBE/BUY/READ/WATCH EARLY & OFTEN: MISL 1980s: The Story of Indoor Soccer (Substack; free subscription: https://misl1980s.substack.com/   Make This Town Big: The Story of Roy Turner and the Wichita Wings (2014): https://amzn.to/4bKaUDg   God Save the Wings (2020): https://amzn.to/48bNTGb   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
72:34 2/12/24
335: On the Diamonds of Des Moines - With Steve Dunn
Iowa baseball chronologist Steve Dunn ("'Pug,' 'Fireball,' and Company: 116 Years of Professional Baseball in Des Moines, Iowa") joins for a surprisingly rich journey into the history of professional baseball in the Hawkeye State's largest city - currently home to the Diamond Baseball Holdings-owned Triple-A affiliate of the National League's Chicago Cubs. Besides today's Iowa Cubs, the city of Des Moines has been home to minor league baseball in various forms since 1887 - featuring a long list of stars that have played or managed clubs there, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Feller, Satchel Paige, Red Faber, Buck O'Neil, Ryne Sandberg, Tony LaRussa, Charlie Grimm, and Stan Hack. Dunn walks us through some of Des Moines baseball's most noteworthy ballparks (such as Western League Park, home of the first night game featuring a permanent lighting system on 5/2/1930); circuits (like the long-forgotten Three–I [Class B] League featuring the reborn 1959-61 Des Moines Demons); barnstormers (the Negro League "All Nations" club); and eyebrow-raising team names - from Midgets to Prohibitionists to Undertakers.   + + +   SPONSOR THANKS: Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS):  https://www.royalretros.com/?aff=2     BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: 'Pug,' 'Fireball,' and Company: 116 Years of Professional Baseball in Des Moines, Iowa (2023): https://amzn.to/4bqMApS   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
80:21 2/5/24
334.5: The National Bowling League – With Dr. Jake Schmidt [ARCHIVE RE-RELEASE]
[A dip into the archives for a fan favorite from 2019 - featuring a show-closing ode to the late, great 70s' TV game show "Celebrity Bowling"!] + + + We hit the lanes this week to delve into the fascinating story of the nation’s first and only attempt at a professional team bowling league – a seemingly anachronistic idea by today’s standards, but a concept that made total sense in the early 1960s when pro bowling was in ascendance and the sport was seemingly everywhere on television. Bowlers Journal columnist and historian J.R. “Dr. Jake” Schmidt (The Bowling Chronicles: Collected Writings of Dr. Jake) joins the podcast to lay out the curious backstory, short-lived season(s) and unwitting legacy of the National Bowling League (1960-62) – an ambitious, but altogether logical attempt to professionalize bowling in the style of America’s other major team sports, and capitalize on the big money purses beginning to fuel national TV competitions during the late 1950s. Amidst a bevy of popular made-for-TV competitions that featured various takes on head-to-head play – like NBC’s weekly Championship Bowling, and primetime’s Make That Spare (ABC) and Jackpot Bowling (NBC) – the coast-to-coast NBL hoped to offer bowling professionals a city-based team format, replete with purposely-designed television-friendly arenas and boisterous fans. Despite investment from deep-pocketed funders like AFL founder Lamar Hunt and oilman/Cotton Bowl creator J. Curtis Sanford (whose Dallas-based 72-lane Bronco Bowl set the standard for NBL facilities); a well-publicized draft (with then-Vice President Lyndon Johnson in attendance); and a novel scoring system that featured situational bonus points and wild-card substitutions, the NBL stumbled out of the gate devoid of the very thing it needed most to succeed – a national television contract. Outfoxed by the nascent Pro Bowlers Association – which was simultaneously pioneering a laddered individual vs. individual national tour format with a similarly fledgling ABC-TV – the NBL had to rely solely on individual gates while trying to convince other networks to take notice.  Early crowds were sparse to virtually non-existent, and most pros found the money, light workload and broad television exposure of the PBA’s “Pro Bowlers’ Tour” to be the better path to ply their wares. It’s a tale of what might have been – and we “spare” no question in our pursuit of the story of this most intriguing of forgotten pro leagues! + + +   SPONSOR THANKS: Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS):  https://www.royalretros.com/?aff=2   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: The Bowling Chronicles: Collected Writings of Dr. Jake (2017): https://amzn.to/3Ogt6Kj   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable  
95:21 1/29/24
334: Atlanta's "White Ice" - With Tom Aiello
Valdosta State University history professor (and Episode 244 guest) Tom Aiello ("Dixieball: Race and Professional Basketball in the Deep South") returns after a two-year absence - for an enlightening look at the curious cultural history of the city of Atlanta's awkward relationship with professional hockey. In his new book "White Ice: Race and the Making of Atlanta Hockey," Aiello interestingly juxtaposes the National Hockey League's aggressive expansion in the late 1960s/early 1970s (including a new WHA-hastened Flames franchise in 1972), against the city's de facto status as the "capital of the Deep South" - and its population's rapidly changing racial and socio-economic contours. To wit: For its own part, Atlanta had been watching as White residents left the city for the suburbs over the course of the 1960s. As the turn of the decade approached, city leadership was searching for ways to mitigate white flight and bring residents of the surrounding suburbs back to the city center. So when a stereotypically White sport came to the Deep South in 1971 in the form of the Flames, ownership saw a new opportunity to appeal to White audiences.  But the challenge would be selling a game that was foreign to most of Atlanta’s longtime sports fans.   Against that backdrop, of course, the Flames (1972-80) lasted but only eight seasons - and its NHL successor Atlanta Thrashers (1999-2011) did not fare much better in the face of similar and arguably even more pronounced circumstances.   And yet, the "dream" of another franchise lives on. Might Atlanta get a third chance to finally make pro hockey stick?  What's changed (and hasn't) in the region's demographic landscape and economic calculus?     Listen in and find out!   + + +   SPONSOR THANKS: Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS):  https://www.royalretros.com/?aff=2   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: White Ice: Race and the Making of Atlanta Hockey (2024): https://amzn.to/3vFQw5z   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
85:29 1/22/24
333: "Soccer Tom" Mulroy
We buckle up this week for a wild and revelatory ride across 50+ years of big-time soccer in the United States with one of the biggest unsung heroes of the American game - and unquestionably, one of its most prominent "keepers of the flame." The professional and personal life journey of "Soccer Tom" Mulroy ("90 Minutes with the King: How Soccer Saved My Life") virtually parallels the 1970s-to-1990s boom-bust-and-boom-again roller coaster of soccer's early modern history in the US - and today thrives in tandem with the sport's long-overdue cultural acceptance. In a pro career spanning five leagues and nearly a dozen franchises (including Good Seats bucket-list stops with the MISL Hartford Hellions, ASL Cleveland Cobras, NASL Miami Toros & 1986-87 AISA champion Louisville Thunder) Mulroy's on-field exploits mirrored the chaotic nature of a game still struggling to find its footing among North America's competitive sports landscape. After his playing days, Mulroy evolved into the sport's indefatigable go-to goodwill ambassador, bringing Pied Piper-like enthusiasm to the domestic masses yearning for soccer literacy in the wake of breakthrough milestones like World Cup '94, the launch of MLS, and the international success of both the US Women's & Men's National teams. To understand the life of Tommy Mulroy is to understand the growth of US soccer itself!   + + +    SPONSOR THANKS: Old School Shirts (promo code: GOODSEATS):  https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats     BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: 90 Minutes with the King: How Soccer Saved My Life (2023): https://amzn.to/3U2lfnG   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
117:12 1/15/24
332: Super Series '76 - With Ed Gruver
We turn back the clock 48 years ago this week for a revisit of one of the most consequential contests in the history of the National Hockey League - with sports historian Ed Gruver ("The Game That Saved the NHL: The Broad Street Bullies. the Soviet Red Machine, and Super Series '76"). The dust jacket of Gruver's new book sums it up thusly: "In late 1975 and early 1976, at the height of the Cold War, two of the Soviet Union’s long-dominant national hockey teams traveled to North America to play an eight-game series against the best teams in the National Hockey League. The culmination of the “Super Series” was reigning Soviet League champion HC CSKA Moscow’s face-off against the defending NHL champion Flyers in Philadelphia on January 11, 1976. Known as the “Red Army Club,” HC CSKA hadn’t lost a game in the series. Known as the “Broad Street Bullies,” the Flyers were determined to bring the Red Army team’s winning streak to an end with their trademark aggressive style of play. "Based largely on interviews, Ed Gruver’s book tells the story of this epic game and series as it lays out the stakes involved: nothing less than the credibility of the NHL. If the Red Army team had completed its series sweep by defeating the two-time Stanley Cup champion Flyers, the NHL would no longer have been able to claim primacy of place in professional-level hockey. The Stanley Cup, the most famous trophy in sports, would be devalued if the Flyers fell to the Soviets. Gruver also describes how the game and series affected the styles of both Russian and NHL teams. The Soviets adopted a more physical brand of hockey, while the NHL increasingly focused on passing and speed." + + +    SPONSOR THANKS: Old School Shirts (promo code: GOODSEATS):  https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: The Game That Saved the NHL: The Broad Street Bullies. the Soviet Red Machine, and Super Series '76(2024): https://amzn.to/48Mg6UT    FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
73:33 1/8/24
331: The NASL's San Antonio Thunder (+ More!) - With Derek Currie
It's the adventure-filled story of how a late-60s-era Scottish top-league footballer helped start the first-ever professional soccer circuit in the then-British colony of Hong Kong - punctuated by an unexpected off-season loan to one of the most forgotten franchises in North American Soccer League history. Derek Currie ("When 'Jesus' Came to Hong Kong: The Remarkable Story of the First European Football Star in Asia") joins us live and direct from his home in Bangkok,Thailand for an anecdote-rich romp through the international pro soccer scene of the 1970s/early 1980s - including his memorable Texas summer of 1976 wearing the "Stars and Stripes" for the NASL's oft-overlooked San Antonio Thunder!   + + +    SPONSOR THANKS: Old School Shirts (promo code: GOODSEATS):  https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: When 'Jesus' Came to Hong Kong: The Remarkable Story of the First European Football Star in Asia (2023): https://amzn.to/3H0snJm   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
82:21 1/1/24
330: The 4th Annual(-ish) Year-End Holiday Roundtable Spectacular!
We press the rewind button on a most interesting 2023, and peer ahead into the uncharted waters of 2024 with our fourth-annual(-ish) Holiday Roundtable Spectacular - featuring three of our favorite fellow defunct sports enthusiasts: Andy Crossley (Fun While It Lasted & Episode 2); Paul Reeths (StatsCrew.com, OurSportsCentral.com & Episode 46); and Steve Holroyd (Crossecheck, Philly Classics & Episodes 92, 109, 149, 188 & 248). Takes of varying temperatures fly as we review some of the most inspiring and curious events of the past year, debate who and what might be next to wobble into obscurity, and conjecture about future scenarios for the next generation of defunct and otherwise forgotten pro sports teams and leagues - including: USFL 2.0 + XFL 3.0 = TBD 2024 Oakland A's to Las Vegas (maybe) Major League Cricket MiLB ownership consolidation The Savannah Bananas Premier Lacrosse League: from tour to teams Professional Box Lacrosse Association (RIP) Women's pro volleyball MLS vs. US Soccer NBA, NHL & MLB expansion/relocation rumors NWSL expansion & TV deal Women's hockey 3.0: PWHL PLUS, we speculate on the dubious third reincarnation of the Arena Football League! + + +  SPONSOR THANKS: Old School Shirts (promo code: GOODSEATS):  https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats     BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: The Big Time: How the 1970s Transformed Sports in America (2023): https://amzn.to/3LYAQ2H   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
104:10 12/25/23
329: The 1963 AFL San Diego Chargers - With Dave Steidel
After last week's ugly, team-record 63-21 drubbing by the Las Vegas Raiders, and the subsequent dismissal of its head coach and general manager - it's been a (yet another) rough season for the NFL's Los Angeles Chargers.  While family owner/scion Dean Spanos tries (again) to plot a plan forward, we look nostalgically back to the franchise's early years in San Diego as one of the charter entries in the iconoclastic American Football League - an era that produced the club's (still) one-and-only championship in 1963. AFL history chronicler Dave Steidel ("The Uncrowned Champs: How the 1963 San Diego Chargers Would Have Won the Super Bowl") helps us zero in on the story behind that AFL title-winning season - with an in-depth revisit of iconic coach Sid Gilman's blockbuster squad, featuring revered Charger greats like Tobin Rote, John Hadl, Paul Lowe, Keith Lincoln, Chuck Allen, and future Pro Football Hall of Famers Lance Allworth and Ron Mix.  Plus: we debate whether the '63 Chargers could have truly beaten the NFL champion Chicago Bears that season for a definitive (albeit mythical) pre-merger American pro football title. + + +    SPONSOR THANKS: 417 Helmets (promo code: GOODSEATS): https://417helmets.com/?wpam_id=3   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: "The Uncrowned Champs: How the 1963 San Diego Chargers Would Have Won the Super Bowl" (2015) "Remember the AFL: The Ultimate Fan's Guide to the American Football League" (2008) "AFL Trivia and Tales: The Ultimate American Football League Trivia Book" (2023)   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
91:52 12/18/23
328: Raycom Sports - With Founders Rick & Dee Ray
We adjust our TV antenna rabbit ears back to the late 1970s for the origin story of one of the most influential firms in modern-day sports media - with Rick and Dee Ray, the founders of televised college sports juggernaut Raycom Sports. In their new George Hirthler-penned memoir "Unstoppable: A Story of Love, Faith and the Power Couple Who Ignited the College Sports Broadcasting Boom," the Rays rewind the videotape to a time when a new technology called "cable" was still in its infancy, and the American television landscape was largely defined by a web of powerful broadcast network-affiliated stations - save for a handful of scrappy alternative "independent" signals in each market. While pro sports filled plenty of prime/weekend network TV windows, and individual teams provided a steady slate of in-season games to local indie station audiences - regularly scheduled D-I college sports was virtually non-existent outside of limited national broadcasts featuring only big-name schools.  It was against this backdrop that an entrepreneurially minded local station programmer and a never-say-no ad executive saw an opening for regularly scheduled regional broadcasts of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball that not only delighted rabid fans throughout the Southeast, but also laid the groundwork for a sports syndication force that would eventually rewrite the rules for college sports media - and beyond. + + +    SPONSOR THANKS: Old School Shirts (promo code: GOODSEATS):  https://oldschoolshirts.com/goodseats   BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN:  "Unstoppable: A Story of Love, Faith and the Power Couple Who Ignited the College Sports Broadcasting Boom" (2023)   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
110:10 12/11/23
327: Scottish Soccer Summer Dalliances - With Mark Poole
The 1960s were a tumultuous, but crucial period in the development of professional soccer in the United States and Canada - with teams from Scotland, of all places, playing a particularly interesting role. The dividing line for the modern North American pro game, of course, was the breakthrough, near-live (two-hour-delayed) NBC-TV network telecast of the 1966 World Cup final between eventual champion England and West Germany - the first-ever national standalone broadcast of the sport. Prior to that watershed, it was sports entrepreneur Bill Cox's International Soccer League that imported full major European & South American teams to play in a senior-level competition in largely East Coast urban centers and first-generation immigrant communities. Among the ISL's regulars were three Scottish sides - including Kilmarnock FC, which played four seasons and made the 1960 final. Immediately after the World Cup, no fewer than three groups of eager sports owners sought to launch a full-fledged domestic North American league; by 1967, two competing circuits bowed - including a hastily-assembled United Soccer Association, featuring full-team ISL-like imports - but under noms de plume of North American cities.  Front and center were Scottish stalwarts Aberdeen FC - masquerading as the District of Columbia's "Washington Whips." UK football writer Mark Poole ("99 Iconic Moments in Scottish Football: From the Famous to the Obscure, Scotland’s Glorious, Unusual and Cult Games, Players and Events") tells us the stories behind these two curious Scottish contributions to US pro soccer history. + + +  SPONSOR THANKS: DraftKings Sportsbook (promo code: GOODSEATS): https://myaccount.draftkings.com/login    BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN: "99 Iconic Moments in Scottish Football: From the Famous to the Obscure, Scotland’s Glorious, Unusual and Cult Games, Players and Events" (2023)   FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
79:31 12/4/23
326.5: Lamar Hunt & the American Football League - With Michael MacCambridge [ARCHIVE RE-RELEASE]
[By popular demand, an archive re-release of Episode 321 guest and "The Big Time: How the 1970s Transformed Sports in America" author Michael MacCambridge - from his first appearance on the show from March 2017!] Sports author/historian Michael MacCambridge ("Lamar Hunt: A Life in Sports") joins Tim Hanlon to discuss the legacy of Lamar Hunt – the most unlikely of sports executive pioneers – and the outsized role he played in modernizing 1960s pro football into the enduring American sports juggernaut it is today.  MacCambridge recounts how a strong rebuff from the stodgy 1950s NFL establishment galvanized Hunt’s determination to disrupt the football status quo, how the AFL’s “Foolish Club” of owners persevered through staggering financial losses, how Kansas City mayor Harold Roe “Chief” Bartle wooed Hunt and his flailing Dallas Texans franchise to the City of Fountains, and the karmic irony of the AFL Chiefs’ victory over Max Winter’s NFL Minnesota Vikings in the final AFL-NFL Super Bowl (IV) in 1970. + + +  SPONSOR THANKS: Royal Retros (promo code: SEATS): https://www.royalretros.com/?aff=2 BUY/READ EARLY & OFTEN:  Lamar Hunt: A Life in Sports (2012): https://amzn.to/3T0FL7G FIND & FOLLOW: Website: https://goodseatsstillavailable.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodSeatsStill Instagram (+ Threads): https://www.instagram.com/goodseatsstillavailable/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSeatsStillAvailable/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goodseatsstillavailable
80:08 11/27/23

Similar podcasts