Over the past two decades, Major League Baseball has put a lot of effort into honoring Jackie Robinson as a heroic man who broke the color barrier. But Robinson's legacy has been sanitized and oversimplified, says author David Naze. Robinson was a complex man who engaged in controversial political activity, had public clashes with other prominent African-Americans and didn't hesitate to criticize MLB.
Featured song: "This is My Country," the Impressions.
"The Celebrant" has been lauded as one of the greatest baseball novels ever written. Eric Rolfe Greenberg joins us to discuss his classic tale of a Jewish immigrant whose life intersects with the career of legendary New York Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson over two decades.
Featured song: "Sensation," Scott Joplin.
One hundred years ago today, the infamous 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds began. Author David Fleitz joins us to discuss his biography of Shoeless Joe Jackson, the man who has become the focal point of the Black Sox scandal in the public imagination.
Featured song: "I'm a Man," Joe Jackson.
Following the 1934 World Series, Cardinal aces Dizzy and Paul Dean set off on a 14-game barnstorming tour that saw them compete against such legendary Negro League stars as Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Oscar Charleston. Award-winning author Phil S. Dixon joins us to discuss "the greatest barnstorming tour of all time" — and how the white newspaper reporters covering the Deans missed the most important story.
Featured song: "Ramblin' On My Mind," Chris Thomas King.
Dale Murphy was one of the best, and most respected, players of the 1980s. Yet the former Braves star has not gotten close to being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Author Kirk McKnight joins us to discuss why he think Murph belongs in Cooperstown.
Featured song: "Do it Clean," Echo & the Bunnymen.
In 1992, nine MLB All-Stars "appeared" as themselves on a third season episode of "The Simpsons." In the 27 years since, "Homer at the Bat" has become one of the most remembered episodes of the classic animated TV series, beloved by generations of fans. Emily Hawks joins us to discuss Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr. and the rest of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plants softball squad.
Featured song: "The Simpsons" Main Title Themes, Danny Elfman.
For more than four decades, the Birmingham Black Barons were one of the premier teams in all of black baseball. Author William J. Plott joins us to discuss the legacy of the team that helped launch the careers of Satchel Paige, Willie Mays and others.
Featured song: "Frosty," Albert Collins.
In late 1926, the baseball world was rocked after allegations emerged that superstars Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker had thrown a game seven years earlier. Author Ian Kahanowitz joins us to discuss the Dutch Leonard Affair, which almost destroyed the game itself.
Featured song: "You Better You Bet," the Who.
Ruth vs. Williams. Jeter vs. Nomar. Boggs vs. A-Rod. For more than a century, the Yankees and Red Sox have battled for baseball supremacy. Authors Bill Nowlin and David Fischer join us to take an in-depth, position-by-position look at the greatest rivalry in sports.
Featured song: "My Rival," Alex Chilton.
In the tumultuous year of 1969, the lowly Washington Senators shocked the baseball world by posting their first (and only) winning season. Led by manager Ted Williams and stars like Frank Howard and Dick Bosman, the team won a permanent place in the hearts of fans in the nation's capital. Stephen J. Walker joins us to discuss that memorable season.
Featured song: "Good Times, Bad Times," Led Zeppelin.
In 2009, the New York Yankees were a franchise in transition. Mark Feinsand and Bryan Hoch join us to discuss how the new-look Bronx Bombers managed to win one final World Series with the Core Four of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.
Featured Song: "Empire State of Mind," Jay Z feat. Alicia Keys.
Edgar Martinez was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday, completing an unlikely journey from Puerto Rico to Cooperstown. Larry Stone, who co-authored Martinez's autobiography, joins us to discuss the life and career of the legendary Mariners designated hitter.
Featured song: "Viva! Sea Tac," Robyn Hitchcock.
Authors Jeremy Frank and Jim Passon join us to discuss their new book, which focuses on "the baseball stats you never thought to look for" from the 19th century through the Deadball Era.
Featured song: "I Can't Hide," Flamin' Groovies.
Ruth. Gehrig. DiMaggio. Mantle. Costanza? For decades, the New York Yankees have been at the forefront of American popular culture, from movies to TV to music. David Krell returns to the podcast to discuss Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Damn Yankees, Simon & Garfunkel and more.
Featured song: "New York, New York," Frank Sinatra.
Big Ed Delahanty, a slugging, hard-drinking outfielder, was one of baseball's top superstars in the 1890s. But 116 years later, his death remains shrouded in mystery. Author Mike Sowell returns to the podcast to discuss Delahanty and the baseball wars of the late 19th century.
To get a copy of the out-of-print book for $10, email Sowell at sowellm1 (at) mac.com.
Featured song: "Mystery Train," Little Junior's Blue Flames.
When Dick Cramer started analyzing baseball data in the 1960s, the term sabermetrics hadn't even been coined yet. Cramer joins us to discuss his pioneering work in the field, including his role in the founding of STATS and in disproving the concept of clutch hitting.
Featured song: "2000 Man," the Rolling Stones.
The "Moneyball" era is over, and MLB teams have moved on to the next revolution: the high-tech quest to build better players. Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik join us to talk about how this approach is transforming the game in numerous ways — and not always for the better.
Featured song: "The National Anthem," Radiohead.
Are bat flips OK? What does it mean to "respect the game?" How has the influx of Latin American players affected baseball's culture? Veteran writer Danny Knobler joins us to discuss MLB's shifting attitudes towards once-sacred player codes.
Featured song: "Respect," Otis Redding.
Author Richard Hershberger joins us to discuss how baseball evolved into the game we know today through a series of wide-ranging and radical rule changes throughout the 19th century.
Featured song: "Little Games," the Yardbirds.
Ronald Reagan called to offer support. So did the Pope. And Bill Cosby. None of it helped. The 1988 Baltimore Orioles started the season 0-21, setting a record and becoming a national laughingstock. Author Ron Snyder joins us to discuss one of the worst teams in baseball history.
Featured song: "I Hate Myself for Loving You," Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
In 1981, after a strike nearly ended the baseball season, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the most unusual World Series title in history. Author Jason Turbow joins us to discuss Fernandomania, Steve Garvey, Marvin Miller and more.
Featured song: "This Town," the Go-Go's.
Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger joins us to discuss the the inextricable link between the history of baseball stadiums and the growth of the American city.
Featured song: "Bright Lights, Big City," the Animals.
It might be! It could be! It is the 200th episode of Baseball by the Book! Author Don Zminda joins us to discuss the life of Harry Caray, the legendary broadcaster known for his work with the Cardinals, White Sox and Cubs. Holy cow!
Featured song: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," Harry Caray and the Wrigley Field crowd.
On the afternoon of May 17, 1979, the Phillies and Cubs played in one of the wildest, craziest games in baseball history. Author Kevin Cook joins us to discuss Dave Kingman, Mike Schmidt, WGN and MLB on the precipice of great changes.
Featured song: "Blow Away," George Harrison.
Legendary New Yorker writer Roger Angell is considered to be one of baseball's finest chroniclers by generations of fans. Author Joe Bonomo joins us to discuss more than four decades of extraordinary Angell essays.
Featured song: "Angel Eyes," Roxy Music.