Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Greg Genske VaynerBaseball CEO

Gary Vaynerchuk made another power move in the sports agency world by announcing a partnership with Greg Genske to lead VaynerSports' newly formed VaynerBaseball division. Genske joined the Baseball Happenings Podcast to discuss how he linked up with Gary Vee to bring his talents to VaynerSports to expand their agency's reach into Major League Baseball.




Friday, June 12, 2020

Baseball Happenings Podcast | 'Big Sexy: Bartolo Colon In His Own Words' Author Michael Stahl

Bartolo Colón still has hopes of returning to the majors leagues. At 47, and with labor negotiations at a stand still, his chances are as good as Vegas bookmakers trying to set the odds to win the World Series

According to SBD, "The second-tier favorites have generally gotten longer with the MLB planning to play a shortened, 80-game season with an expanded playoff field. Fewer games means greater likelihood for unexpected outcomes."


Despite the uncertainty surrounding Colón's return to the field or if the season will take place, fans will rejoice reading Colón's journey in his new autobiography, "Big Sexy: Bartolo Colón In His Own Words". The 21-year MLB veteran partnered with Stahl through a series of interviews at his New Jersey home to tell how he achieved major league stardom from his humble Dominican Republic beginnings.

In the latest Baseball Happenings Podcast episode, Stahl discussed how the rookie author was able to link up with Colón for his "big league" publishing debut. During the 18-minute interview, he tells some of his favorite stories from the book, while also explaining how this venture has validated his transition from a New York City high school English teacher to author during an unprecedented pandemic.


Monday, May 25, 2020

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Jeff Frye Interview




Jeff Frye was a fan favorite during his eight major league seasons with the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, and Toronto Blue Jays, but little did he expect to gain massive social media fame almost 20 years after he last put on the uniform. After a series of videos where he is spoofing hitting instruction methods he's seen online, including the one below which has received 1.4 million views as of this writing, Frye's "She gone!" has become a cult cry among his fans and retired MLB peers.



Frye joined the Baseball Happenings Podcast to discuss how he's handled the unexpected attention, and how he hopes his videos will help young baseball players and their families become better informed consumers when selecting a hitting coach.
@examinebaseball

What to do if your ##hitting coach hands you a PVC pipe. ##baseball ##mlb ##tips ##shegone ##baseballcards ##batting

♬ original sound - examinebaseball


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Brad Balukjian Wax Pack Book Interview

Brad Balukjian, author of The Wax Pack: On The Open Road In Search of Baseball's Afterlife, joined the Baseball Happenings Podcast for a special Q&A interview where readers submitted questions for Balukjian to answer live on-air about his 11,341 mile journey across the country to uncover the afterlives of 14 retired Major League Baseball players.



In 2015, I met with Balukjian in Brooklyn while he was in New York to meet with Lee Mazzilli and Doc Gooden for the book. After being rejected by multiple publishers, his book is currently the best-selling baseball book on Amazon at the time of this writing.

During the 45-minute Q&A, Balukjian explained his crazy travels trying to track down Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk, getting batting lessons from World Series champ Rance Mulliniks, and his conflict peeling away layers from his baseball hero, Don Carman.




Sunday, April 19, 2020

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Bobby Valentine Interview

Bobby Valentine joints the Baseball Happenings Podcast to discuss playing for Bobby Winkles with the California Angels. Winkles, who also managed the Oakland Athletics and won three College World Series championships at Arizona State University, died April 17, 2020 at age 90.

Winkles managed the Angels in 1973, when Valentine suffered his career-altering injury while playing the outfield. Valentine explains how the injury changed both of their career trajectories.





Thursday, April 16, 2020

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Sophia Chang Interview

Queens based artist Sophia Chang joins the Baseball Happenings Podcast to discuss her work on Topps Project 2020. In the interview, she explains what inspired her debut 1992 Bowman Mariano Rivera design, her foray into the baseball card collecting world, and how she's putting a Queens touch on the new cards.

- Website - www.esymai.com
- Instagram - @esymai




Saturday, April 11, 2020

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Mike Sommer Of Wax Pack Hero

Mike Sommer of Wax Pack Hero joins the Baseball Happenings Podcast to discuss how collectors are adapting their purchasing habits due to the coronavirus pandemic. We also take a dive into how the card companies like Topps are reacting with their production plants temporarily shutting down to due to forced work stoppages.






Saturday, April 4, 2020

Forever Linked With Rusty Staub, Mike Jorgensen Recalls Their Tremendous Bond As Teammates

When Rusty Staub died March 29, 2018, the New York Mets lost a franchise icon. The Mets traded a trio of young prospects to the Montreal Expos in exchange for the six-time All-Star just before starting the 1972 season. Mike Jorgensen, a 23-year-old homegrown talent from Bayside, Queens, was one of the traded players who had to replace Montreal's most beloved superstar.

“He was a hero,” Jorgensen said in a phone interview. “He was the Montreal Expo at the time, and it wasn't a very popular trade in Montreal.”


Going to Montreal with Ken Singleton and Tim Foli, Jorgensen found strength bonding with his new teammates. They turned their collective energy towards the field rather than worrying about living up to Staub's lofty expectations.

“That trade gave me a chance to be a regular player,” he said. “That was the foremost [thing] on my mind. I played up there for five years, so after a little while, [the fan reaction to the trade] wore down a little bit. At first, it was unpopular because he was an All-Star; he was, 'Le Grande Orange,' and he was a big deal.”

The baseball tradewinds reunited the duo in New York at the twilight of their careers. Jorgensen returned to the Mets in 1980 via a trade with the Texas Rangers. Staub joined him from Texas the following year through free agency. Now both seasoned veterans, they became friends by sharing a similar role on the team.

"We would go out to dinner a number of times; it was kind of unusual because we were both kind of winding [down] out careers at the time," he said. "We were both left-handed pinch hitters, [which] I guess you could do it in those days when you had seven guys on the bench; you wouldn't have room for that kind of a thing in today's game."

He recalled one candid bench conversation early in their Mets tenure that exemplified how attentive and competitive Staub was in his reserve role.

“The one thing I'll remember is that he studied the game,” he said. “He was one of the best pinch-hitters in the game, if not the best. He would study those pitchers, sit in the dugout, and look for something if they were tipping pitches or something like that. After a while, he'd say, 'I got him, I got it.' I'd always sit by him and try to pick up the tip myself. The first time he did that, I said, 'Yeah okay, what is it?' He looked at me and he said, 'You know, we're both kind of fighting for the same job.' It wasn't in a bad way, that was just the way he was.”

The 69-year-old Jorgensen, who currently works for the St. Louis Cardinals as their Senior Special Assistant to the General Manager, acknowledged how his former teammate's passing is a tremendous loss to the entire baseball community.

“He was great,” he said. “Obviously, everybody knows the stories about the restaurants and how he was a gourmet cook. … He was a wonderful man [with] everything he did there in New York, especially [with] the police department. It was enjoyable to play with him; it really was. I enjoyed my time with him. Baseball's going to miss him; we'll all miss him.”



* - Ed. Note - This story was originally published for the now-defunct Sports Post on April 11, 2018.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Erik Kratz Interview

On the latest Baseball Happenings Podcast, we present an interview with New York Yankees and Team USA catcher Erik Kratz. The 39-year-old MLB veteran discussed how he is dealing with the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Games postponement as just another speed bump in his well-traveled career.






Saturday, January 11, 2020

Dick Bokelmann | Former 1950s St. Louis Cardinals Pitcher Dies At 93

Dick Bokelmann, a pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals in the early 1950s, died December 27, 2019, in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He was 93.


Born October 26, 1926, Bokelmann was a star at Arlington High School. He went on to Northwestern University, where the Cardinals signed the pitching star from the Arlington Heights sandlots in 1947.

“After I got out of Northwestern [a scout] showed up at a semi-pro game one day and asked me if I was interested in signing,” Bokelmann said during a 2009 phone interview from his Arlington Heights home. “I had been in touch with the Cubs for a few years, but it didn't work out, so I signed with the Rochester Red Wings. I signed a Triple A contract. I then went to Toronto to meet the team and I was only there a week [before I] was sent to Fresno.”

Bokelmann’s major league journey started on the West Coast, far from his Windy City origins. He was quickly introduced to the follies of minor league life.

“I remember joining them in Bakersfield," he said. "Our manager was a catcher but wasn't on our active roster. Our catcher slid into home plate headfirst and got a concussion. We didn't have another catcher. We had a little 5'6” left-handed first baseman. Someone else went back there, I think one of our pitchers, and he couldn't see well without his glasses. Gosh about after two pitches went back to the screen, they brought the first baseman in left-handed, and he caught the rest of the game. I thought, ‘This is professional baseball?’ It was quite different.”

Weathering his rookie season, Bokelmann returned home armed with newfound riches, ready to make a move that would greatly impact his career. He married his sweetheart Dolores Hogreve, a union that lasted 71 years until her March 2019 death.

“I went home and got married,” he said. “I was making a big $250 per month, pretty extraordinary when I think back at that time. I got a big $50 raise for the next year and made $300!”

Bokelmann went 15-11 with a 2.82 ERA at Class B Allentown in 1948. For the next three years, he moved between their Double A and Triple A affiliates in Houston and Rochester.

Finally, in 1951, everything clicked under manager Al Hollingsworth’s watchful eyes in Houston.

“I had a really good year in Houston,” he said. “That year, I started as a starting pitcher and went on a trip to Panama. I pitched good ball down there until the Cardinals came through from spring training and they dropped off Vinegar Bend Mizell, Mike Clark, and Fred Martin. I found myself in the bullpen and it worked out to my advantage. I ended up with a 10-2 record and a 0.74 ERA.

"Every night, it was like 3-2, 2-1, 4-3, so I was up in the bullpen almost every night. It was entirely different; you weren't a one-inning closer back then. I even started a couple of ballgames for Houston that year. I could pitch five-to-six innings without a problem and I even threw a complete game. We would either be ahead or behind by a run and I'd get credit for a win.”

With Boklemann pitching lights out at Houston, the Cardinals took notice. On August 1st, 1951, he finally got the call to the majors. Cardinals manager Marty Marion wasted little time putting him to the test.

“When I got up to the Cardinals, they pitched me the first three days I was there,” he recalled. “The first night I saved a game for Harry Brecheen. The next two days I pitched, I didn't give up any hits; I had the bases loaded for one, gave up no hits, and nobody scored.”

After a failed attempt as a starter, Bokelmann settled into a comfortable bullpen role. He suffered a few early losses but then responded with three wins in one week.

“[Marty] Marion then decided to start me against the Cubs, and that didn't go very well,” he said. “A couple plays screwed up. Nippy Jones and I couldn't get together on a ball up the first base line, and it kind of snowballed from there.

“I went back to the bullpen. I later won three games in a week. We were in Pittsburgh; I gave up no runs in [4 2/3] innings and only one hit. On the third day, I gave up one run in [5 2/3] innings and only one hit. The next week we were home against the Giants, and I picked up another win. I went into the game and I think I pitched about five innings. We ended up winning the game, and I got credit for the win even though I went in with a 6-0 lead. That's how they work out. That's all I got; those three!”

For the next two seasons, Bokelmann shuttled between St. Louis and the minors, making 14 appearances for the Cardinals in 1952 and 1953. The Cardinals sold his contract to the Reds in 1954. Back home in the Texas League with Tulsa, he went 10-4 with a 1.80 ERA. Despite his stellar performance, he saw the unfortunate writing on the wall when the Reds kept him in the minor leagues.

“In 1954, I came home, I was about to be 28, my little girl was six, and my boy was three; I decided I had it,” he said. “I had my shot up there. I wasn't going to make it up there anymore, so I decided to quit.”

In an ironic twist shortly after deciding to hang it up, Bokelmann discovered his services were still in demand. His phone rang with an offer he waited for his entire career.

“The odd thing was, I always wanted to play winter baseball someplace,” he said. “Our manager Joe Schulz managed in Puerto Rico. No sooner than I got home and got a job with Prudential Life Insurance, he called me to come to Puerto Rico to play ball.”

He passed on the offer, turning his attention towards his family. He worked at Prudential for 30 years until his retirement.

According to his daughter, Bokelmann received autograph requests until three days before he died. In 2009, he recalled how Topps reprinting his 1953 rookie card led to a 25-year mail stream.

“About 15 years ago, I got a letter from Topps that they were going to reprint the 1953 series and they gave me a few bucks,” he said. “I now get requests every day. Sometimes I get ten of them. They must be trading them to other people. They get three of mine for one of someone else because I don't know how they get ten of them.”

Reflecting on the stark financial difference between his generation and current MLB stars, he pointed to how fellow Cardinals alum Curt Flood helped baseball players become millionaires when he challenged the reserve clause.

“The Cardinals had so many minor league teams, you kind of had to work your way up through them,” he said “There were good ballplayers especially in the Cardinals [system] that had to stay in the minors, especially in Columbus. Besides that, you had the reserve clause in the contracts, and that killed you.

"Until Curt Flood started the suit, you were done. The year I played in 1951, I had signed the minimum contract. The next year I got my letter from the owner for $5,000. By today's standards, going 3-3 in two months, I would have probably got a big raise today. I had to fight to get $500 more. If he didn't want to give it to me, I had to stay home. I couldn't go anyplace, I was locked in. That's how baseball was until 1973 when the contracts went out of sight. I wonder sometimes how much players like [Stan] Musial who was getting $75,000, which was big money back then, would have made now.”


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Ted Lepcio Interview

On the latest Baseball Happenings Podcast, we present an interview with the recently deceased Ted Lepcio, an infielder who played primarily with the Boston Red Sox in the 1950s.


During our conversation from 2017, we discuss Lepcio's relationship with his teammate, Jimmy Piersall, as well as his memories of facing Satchel Paige. Lepcio died December 11th, 2019, in Dedham, Massachusettes. He was 90.





Saturday, December 14, 2019

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Emily Waldon of the Athletic Discusses Rob Manfred's Proposal To Contract 42 Minor League Baseball Teams

Emily Waldon, Detroit Tigers and National Prospect writer for The Athletic joins the Baseball Happenings Podcast to discuss Major League Baseball's proposal to contract 42 teams from Minor League Baseball. She shares how the two Detroit Tigers affiliates that Rob Manfred has put on the chopping block have responded to the news.

Baseball Happenings Podcast
"They're very against it, and they're both fighting to make sure that they don't lose their places," Waldon said. "They're working with Congress to try and fight against it. Obviously wanting to defend their place in the organization's farm system, I'm working very hard to make sure that that can stay reality."

In the 11-minute interview, Waldon also shares her thoughts on Lou Whitaker missing out on the Hall of Fame, her grinding journey covering the minor leagues, and the top organizational farm systems to watch in 2020.




Saturday, October 26, 2019

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Author Eric Moskowitz On The New World Of Baseball Card Collecting

Eric Moskowitz, author of the recent Atlantic piece, "How Baseball Cards Got Weird," joined the Baseball Happenings Podcast to discuss his venture into the new waters of collecting baseball cards online.


During the interview, Moskowitz explains how during his research he caught the collecting bug through watching online breaks, and eventually found a community through their chat rooms that has substituted for a lack of local card shops.




Saturday, August 31, 2019

Hal Naragon, one of the Cleveland Indians last 1954 World Series links dies at 90

Hal Naragon, a catcher on the Cleveland Indians 1954 World Series team, died Saturday, August 31, 2019 in a statement the Indians released. He was 90.


We had Naragon as a guest earlier this year on the Baseball Happenings Podcast, where he spent over 40 minutes discussing his lengthy major league career. Naragon signed with the Indians in 1947 and debuted in 1951.

“I know it was a chilly day and they called me in from the bullpen,” he said. “Naturally I was a little nervous, but usually by the time you get to the plate you get yourself together and do what you can do.”

He spent the next two years in serving in the Marines during the Korean War and returned for good in 1954. He came back right in time to help the Indians to the 1954 World Series. Serving as a reliable backup catcher, Naragon looked back 65 years later at his lone series appearance as a major thrill.

“You know, I was hoping that I would get in one,” he said. “When I was called up out of the bullpen to come in, I, of course, felt a little on edge at first but then I kinda settled down. I liked to be able to play in a World Series.”



He played in the majors until 1962, spending time with the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins, before moving into coaching. He was a member of the Twins' coaching staff during their 1965 World Series appearance, and he finally won his ring as a coach with the 1968 Detroit Tigers.

“That was a good team,” he said. “They would hit in the clutch … they got hits when it really counts, they were good defensive players, and they always had a lot of fun.”

Naragon left coaching after the 1969 season to take over a local sporting goods store in his hometown of Barberton, Ohio. He ran the store from 1974 until his 1990 retirement. The town paid a massive tribute to their native son when they named Barberton High School’s baseball field Naragon Field in his honor in 2006.

You can listen to Hal Naragon's Baseball Happenings Podcast interview below, as well as subscribe to future episodes.


Click here to listen on Stitcher


Monday, August 12, 2019

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Celebrating National Baseball Card Day With Susan Lulgjuraj Of Topps

On the latest episode of the Baseball Happenings Podcast, we caught up with Topps Marketing and Communications Manager Susan Lulgjuraj in Brooklyn at the Topps Truck to celebrate National Baseball Card Day.


During the interview, we discussed how Topps' baseball card wrapped truck connected with National Baseball Card Day, the return of Bowman Sterling to their release lineup, and how Topps has shared in the positivity of Gary Vaynerchuk's involvement with the collecting hobby.

If you enjoyed the interview, feel free to subscribe to our podcast, or click here to follow us on your favorite social media platform.



Friday, July 26, 2019

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Jim Bouton Ball Four Varsity Letters Tribute

Jim Bouton's Ball Four started as a colorful documentary of baseball life, and it turned out to be a legacy journey. With 5 million copies in circulation and multiple editions of the book still in print, Bouton's story will continue to be passed down across generations of baseball fans.


Gelf magazine recently had our lead writer Nick Diunte at their Varsity Letters event in New York City to read his favorite passages from Ball Four. Click here to listen to the hilarious passages of Joe Schultz's malapropisms on the latest episode of the Baseball Happenings Podcast.



Saturday, July 20, 2019

Don Mossi | 1954 Cleveland Indians Relief Star Dies At 90

Don Mossi, one of the last living members of the Cleveland Indians 1954 American League Championship team, died July 19, 2019 in Nampa, Idaho as per his daughter Linda Mossi Tubbs. He was 90.

Mossi signed with the Indians in 1949 from Jefferson High School in Daly City, California. They immediately placed him with their Class C team in Bakersfield, keeping the California native within the confines of his home state to develop his talent. The move paid off, as Mossi worked his way to the big league club five years later, right in time for a pennant run.

Don Mossi / Topps
The left-hander joined the Indians in 1954, integrating himself into a dominant pitching staff that included Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, and Hal Newhouser. Mossi partnered with Ray Narleski to form a relief combo that sealed many of the Indians 104 victories.

“You'll never have a staff like that ever put together again,” Narleski said in a phone interview from his New Jersey home in 2008. “You had four 20-game-winners. Then you had Art Houtteman and Hal Newhouser; that's six of 'em. Then you had Mossi, myself, Hoskins, and Hooper.”

While most players would relish getting the Feller and Lemon off the mound, the site of Mossi and company coming in from the bullpen provided little relief for their opponents.

“Going into Cleveland—that was a tough weekend. You had a four-game series in Cleveland; you had Lemon, Wynn, Garcia, and Feller. Then they had Narleski and Mossi as their wrap-up guys. … It was a comfortable oh-for-twelve on that weekend,” Billy Hunter said to Gene Fehler in “When Baseball Was Still King.

Mossi pitched four scoreless in three appearances for the Indians during the 1954 World Series. While the New York Giants prevailed, Mossi made a powerful statement to the rest of the league with a 1.94 ERA during his rookie season.

The lefty earned an All-Star selection in 1957 after he converted to a starting pitcher with the Indians. He pitched a scoreless two-thirds of an inning in the Midsummer Classic. He was traded after the 1958 season with Narleski to the Detroit Tigers for Billy Martin and Al Cicotte.

Mossi immediately made an impact in Detroit, spinning a career-best 17-9 record on the mound in 1959. He played five seasons there before finishing his last two seasons with the Chicago White Sox in 1964 and the Kansas City Athletics in 1965. He posted a career record of 101-80 with a 3.43 ERA in 460 appearances.

His passing leaves only two living members from the Cleveland Indians 1954 World Series team, outfielder Wally Westlake, and catcher Hal Naragon, who appeared on the Baseball Happenings Podcast earlier this year.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Mike Oz Dishes On How He Got His 2019 Topps Allen And Ginter Baseball Card

Mike Oz has a knack for keeping it fresh. Whether he is running his "Old Baseball Cards" show for Yahoo! Sports, organizing the Taco Truck Throwdown, or hosting his radio show on KFRR 104.1 FM, Oz has put quality content at a premium. He joined the Baseball Happenings Podcast to discuss how a kid who collected baseball cards starting in the 1980s finally came to have his own in 2019 Topps Allen and Ginter.

Mike Oz 2019 Topps Allen And Ginter / @CardboardIcons

An idea that started from looking at sealed baseball card packs in his garage four years ago, led to the iconic baseball card manufacturer Topps taking major notice. As Oz grew "Old Baseball Cards," to include the likes of Andre Dawson, Randy Johnson, and Manny Machado chopping it up while opening packs, Topps made a move that Oz never envisioned.

“Fast forward four years later,” Oz said during our recent Forbes interview, “I get an e-mail from Topps [asking], ‘Do you want to be in Allen and Ginter?’”

In our 30 minute Baseball Happenings Podcast interview, Oz explains the surprisingly intense process of signing his official cards, what made "Old Baseball Cards" take off, and his love for hip hop music.








Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Baseball Happenings | Explorations In Baseball Card Collecting On The About The Cards Podcast

Baseball Happenings lead writer Nick Diunte recently appeared on the About The Cards Podcast to dicuss baseball cards, autograph collecting, and what we do here at Baseball Happenings. The two-hour show is below. It's a fun watch; if you love collecting, click here to subscribe to them on YouTube.  

The podcast is also available on multiple platforms.
Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Twitter


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Cory Aldridge Explains The Long Road Back To The Major Leagues

Cory Aldridge knows Wilkin Castillo's pain all too well. After Castillo returned to the major leagues with the Miami Marlins in June 2019 after a 10-year absence, Aldridge discussed his realities of waiting nine years to get a new lease on big league life. In my recent piece for Forbes, Aldridge said just how impactful even one major league paycheck is for a long-time minor leaguer.

“Your average minor league ballplayer is making $500 every two weeks,” Aldridge said. “If you were playing [in the majors] you probably went from making well below minimum wage to one check is what you probably made in the last two years. … Your average minor leaguer probably makes five grand a year, and your average first [Major League] paycheck is probably 10-to-15 grand.”

Cory Aldridge / Minda Haas Kuhlmann - Flickr
In our 30-minute interview for the Baseball Happenings Podcast, Aldridge shares his own struggles with injuries and how he contemplated quitting baseball multiple times after his 2001 Major League debut with the Atlanta Braves. His journey that landed him back in the majors with the Los Angeles Angels in 2010 is one of extreme perseverance under conditions that would have caused most professional athletes to hang up their gloves and spikes.