Ron Luciano worked as a baseball umpire before joining NBC as a sportscaster. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about the ins and outs of the game, what makes a great player, and his switch to television broadcasting.
Bill Lee pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 1969-1979. He was later traded to the Montreal Exos where he played until 1982. Lee, known as "Space Man," was known for hid antics and sarcastic quotes. He currently plays baseball in Canada and South America and does commentary and book reviews for the CBC. Lee has written a new memoir called "The Wrong Stuff."
Baseball legend Mickey Mantle played for the New York Yankees his entire career, from 1951-1968. Mantle grew up in small Oklahoma town, but his personal life, including drinking and abandoning his family, did not always live up to his all-American image. Mantle's new autobiography is "The Mick."
Baseball manager Tony La Russa. For the past two years, he's led the Oakland Athletics to the World Series. La Russa has been called one of the most intelligent, cerebral and innovative managers now in the game. His style of clubhouse management - taping all American league games in the clubhouse so batters can study upcoming opposing pitchers, computer analysis of statistics to show which batters hit best in clutch situations - is widely imitated and has been credited with revitalizing the American League West, once thought to be the weakest of all four divisions.
Baseball Hall-of-Fame pitcher Bob Feller. Some call him the fastest pitcher in history---taking the mound for the Cleveland Indians when just a teenager, Feller racked up 266 wins, struck out over 2500 batters, and pitched the only opening day no-hitter in major league history. In his new book, "Now Pitching, Bob Feller: A Baseball Memoir," he recounts his more 50 years in the game. (The book is co-authored with writer Bill Gilbert and published by Birch Lane Press).
A 1986 interview with former Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton. In 1970, Bouton's memoir "Ball Four" was published. Those who wanted to maintain major league baseball's image as the home of heroes were scandalized by the book; others thought it was about time someone revealed that baseball is full of real people and real problems. "Ball Four" made an enemy for Bouton of baseball legend Mickey Mantle by reminiscing about Mantle's on and off-field drunkenness. (Rebroadcast of 12/8/1986)
There are fewer second basemen in the Baseball Hall of Fame than players in any of the other positions. Joe Morgan is one of the few. Today we rebroadcast an interview with the former Houston Astro and Cincinnati Red. Morgan was with the Reds in the 70's, along with Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, and Tony Perez, when the team was so successful it was known as the Big Red Machine. In 1975 and 76 Morgan was named most valuable player, leading the Reds to the world series championships both times. Altogether, Morgan spent 22 years in the major leagues. (REBROADCAST FROM 4/21/93)
Baseball legend Mickey Mantle. We'll hear a 1985 interview with the Yankees slugger, whose father had his career in pro baseball planned before he was born. Mantle played his entire 17-year career with one team, the New York Yankees. (Rebroadcast of 10/08/1985)
Former Major Leaguer Keith Hernandez. Called by some baseball purists the finest First Baseman in the game, Hernandez played with the St. Louis Cardinals, the New York Mets, and the Cleveland Indians. He is the winner of eleven consecutive Golden Glove Awards for fielding, and played in two World Championships. Hernandez's new book is "Pure Baseball: Pitch by Pitch for the Advanced Fan" (Harper): analysis of two 1993 match-ups, with play by play commentary, based on his seventeen years in the game.
Former Major Leaguer Keith Hernandez. Called by some baseball purists the finest First Baseman in the game, Hernandez played with the St. Louis Cardinals, the New York Mets, and the Cleveland Indians. He is the winner of eleven consecutive Golden Glove Awards for fielding, and played in two World Championships. Hernandez's new book is "Pure Baseball: Pitch by Pitch for the Advanced Fan" (Harper): analysis of two 1993 match-ups, with play by play commentary, based on his seventeen years in the game. (Rebroadcast Originally aired 2/24/94)