Sports' Forgotten Heroes

Warren Rogan

Sports' Forgotten Heroes is a tribute to the stars who shaped the games we love to watch and the games we love to play. Sports' Forgotten Heroes is not about reliving the careers of superstars we talk about every day like Muhammed Ali, Jim Brown, Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan. Rather, Sports' Forgotten Heroes is about the stars who have faded away with time. Some were elected to their respective Hall of Fame, others might have had one great season, or just one great game that will live in infamy. Guys like Billy Cannon, Ed Delahanty and Bill Barilko - stars whom time has forgotten. read less
SportsSports

Episodes

131: Shoeless Joe - MLB
4d ago
131: Shoeless Joe - MLB
The name "Shoeless Joe Jackson" is one of the most famous in baseball history. A key figure to the dominant Chicago White Sox of the late 19-teens, Joe led the team to the World Series Championship in 1917 when he hit .304 in the 6-game series. However, we all know the story of what happened next. In 1919, the White Sox threw the Series against the Cincinnati Reds and a year later, despite batting .375 in the series Jackson, along with seven of his teammates, was banned for life. So, every year, when voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame rolls around, the name Joe Jackson is brought up and debated as to whether or not his ban should be lifted and entrance into the Hall of Fame granted. But, that's not what this episode is about. Rather, this episode is a discussion about the great career Shoeless Joe put together. A career that included a season in which he hit over .400, a career in which he hit .356 over 13 years. A career in which he connected for 168 triples (at the time, a triple was also a sign of power), stole 202 bases and finished with an OPS of .940. Yes, Joe Jackson was one of the greatest to ever play the game. What he did over the course of his career, I think, gets overlooked and is not spoken about enough. Sure, the debates rage on as to whether or not his lifetime ban should be lifted so he can gain entrance into the Hall of Fame. But, what gets lost in the debate is the conversation that focuses on the incredible numbers he put up. And, BTW, in his final year, at the age of 32, he hit .382, with an OPS of 1.033, led all of baseball with 20 triples and had 121 RBI. Another phenomenal year, in fact, it was one of the best seasons he ever had. On this episode of SFH, we are going to explore his career. Not debate whether or not he should be in the Hall of Fame, we're just going to discuss the great numbers he put up with David Fleitz, the author of "Shoeless - The Life and Times of Joe Jackson".
129: Sid Gordon - MLB
16-04-2024
129: Sid Gordon - MLB
Sid Gordon broke into the Majors in 1941 with the New York "baseball" Giants, bounced back-and-forth between the minors, served for two years during World War II and then made it back to the big league club in 1946; and proceeded to put together a terrific career. In fact, from 1948 through 1952 he established himself as one of the game's best by averaging 27 home runs a year, over 97 RBI a year, and during that 5-year span he hit .292 with his high, for that stretch, coming in 1950 when he hit .304. Gordon was a Jeff McNeil type of ballplayer. He could play the infield (3B) or outfield and even asked to play catcher. Over the course of his career, he played 809 games in left, 454 at third, 108 in right, 42 at first, 6 in center and 3 at second base. He clubbed 202 home runs, knocked in 805 and had a career batting average of .283. Gordon, a favorite of Leo Durocher, was reluctantly traded by the Giants to the Braves prior to the 1950 season. The native of Brooklyn, New York, was the one player the Boston Braves wanted in exchange for Alvin Dark and Eddie Stanky - catalysts for the Giants 1951 run to the NL Pennant. And that's one of the knocks against Gordon's popularity. He never played for a championship. He languished on teams that were rarely in a pennant race. Nonetheless, Gordon still had a terrific career and on this episode of SFH, Steve Cahn, Gordon's young cousin, who also authored the book, "Sid Gordon, An American Baseball Story", joins to talk about Gordon's career.
127: Pittsburgh Pipers - ABA
19-03-2024
127: Pittsburgh Pipers - ABA
In 1967, a new basketball league was born, the ABA (American Basketball Association) with teams in 11 cities including Indianapolis, Oakland, New Orleans, Denver and Dallas. The ABA also put a team in Pittsburgh, the Pipers. After a slow start, the Pipers got it going and twice won as many as 14 games in a row. In fact, the Pipers finished the season with a record of 54-24. They won the Eastern Conference and then worked their way through playoffs. In the first round, they swept the Indiana Pacers 3-0. In the Eastern Finals, they took out the Minnesota Muskies 4-1 and in the championship, in seven games, the Pipers outlasted the New Orleans Buccaneers 4-games-to-3. The Pipers were good. real good. In fact, they might have been good enough to qualify for the NBA playoffs. They were led by a budding superstar - Connie Hawkins. Blackballed by the NBA for his alleged involvement in a point shaving scandal, Hawkins was named the ABA's regualr season MVP and playoff's MVP. He averaged 26.8 ppg during the regular season and 29.9 ppg in the playoffs. Of course, later in hi career, he was finally granted entry into the NBA where he continued to excel and was ultimately elected into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame. Back to the Pipers. Despite winning the East, the team's fanbase was minimal at best. So, the Pipers, after just one year in Pittsburgh, packed up and headed north to Minneapolis. The Muskies left for Florida. Ironically, the Muskies couldn't draw fans and the Pipers, after relocating to Minnesota, couldn't draw fans in Minneapolis either. So, they packed up and headed back to Pittsburgh. Without a doubt, the Pipers had quite a unique history and on this episode of Sports' Forgotten Heroes, basketball historian and author Mark Whited stops by for a lively discussion about the Pipers, the ABA and Connie Hawkins.
126: Steve Wright - NFL
05-03-2024
126: Steve Wright - NFL
Steve Wright played 12 years in the NFL as an offensive lineman with the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Raiders and a two detour into the USFL with Oakland Invaders. His story is quire remarkable considering how he wound up a starter despite being undrafted out of the University of Northern Iowa. But his determination and persistence not only helped him make the Cowboys in 1981, but become a fixture on the O-Line. He played with and against some of the game's greatest and played under three unique coaches: Tom Landry, Frank Kush and Art Shell. His story is filled with the highs and lows you would expect. But it's also filled with magnificent stories as well, three of which are among the most historic in history. In his rookie year, he thought he was on his way to the Super Bowl until Dwight Clark caught a pass from Joe Montana to vault the 49'ers and end the dreams of Cowboy fans everywhere. He was on the field for the longest TD run in NFL history, 99 1/2 yards by Tony Dorsett and he was on the Baltimore Colts when they packed up and left overnight for Indianapolis. But Steve's exploits on the field are only a part of his story. What he did off the field while playing and after his playing days are a huge part of who Steve Wright is. Introducing Cloudburst (misting machines) to the NFL and the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, his charity around the world, his appearance on Survivor and so much more. On this episode of Sports' Forgotten Heroes, Steve joins the podcast to talk about his career and his life after football in this most entertaining discussion.
124 - 1903 Franklin All Stars - NFL
06-02-2024
124 - 1903 Franklin All Stars - NFL
There have been so many dominant teams in the history of professional football and, in particular, teams with dominant defenses. In recent times, the 2007 New England Patriots who went 16-0 before losing in the Super Bowl. This year (the 2023 season), the Baltimore Ravens defense has been somewhat dominant, and their teams of the early 2000s were as tough as nails. Back in the 80s there were the Chicago Bears of Mike Singletary and Richard Dent, the New York Giants with Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson, in 70s you had the Doomsday Defense of the Dallas Cowboys, the Steel Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steeles and the no-name defense of the 1972 Miami Dolphins who went 17-0 and won the Super Bowl. There have been several. But as far as the most dominant defense in the history of professional football is concerned, you would hard-pressed to find one that was more dominant than the 1903 Franklin All Stars. They didn't just dominate, you basically couldn't move the ball against them at all. In fact, over the course of their 12-game season, only twice did the opposition cross over the 50-yard line. And, it's not like they were playing against the Little Sisters of the Bleeding Hangnail. They were playing against the very best. So, how did this team come together? What was the impetus for forming such an incredible conglomerate of talent? Darin Hayes, the host of the Pigskin Dispatch podcast recently authored the book, "The World's Greatest Professional Gridiron Team, The 1903 Franklin All Stars," and not only does he share with us the assembly of the team, but he makes a very compelling argument for this team being the greatest of all-time.
123 Dallas Texans - NFL
23-01-2024
123 Dallas Texans - NFL
In the 1940s and into the 1950s, the NFL had a troubled franchise. Originally known as the Boston Yanks, the team played in Boston (with a slight detour in 1945) from 1944 through 1948. They relocated to New York for the 1949 season and renamed themselves the New York Bulldogs. In 1950, they called themselves the Yanks and after the 1951 season, they called it quits. Now, the NFL could not move forward with an odd number of teams. So, they found themselves a buyer and took a chance on an entirely new region of the country, the Southwest. A hotbed for college football, the NFL thought it was a no-brainer. So, the Yanks moved to Dallas and became the Dallas Texans where they would play in the 75,000-seat Cotton Bowl. Well, it didn't go well. The first-ever game attracted just under 18,000 fans. They never reached that number again. Professional football in Dallas - at that time - was a colossal failure. In fact, it was so bad, the Texans didn't finish the season in Dallas. After four home games they had to relocate, and I get into that fiasco, among many other incredible and fascinating stories about this doomed franchise with my special guest, Mike Cobern. Mike stumbled across the Texans story and decided to dig deeper. In the end, Mike took all the information he could find, conducted some terrific interviews and authored a terrific book, "“Wards of the League, The Untold story of the first NFL team in Dallas,” which is due to hit the book stores this summer (July 2024). On this episode of Sports' Forgotten Heroes, we take a look back at an incredible story of an NFL team that so many - even in Dallas - have never heard about and why it was doomed before the team ever played its first game.
SHN Presents: NO NONSENSE, OLD SCHOOL WEIGHTLIFTING HISTORY - SHN Trailers
17-12-2023
SHN Presents: NO NONSENSE, OLD SCHOOL WEIGHTLIFTING HISTORY - SHN Trailers
NO NONSENSE, OLD SCHOOL WEIGHTLIFTING HISTORY is presented by the Sports History Network, the headquarters for sports yesteryear.ABOUT SHOW:My name is Mark Morthier, and I host yesterday’s Sports on the Sports History Network. As many of you know from reading my articles and listening to my podcasts, I am not only an avid weightlifter but a fan of the sport as well. I’m excited to share my newest adventure, a show dedicated to promoting weightlifting, while also looking back at some weightlifting history. I’ll share some of my own stories and interview weightlifters from both past and present.I competed in Olympic Weightlifting from 1981 to 1989 and powerlifting from 2011 to 2019. Although I wasn’t what one might call “a naturally gifted lifter,” I managed to clean & jerk 140 kilos/308 lbs at 179 lbs body weight. In my later years, I achieved a 600-pound deadlift and a 431-pound front squat in my mid-fifties. Although I was more successful in powerlifting, setting New Jersey and New York State records in Masters Competitions, I’ll always consider myself an Olympic Weightlifter. I’ve also written a book on weight training titled No Nonsense, Old School Weight Training, which is available on Amazon.NO NONSENSE, OLD SCHOOL WEIGHTLIFTING (Amazon affiliate link)I hope that you will enjoy the show, and please leave a comment or offer a suggestion. And if you’re an Olympic lifter, past or present, let me know if you’d like to set up an interview, and I’ll do my best to have you on the show. Stay strong and God bless!
SHN Presents: The Official Football Learning Academy Podcast - SHN Trailers
07-07-2023
SHN Presents: The Official Football Learning Academy Podcast - SHN Trailers
The Official Football Learning Podcast is part of the Sports History Network - The Headquarters For Sports Yesteryear.HIGHLIGHTED SHOW - FOOTBALL LEARNING ACADEMYEach week, the official Football Learning Academy podcast will take you deep into the history of this great game.Through interviews with players, coaches, or administrators in the NFL, as well as interviews with Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors, authors, and historians, you will learn about how the game evolved and important moments that shaped the sport into what it is today.You will also get first-hand accounts from the people who have made history in pro football.Host: Ken CrippenKen Crippen was in a leadership position within the Professional Football Researchers Association for 15 years and is now the founder and lead instructor at the Football Learning Academy.He has been researching and writing about pro football history for over 30 years and has been a sought-after interview for publications like the Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone magazine, and a sought-after guest on podcasts and radio shows, namely The History Channel, ESPN Radio, and Fox Sports Radio.He has written two books, been the managing editor of two other books, and a contributor to yet two more books. He has also written hundreds of articles on pro football history, has won the Dick Connor Writing Award for Feature Writing (which is now called the Lesley Visser Enterprise News/Features Award) from the Pro Football Writers of America, as well as the Professional Football Researchers Association’s Ralph Hay Award for lifetime achievement in pro football research.Learn more about the show on the Sports History Network.
SHN Presents: Fantasy Football Origin Stories - SHN Trailers
23-03-2023
SHN Presents: Fantasy Football Origin Stories - SHN Trailers
When Football Is Football is part of the Sports History Network - The Headquarters For Sports Yesteryear.HIGHLIGHTED SHOWWelcome to Fantasy Football Origin Stories, a weekly show here on the Sports History Network, where each episode is a journey back in time to explore some unique experiences from some of the coolest and most influential people in the fantasy football industry.My name is Arnie Chapman, also known as The Football History Dude, and fantasy football is one of my greatest passions. I want you to come along with me each Wednesday to explore the yesteryear of this game of skill we all love so much. Yeah, that’s right, it’s a game of skill, all you wannabe champs out there. This is an ode to the spreadsheet warriors, the game tape gurus, team name savants, and everyone in between. I’ll take you behind the scenes to explore the origin stories of your favorite fantasy football analysts, but I won’t stop there, because this show will include all roles in the industry. You’ll get to know the game behind the game that’s behind the game like you’ve never heard it before, and I can't wait for you to ride shotgun with me back in time, to learn about some of these armchair gridiron knowledge nuggets.And remember, you got to tell all of your fantasy football-loving friends that this show is available to listen to for free in any app that supports podcasts. It’ll be the one fantasy football show you’re ok with sharing. Because even though there might be a fantasy tip here and there, this show is all about getting to know the people in the industry, not a weekly list-building show.This show is also a proud member of the Sports History Network, the Headquarters For Sports Yesteryear. So grab your friends, and hop aboard my DeLorean, because we’re about to get this baby up to 88mph.Learn more about the show on the Sports History Network.
SHN Presents: Unpopular Essays on Sports History - SHN Trailers
22-02-2023
SHN Presents: Unpopular Essays on Sports History - SHN Trailers
Unpopular Essays on Sports History is part of the Sports History Network - The Headquarters For Sports Yesteryear.HIGHLIGHTED SHOWUnpopular Essays on Sports HistorySupposition. We live in a golden age of sports.I mean this not in the sense of athletes becoming stronger, speedier, savvier and smarter than ever before, nor in terms of the amazing access we have to live streams and stat feeds, instant insights and opinionating, the quirks and personalities of our celebrity heroes.This, rather, is a golden age of sports in humanistic, historical terms. The truth is that the great majority of people today, willingly or not, have a direct and regular connection to organized and/or participatory sports in their everyday lives than anyone born before the 20th century.In the United States, not a person alive can recall a time when sports was not a staple of the daily newspaper. For four generations, the notion that nightly news programs should devote up to one-quarter of their airtime to sports is taken for granted. Why do we take this for granted?At Unpopular Essays on Sports History, everything is questionable.Supposition: Those who play the games have ascended in the public eye to heights unimaginable in times past. Playing top-level sports can get today’s athlete into business, TV production, national politics – and just how did this happen?At Unpopular Essays on Sports History, everything is up for examination.Supposition: Sports – wherever they are played but particularly in these places where they are invented – effect culture, even pace it. One could argue that sports are more important than ever.Corollary: Sports history, too, should be more important, yet is probably more disrespected and disavowed than ever.At Unpopular Essays on Sports History, we love the past while marveling at the present, and wondering about the future.  The “unpopular essays” of the title is a nod to Bertrand Russell, the logical positivist and my favorite philosopher. (Plus it’s a great excuse to get my BA degree to finally pay off.) And as we’re taught in philosophy, It’s not about answering the questions; it’s about making them clearer.Three days a week, Unpopular Essays on Sports History will examine a moment in sports history, probe some modern ethos of our games, or speculate on what the past can teach the future – and all in 500 words or less – though probably occasionally throwing in the occasional longer interview. We’ll tour the spaces and times of the whole wide world of sports history about as quickly as Secretariat ran the Belmont Stakes.Supposition: Sports history is fascinating, illuminating and fun. Join me, Os Davis, in making the questions of sports history clearer right here an Unpopular Essays on Sports History, an SHN production. Os Davis, host of Unpopular Essays on Sports History Os never played the games but has enjoyed a nearly 30-year career in sports writing, reporting, blogging, and podcasting. He has hosted/co-hosted and produced/co-produced podcasts on NFL football, CFL football, European basketball and sports movie review. For the Sports History Network, he currently writes and co-produces the historical fiction audiodrama Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer and will return soon with more episodes of Truly the GOATs (promise).Learn more about the show on the...
Thanksgiving and Football (or maybe Vice Versa) - Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer
23-11-2022
Thanksgiving and Football (or maybe Vice Versa) - Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer
Thanksgiving Day, 1924. The recently-established tradition of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers football team hosting the Pennsylvania State Nittany Lions on the afternoon of the national autumnal holiday continues. Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer is sent to cover the Pitt-Penn State “Keystone Classic” of 1924; in so doing, he discovers a throughline of the football-on-Thanksgiving tradition going back to 1621 (okay, actually, that’s going back to 1869) and reminds us that high-level football games on Thanksgiving are nearly as old as the official Thanksgiving holiday itself.  Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer is an audio drama podcast from Number 80 Productions and the Sports History Network.Thanksgiving and Football (or maybe Vice Versa) script & story by Os Davis. Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer stars Doug Fye, Ilona Fye, and Eric Bodwell. Thanksgiving and Football (or maybe Vice Versa) co-stars, in order of appearance, Caedmon Holland, Forrest Hartl and Wayne Brett.Additional direction by Eric Bodwell. Sound recording and primary editing by Don McIver.The theme song of Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer is “the Dayton Triangles Rag” and was arranged and performed by Bruce Smith. Other tracks in this episode include•  “Jazz Club” by Kriss (available through fair-use agreement via FreeMusicArchive.org);•  “Litany of the Street” by Silverman Sound Studios;•  “Bimini Bay” (1921) by the Benson Orchestra of Chicago; and•  “Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer (Outro)” by David Liso of Dynamo Stairs.Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer is produced by Os Davis and Darin Hayes. Series concept by Darrin Hayes.Stay tuned for more episodes of Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer – coming soon!