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81 Segments




"The Pitch that Killed."

Sports writer Mike Sowell (rhymes with "powell"). Sowell's book, "The Pitch that Killed," is the true-life account of the death of Ray Chapman. Chapman was the Cleveland Indians shortstop who died after being hit in the head by a pitch thrown by New York Yankee Carl Mays. The incident occurred in late August, 1920, as the Yankees and Indians were battling for the American League pennant.


Which America Gets Through to the "East", and Which Gets Lost in Translation?

Writer Pico Iyer. His book Video Night in Kathmandu explores the subtle and often humorous Westernization of the Far East. Iyer, who reported for Time Magazine for four years, found the West's influence in mohawk haircuts in Bali, six Filipino girls doing a perfect rendition of a Madonna hit, Japan's baseball mania and a Chinese cafeteria that served dishes like "Yes, Sir, Cheese My Baby," and "Ike and Tuna Tuner." Video Night in Kathmandu has just been published in paperback. (Interview by Sedge Thomson)


Thomas Boswell on Why Baseball Is the Greatest Sport

The veteran sports journalist has a new book called The Heart of the Order, which collects his baseball columns from the past five years. He joins Fresh Air to talk about the respectful way he interviews and writes about athletes, managers, and owners -- and how this approach has enriched his reporting.


A Juiceless and Didactic Baseball Movie

Eight Men Out, about a 1919 baseball scandal, is directed by John Sayles. Film critic Stephen Schiff says there are some good performances, but the movie is more of a moralistic argument than a story; it could have used some of the wit Sayles injected into his earlier B-movies.


Overcoming Racism in Baseball.

Frank Robinson, manager of the Baltimore Orioles. In 1975, he became the first black manager in baseball, and today he is the only one. As a player, Robinson was legendary. He is the only player ever to win the Most Valuable Player award in both leagues; and his 586 home runs place him behind Hand Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays on the all-time list.


Baseball Great Willie Mays.

Baseball great Willie Mays, one of the most potent all-round players in the history of baseball. In his 22 seasons in the major leagues, Mays played in 21 All-Star Games, batted over .300 and hit 660 home runs. His autobiography, Say Hey, has just been published. (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)


Roger Angell's "Season Ticket."

Baseball writer Roger Angell. His new book, Season Ticket: A Baseball Companion, is a compilation of essays published in The New Yorker magazine over the last five seasons. The essays cover subjects from spring training, Astroturf versus grass and drug abuse. Angell's previous books include The Summer Game, Five Seasons and Late Innings. Angell is the senior fiction editor of The New Yorker.


Essays to Tide You Over Until Baseball Season.

Book critic John Leonard reviews baseball writer Roger Angell's latest collection of essays, Season Ticket. The essays, which previously appeared in The New Yorker magazine, cover the five seasons of play between 1981 and 1986.


"Triple Threat" John Sayles.

Film director and actor John Sayles. His films include "The Return of the Secaucus Seven," "Baby It's You" and "Brother From Another Planet." His new film is "Matewan," about a coal miner's strike in West Virginia.


In Search of "The End of Baseball"

Writer John Krich is working on a book about baseball in Latin America. He is particularly interested in the sport's cultural role in countries dealing with armed conflicts and political upheavals.


Getting to Know "The Mick."

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 legend Mickey Mantle wearing a Yankees uniform before a game

Baseball and Pitching with Bill Lee.

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."


Luciano Hits a Home Run.

Former Major League Baseball Umpire Ron Luciano was known for his flamboyant style. His book "The Umpire Strikes Back," was a hot, and Luciano has written a follow-up "Strike Two." He shares humorous stories about his career in MLB and discusses some of the colorful characters working in the sport today.


Sportscaster Red Barber

The baseball radio broadcaster began his career in the 1940s. He was informed in advance of Jackie Robinson's recruitment by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Initially against baseball's desegregation, Barber grew to admire and support Robinson.


Sportswriter Roger Angell

A new collection of the journalist's columns, originally published in his New Yorker column "The Sporting Scene," is called Late Innings. Angell talks about how professional baseball has shifted in recent years toward a greater emphasis on entertainment.


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