1984 College World Series | Ep 23

1984 College World Series | In all of baseball, the College World Series, which began in 1947, is one of the pinnacle events for the sport.  

Only eight Division 1 teams survive a grueling playoff process to make it to Omaha to crown a national champion.

The Players

Jose Mota and Louie Medina made that journey in 1984, among a star-studded cast of players from around the country.  

Mota played for Cal State Fullerton and would leave Omaha as part of a national championship team.

Jose Mota

Louie Medina played for Arizona State, a highly favored team, with the likes of Barry Bonds and Oddibe McDowell as teammates.

1984 College World Series | The Semi Final Match Up

These two players faced each other in a semifinal game that saw Cal State Fullerton eliminate Arizona State 6-1. Fullerton would then go on to beat Texas for the title. 

What was the experience for Mota and Medina in Omaha? How did Cal State Fullerton prepare itself in a tournament where they were not favored to win? There were two different mental states for these teams entering the semifinal game and Mota and Medina lay that out for you.

Both players would go on to play professional baseball and stay involved in the game after their playing days: Mota in the broadcast booth and Medina in the front office of the KC Royals.  Both are forever conscious of the impact that 1984 College World Series had on their lives and they share those feelings here. 

The game may have been played in 1984, but the memories are vivid and emotionally charged. 

1984 College World Series highlights

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1981 London Marathon | A Historical First | Ep 22

London Marathon | One minute you are strangers on the streets of London and the next you are united in sports forever and friends for a lifetime.

That is what happened for American Dick Beardsley and Norwegian Inge Simonsen at the 1981 London Marathon.

1981 London Marathon

These two marathoners had never met when the gun went off to start the first ever London Marathon. They ran together near the head of the pack for miles, neither able to gain distance on the other.

In the final stages of the race, a moment in sports history began when Beardsley turned to Simonsen and asked, “should we go in together.”

Not knowing if Simonsen had agreed to that, they raced on, stride for stride, towards the finish line where the answer became apparent. Hand in hand, they crossed the finish line as co-winners of London’s first marathon.

Never before, and most likely never again, will a marathon finish this way.

Here are Dick and Inge with the story of that race, in their own words. Why would two such competitive athletes who had trained so hard to win the marathon agree to do this while running the race?

What effect did this race have on their lives? Would they do it differently in hindsight?

Listen and enjoy.

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Ironman World Championships | Iron War | Ep 21

“The Greatest Race Ever Run.”  “Iron War.”

Those are two of the descriptions of the 1989 Ironman World Championship, a race that changed the face of Ironman Triathlons from being not only an endurance test, but also a true race.

The men who created this historical moment are Dave Scott and Mark Allen.  

1989 Ironman World Championship

These two triathletes entered the 1989 event well aware of one another’s abilities, but could not possibly have foreseen that this race would pit them literally side by side for over 8 hours.  

On this podcast, Dave and Mark share with each other and you the physical strains, the mental emotions and the mind-boggling journey of two rivals through a triathlon that made history.  

It would be 15 subsequent years before the two could talk with one another about this race.  If you think the competitiveness dissipates with time, listen closely.

This is the story of two of the world’s finest athletes ever, in a race you could not script.  Most importantly, this is their story as personally related by the two who ARE the story and the rivals.  

Sign up for the fortnightly free newsletter from Dave Scott, 6-time Ironman World Champion covering a wide range of topics from health, aging, nutritional insights, training physiology, mobility, stretching and strength training  plus swimming, cycling and run biomechanics. 

Additionally, why not ask questions directly to Dave by going to https://davescottinc.com/.

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HOF Pitchers | Palmer vs Eckersley | Ep 20

Ah, the joy of it all, listening to this conversation between two of MLB’s most renowned HOF pitchers, former rivals and good friends: Jim Palmer and Dennis Eckersley.

These two-faced one another in opposing uniforms between 1975 and 1984. Both would enter Baseball’s Hall of Fame and the competitiveness that got them there can be heard in this edition of the SPORTS RIVALS.

The HOF Pitchers

Palmer pitched for the Orioles, and only the Orioles, from 1965-1984. His extraordinary career includes three Cy Young Awards, six World Series appearances, three World Series rings and a record of 268-152.

To say he was a dominating pitcher would be an understatement. For an amazing eight seasons, he was a 20-game winner, simply unheard of in the modern baseball era.

Jim finished with a 268-152 record, a 2.86 career ERA and entered the Hall of Fame in 1990.

Eckersley spent 24 years pitching in the majors. He began his career as a starter with the Indians, Red Sox and Cubs before becoming a preeminent closer with Oakland. He is the only pitcher in MLB history with 100 complete games and 100 saves.

His final career numbers include 197 wins and 390 saves, averaging 44 saves per season between 1988 and 1992.

As a closer in 1992, he was both the Cy Young Award winner and the league MVP with a 7-1 record, 51 saves and a 1.91 ERA. He was a control master who in the last 10 years of his career walked just 86 in 600+ innings.

Dennis entered the Hall of Fame in 2004.

These are two gregarious masters of pitching. They are friends who love to talk the game, their careers and their relationship.

Here is the story of how they first became aware of one another as opposing pitchers, their memories of head-to-head games on the mound and their appreciation for one another as pitchers and friends.

You get to drop in on this conversation right now.

Enjoy. 

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Olympic Diving | Potter vs King | Ep 19

Breaking records and boundaries has been the lifelong work of today’s guests, Olympic diving legends Cynthia Potter and Micki King.

One of the ironies in sports is that athletes often compete against one another for a lifetime, yet during that time they become teammates on occasions such as the Olympics. Cynthia and Micki are two such athletes.

Olympic Diving Legends

Cynthia Potter claimed 28 National Diving Championships, a record for women divers, and was the World Springboard Diver of the year three times. She competed in the 1972 & 1976 Olympics, winning a bronze medal in 1976 on the 3-meter springboard.  

Cynthia went on to coach both men and women at SMU and Arizona and has worked as a TV commentator for diving events.

Micki King holds 10 National Championships, competed in the 1968 and 1972 Olympics, and won gold in 1972 on the 3-meter springboard, the culmination of an amazing comeback story. 

Micki King’s 1972 3-meter springboard gold medal with incorrect spelling of her name

Micki King chose a career in the Air Force, retiring as a Colonel. She was the first woman to be on the faculty at the Air Force Academy, becoming the first woman in NCAA history in any sport to coach both the men’s and women’s team at the same university.  She went on to be a founding member of the Women’s Sports Foundation, advancing the cause of women in sports and life careers worldwide.

They competed as rivals from 1964-1972 in the 1m and 3m springboard plus the 10m platform.

Teammates and Rivals

They were teammates at the 1972 Olympics in Munich and were horrified with the rest of the world as terrorists stormed the Olympic Village, killing two Israeli athletes and taking nine others hostage.

Both will relate that experience in addition to their duel experiences as teammates and rivals.

Groundbreaking women on and off the diving platforms.  These are lifetime stories that advanced a sport and the lives of those who followed.

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OSU vs Oregon | NCAA Basketball | Ep 18

OSU vs Oregon | Some team rivalries go to the soul of players and fans.  They are the rivalries that have not only stood the test of time but also made even more intense with times’ passage.

Such is the basketball rivalry between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon.

OSU vs Oregon Rivalry

Talk about time tested! These teams have played more games against one another than any other basketball rivalry in NCAA history-354. OSU leads in wins with 190 to Oregon’s 164. This is a rivalry where winning THE game can make or break a season, no matter the overall record.

With the campuses in Eugene and Corvallis just 37 miles apart, the impact on local sports fans is deep-seated.  That just raises the stakes when these teams play and is that fan fever ever felt by the players, as you are about to hear.

The Players

Lamar Hurd played for OSU from 2002-2006 as a starting point guard all four years. He was an All-Pac-10 performer and a 3-time Pac-10 All-Academic. He came to OSU from Houston and currently is a television analyst for the Portland Trailblazers.

Luke Jackson played at Oregon from 2000-2004. He is the only player in school history to be in the top 10 in 9 different statistical categories and was an NBA pick by Cleveland. He went on to play pro ball and to coach basketball at the college level.

Luke grew up in the midst of this rivalry being born and raised in Eugene. He will tell you about being recruited by both schools and why he chose Oregon. Family feelings about the rivalry matter when making such a choice as Luke will explain.

Lamar will give you an insight on this rivalry from the perspective of one who did not grow up there, but found out quickly what was on the line when these teams met. There is a bit of awe and shock heard in Lamar’s voice in relating his discovery of this rivalry in his freshman year.

Listen to the intensity of their conversation rise up as the podcast progresses. Feel the heat of their memories as they relate stories from their playing days. You will also hear that the competitive intensity still exists with each player remembering when they went head-to-head on the court.

Hurd and Jackson magnificently relate in words what such a rivalry means to those who find themselves in its midst. We leave their conversation with a very real sense that this rivalry’s long history is worthy of being college basketballs most played ever.

Buckle up. 

*Note:  The athletes in this podcast refer to the rivalry between The University of Oregon and Oregon State University as the “Civil War.”  This is a moniker that was previously used by the schools, but since the recording of the podcast, the schools have decided to no longer use this term.

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1983 Sugar Bowl | PSU vs GA | Ep 17

1983 Sugar Bowl | Seasons in sports are played to lead up to a moment of finality – the World Series, NBA Finals, etc. College football is no different as teams play for a national championship game and a number 1 ranking to end a season.

In January of 1983, that moment was the Sugar BowlGeorgia came into the game ranked number 1 and Penn State number 2.  While not classified as a national championship game at the time, few doubted that the winner would claim that moniker.  

The Quarterbacks

Todd Blackledge was the passing quarterback for a high-powered Penn State team that featured the running prowess of Curt Warner.  Penn State was a favorite in the game even though ranked number 2.  

Todd had a 31-5 mark for his career with the Nittany Lions and did not know when entering that game, that when the day was done, he would be the MVP of the Sugar Bowl.

Todd would go on to play in the NFL with KC and Pittsburgh and have a noted career as a television football analyst.

At quarterback for Georgia was John Lastinger, who entered that day never having lost a game he started at quarterback from the time he was in high school. John was joined in the backfield by Herschel Walker who did the leg work.

John would go on in 1984 to win a Cotton Bowl game and scored the winning touchdown.  However, such was not to be John’s fate in 1983.

1983 Sugar Bowl 

Penn State won the game 27-23 and the national number 1 ranking that went with it. The game lived up to its pregame hype as you will hear Todd and John remember the day.

There was an opening Penn State drive that both agreed set the stage.

There was a penalty non-call in the game they each remember as critical. A little thing it was not, but rarely is it remembered except by those in the game.

Many in sports say it is far easier to lose by an overwhelming margin than a tight matchup. In the former, you forget the mistakes-they didn’t matter anyway. In the tight ones, you harken back and think “what if.” You will hear that here.

Two QBs in the Louisiana Superdome with a football world watching.

Here are their stories of that game.

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Swimming | USA vs East Germany | Ep 16

USA vs East Germany |Everyone in the pool!  Just don’t challenge our guests to a race.  

Most rivalries end with the competitive years of those involved having concluded.  The rivalry stories we hear today ended when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.

For U.S. swim teams, the East Germans posed a particularly tough rivalry as our guests will explain.  This was a rivalry born of international competition, the Olympics being THE highlight of their matchup. 

Our guests today were involved in this rivalry at the highest levels.  They came to the competition in different eras, but both faced East German teams when they were at their best.

The Rivals | USA vs East Germany

Rowdy Gains

Rowdy Gaines was the World Swimmer of the Year in 1980.  He came from the collegiate program at Auburn during which time he began his representation of the U.S. in international events.

He won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics.  His time in the 100-meter freestyle set a world record as did the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay teams he anchored.  He also collected nine national and two Pan-American titles.

There could have been more gold in his collection, but the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Olympics in which he would have competed.

His freestyle form garnered him the title of “The World’s Fastest Swimmer.”

John Naber was the World Swimmer of the Year in 1976.  He swam at USC from 1974 -1977 when the program won 4 consecutive national titles.  He was part of arguably the most dominant Olympic team ever when in 1976 the men’s swim team won 23 of a possible 30 medals.  

Naber won four gold medals setting world records in all four events!  John gained the title of “Back Stroke King” for his amazing career performances.

Why do both Gaines and Naber consider the East Germans to have been such a forceful rival?  How did each view the rumors of cheating by the East Germans?  What were the relationships with East German competitors both at the time and in the years since they competed?

Rowdy and John have a friendship of some 40 years, both having followed the careers of one another with avid interest.  Now, these two friends tell us the stories they have shared with one another over the years regarding the competitors they remember so well.

Let’s jump in.

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Public Relations | Horwitz vs Swanson | Ep 15

All sports public relations departments take great pride in their work and are forever comparing their efforts with their counterparts.  That rivalry is supplemented with an understanding that PR departments often need the assistance of one another for information gathering purposes and interview arrangements.  

Our two guests today are as good as it gets in PR work.

Public Relations Rivals

Jay Horwitz

Jay Horwitz has been with the New York Mets since 1980.  He was head of media relations for 39 years before becoming VP for Alumni Relations and Historian for the Mets.  

Few in the business have ever had that kind of longevity with one team.   

Oh, the baseball history he has seen.  Jay has covered double-digit World Series and All-Star Games for MLB as a Public Relations representative.  The Mets’ games he has missed since 1980 can be counted on one hand.    

Some of that history and so many stories are part of his new book, “Mr. Met.”  There is no one better to tell those tales and no better title for the book.  

How much has he meant to Mets’ players?  Well, in 1986 when the Mets won the World Series, the players voted him a full playoff share- $93,000. 

Mike Swanson

Mike Swanson is the VP of Communications and Broadcasting for the Kansas City Royals, a position he has held since 2007.  He held similar jobs with the Diamondbacks, Padres, and Rockies.

Mike also is one of the nation’s best television statisticians, assisting broadcasters in the booth at major sporting events including numerous Super Bowls, Final Fours, the 2007 BCS Title Game, and Bowl Games. In addition, he’s done statistics for countless college basketball and football games, including work for ESPN.

One needs a strong sense of humor in the PR positions our two guests hold, and these two have just that as you will hear when the storytelling begins.    

We begin our podcast with a look at how MLB PR departments think of one another and work to present broadcasters and fans with information about their teams.

What is the relationship with players?  Ownership?  Fans? 

And, oh yes, we have the stories from two who have seen a lot of baseball-on and off the field. 

Smile on.

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Pitchers | Blyleven vs Langston | Ep 14

Shoes on fire!! So begins a romp through pitchers’ territory with two pitching personalities who let it fly.

The Pitchers

Bert Blyleven is a Hall of Fame right-hander who came to the majors at age 19 with a curveball that HOF member Brooks Robinson described as “nasty…enough to make your knees buckle…a dominating pitcher.”

Bert won 287 games, with 3701 strikeouts and a no-hitter. He will tell you that of all the figures that brought him to the HOF, he takes great pride in a couple of other numbers that speak to durability and competitiveness.

Blyleven has a Jose Canseco story that Langston loves. Not many pitchers have followed a hitter out of the batter’s box on the way to first base, but leave that to Blyleven to explain.

A spitter in baseball? Could it be so? Again, Blyleven went to the well to learn about that pitch with a story that involves another HOF member.

Mark Langston had a 16-year MLB career with 179 wins, 7 gold gloves and four All-Star Game selections. Mark was a competitor against Blyleven when he pitched for Seattle and Bert was with the Indians and Twins.

The Rivalry

They only faced each other in three starts with Bert besting Mark in those games 2-1. However, their awareness of each other as opponents went well beyond those games.

These two would end up as teammates for two years-1990 and 1992-with the Angels. That’s when the rivalry really got “hot” as Mark will explain.

Bert gets Mark to tell the story of his first start with the Angels, when they were teammates, and what ended up being a game that became a piece of baseball history.

Neither has a problem remembering who they least wanted to see at the plate when they pitched and they’ll tell you why.

When two players who love the game and the stories that go with it come together to talk baseball, we all have an inside look that delights us as fans. Langston and Blyleven are those two you get to enjoy today.

Keep an eye on your shoes!

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