Arizona vs Stanford | NCAA Basketball | Ep 26

Arizona vs Stanford | When it comes to rivalries, those involved in college sports are often the most inspired.

Richard Jefferson and Casey Jacobsen were (and still are) part of such a rivalry. 

Arizona vs Stanford | The Players

Jefferson played college hoops at the University of Arizona from 1998-2001 under the late Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson

Casey Jacobsen at Stanford

Jacobsen played at Stanford from 1999-2001, for another Hall of Fame coach, Mike Montgomery.

For those years they played against each other, both teams were among the elite in the nation, battling to get to the Final Four and to win a National Championship.

Richard and Casey will let you in on their meeting at a Michael Jordan basketball camp and on how they might have been teammates in college but for Jacobsen’s final college decision. In addition, they discuss their feelings regarding their coaches and how each coach’s approach was so markedly different, yet effective.

Jacobsen and Jefferson went on to extended professional basketball careers and careers in the broadcast booth. Through all of the years the memories of their college experiences ring fresh.

Here now is the inside look at a rivalry on the hardwood from two who helped write its history.

Further Listening:

Be sure to subscribe to the Sports Rivals podcast to listen to this rivalry on your favorite podcast app:

If you loved this episode, check out our others:

For Love of the Game | Lyons vs Hudler | Ep 25

For the love of the game |The legend of golf, Ben Hogan, once said, “As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.” 

Our guests today have taken time to smell the roses and their walk down the fairway has been filled with life: a life in sports where each day was to be treasured.

The Major Leaguers

Steve Lyons spent nine seasons in MLB, playing for four teams in an 852-game career. He played every position, doing so once in the same game. He said, “I was never a great athlete or a great hitter. I was never supposed to make it to the big leagues.” He did and made the most of every moment.

Rex Hudler played 14 seasons in the majors for six teams. His 774 games played required the grit and no quit attitude just as was true for Lyons.

For the Love of the Game

There is a sheer joy that radiates from Hudler and Lyons as they relate their experiences as rivals and survivors in the majors. Around the game, one is known as “Psycho” and the other as “Bug Eater.” They earned the monikers and will tell you why.

They were referred to as “utility players.” What did that mean then and now to each of them?

There is much to smile about here, and much to admire.

They would both move on to share their joy of the game as broadcasters, but first they shared that joy with teammates and fans while in uniform. Here is their story.

Further Listening:

Be sure to subscribe to the Sports Rivals podcast to listen to this rivalry on your favorite podcast app:

If you loved this episode, check out our others:

Placekickers | Stenerud vs Benirschke | Ep 24

Placekickers | They both could kick a ball, but it was round, not oval. Before their careers were over, it was the oval football they kicked that made all the difference.

What a treat to listen to two of the NFL’s all-time great placekickers relate the unlikely roads they both took to become legends in the game.

The Placekickers

Jan Stenerud kicking for the Kansas City Chiefs

Jan Stenerud was on the field for the Chiefs, Packers and Vikings during a career that covered 1967-1985. He is the first pure placekicker to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Along with a Super Bowl win with the Chiefs and 4 Pro Bowls, he also transformed the placekicking game for all of football.

All of this coming almost by accident to a man who came from Norway to Montana State on a ski jumping scholarship.

Rolf Benirschke kicking for the San Diego Chargers

Rolf Benirschke was a placekicker for the San Diego Chargers from 1978-1986. He retired as the all-time leader in points for the Chargers, an NFL Man of the Year Award winner and a fan of Stenerud.

Listen to his story of the inadvertent chance to kick a football that leads to his time in the NFL.

They watched each other kick, they learned from each other and they competed at the highest level with a talent that brought with it real sport’s pressure.

Two exuberant men, two unlikely careers, and two joyful stories told in their own words.

Rolf walked to midfield with Louie Kelcher

Further Listening:

Be sure to subscribe to the Sports Rivals podcast to listen to this rivalry on your favorite podcast app:

If you loved this episode, check out our others:

1988 NLCS | Dodgers vs Mets | Ep 10 | RE-AIR

1988 NLCS

The 1988 NLCS was a tumultuous series between the LA Dodgers and NY Mets.

It went 7 games in the rain, sleet and hail and featured the likes of KIRK GIBSON, STEVE SAX, DOC GOODEN AND GARY CARTER.

This series also pitted the to be 1988 Cy Young Award winner, NLCS MVP and World Series MVP- Orel Hershiser– against a former NL MVP, two-time World Series Champion and arguably the game’s finest defensive first baseman ever-Keith Hernandez.

They are the guests on this podcast.

We are treated here to an inside look at this series the likes of which you will find nowhere else.

The Players

Hershiser will speak to the adrenaline gained for himself and the Dodgers from public comments made by Mets players during the series.

Hernandez will speak to one of those occasions on comments made by teammate pitcher David Cone and how he and the Mets felt when they read what Cone said.

Both players access what facing one another was like. Hershiser talks about his plan in pitching to one of the games toughest outs. Hernandez reflects on what he sat on as a hitter when facing Hershiser.

Orel and Keith will lead you through the unfolding of this series: the roller coaster ride, the turning points, a game 4 that turned a potential Mets win into an extra inning game on Dodger Mike Scioscia’s 9th inning home run off Gooden and a game winning 12th inning home run by Dodger Kirk Gibson.

Keith will describe what he calls the worst defensive play he ever made that occurred in this series and that he lives with today.

Orel describes what it took to pitch nearly half of the total innings thrown by Dodger pitchers in this series, including sneaking off to the bullpen, without manager Tommy Lasorda knowing, to earn a save.

The story of that series is magic enough, but the insight both of these players provide on what their mind sets were in this series and competing at the Major League level for their careers is beyond words.

The openness and honesty you will hear is so rare as to perhaps be unique. Enjoy.

Further Listening:

Be sure to subscribe to the Sports Rivals podcast to listen to this rivalry on your favorite podcast app:

If you loved this episode, check out our others:

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

Further Listening:

Be sure to subscribe to the Sports Rivals podcast to listen to this rivalry on your favorite podcast app:

If you loved this episode, check out our others:

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.

Further Listening:

Be sure to subscribe to the Sports Rivals podcast to listen to this rivalry on your favorite podcast app:

If you loved this episode, check out our others:

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/.

Further Listening:

Be sure to subscribe to the Sports Rivals podcast to listen to this rivalry on your favorite podcast app:

If you loved this episode, check out our others:

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. 

Further Listening:

Be sure to subscribe to the Sports Rivals podcast to listen to this rivalry on your favorite podcast app:

If you loved this episode, check out our others:

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.

Further Listening:

Be sure to subscribe to the Sports Rivals podcast to listen to this rivalry on your favorite podcast app:

If you loved this episode, check out our others:

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.

Further Listening:

Be sure to subscribe to the Sports Rivals podcast to listen to this rivalry on your favorite podcast app:

If you loved this episode, check out our others: