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.
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.
Novelist Rita Mae Brown's newest novel "Sudden Death" is set in the world of women's professional tennis. Brown herself was a tennis player before becoming a writer. The novel also deals with the issue of lesbian athletes in the sport. Brown joins the show to discuss the novel and the sport.
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.
76ers general manager Pat Williams and sportswriter Bill Lyon have co-authored a book about the Philadelphia basketball team's history and recent success. Fresh Air listeners call in with their questions.
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.
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."
David Halberstam is a journalist and author who won the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Vietnam War for The New York Times. Two of his recent books examine American values as expressed through sports: "The Breaks of the Game," about basketball, and his latest "The Amateurs," about rowing.
Joe Namath was among the highest paid rookies when he joined the NFL. A series of injuries both on and off the field forced the quarterback to retire from football after thirteen years. He has since made a career acting and doing commercials. His new book is called Football for Young Players and Parents.
Veteran football player Rosey Grier never imagined a life in sports, but his imposing figure helped him distinguish himself in the NFL. Later in life, he worked as a bodyguard for Bobby Kennedy, and was present when the presidential candidate was assassinated.
The novelist's new nonfiction book is a meditation on the violent, intense sport, which her father exposed her to when she was a child. Despite her interest in boxing, Oates finds it difficult to watch live fights.
Sportswriter Frank Deford has a new collection of his work for Sport Illustrated called The World's Tallest Midget. He says writing long form pieces has helped sustain his career; he'd falter under the pressure of a daily deadline.
Journalist Michael Hamburger took a break from his career to work as a caddy on a professional golf tour. His book, The Green Road Home, details what was expected of him, from carrying bags to providing emotional support.