Interview with former 1969 Miracle Mets team member Ron Swoboda
The Sixties still represents one of the most tumultuous times in American history, but 1969 in particular had its share of news events that spanned the entire spectrum, particularly the sports highs... that is, if you were a New York fan. That '69 year started with Joe Namath and the Jets winning Super Bowl III, and it culminated with the New York Mets winning the franchise's first World Series title. One of the key members of that Mets club, outfielder Ron Swoboda, joins the latest "Stories with Street CRed" to discuss his baseball career and beyond. Swoboda opines on playing for Hall of Famer Gil Hodges, and alongside Mets teammates like Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver. But Swoboda also reflects on the world events that unfolded during his Mets' tenure, ending his career in pinstripes with the Yankees, and his post-baseball life in New Orleans.
March 22, 2022
Interview with former NFL head coach Dick Vermeil
Dick Vermeil compiled a career 120-109 (.524 W-L %) win-loss record as an NFL head coach with three franchises -- the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, a football resume that one football source says should be plenty to get Vermeil elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame without "much pushback for his selection." In the latest "Stories with Street CRed" podcast, Vermeil discusses his football arc -- which began in Calistoga, California -- that has taken him from the high school and collegiate coaching ranks all the way to the NFL, with three different head coaching stops. He took the Eagles to the big game, and lost, but later got the brass ring with the Rams, in one of the most memorable Super Bowl finishes ever. (photo credit: Marnie Schneider)
January 07, 2022
Interview with former major league player Chris Dickerson, the founder of Players for the Planet non-profit.
Chris Dickerson, 39, spent seven years total in the majors, playing for five different teams, including the Yankees. But it was during his time in the Cincinnati Reds' farm system, the start of his pro baseball career, when he started to ponder the amount of waste generated by one clubhouse. That was in 2008, the same year he launched Players for the Planet, a non-profit he still leads to this day, and which has the overriding goal of getting athletes involved with protecting earth. In this latest episode of "Stories with Street CRed," Dickerson takes time from his busy schedule to talk about then versus now, and how more than ever, sports and society need to do their part in advancing green efforts.
December 29, 2021
Interview with gold medal-winning Paralympic swimmer Morgan Stickney
Morgan Stickney was one of the country's top teenage distance swimmers before vascular problems led to the amputations of both of her legs -- the left in 2018, and the right in 2019. Undeterred, Stickney continued training and was able to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics after the pandemic postponed the Summer Games one year. Stickney won a gold medal in both the 400-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter medley relay. In this episode of "Stories with Street CRed" podcast, the 24-year-old Stickney discusses her past physical and mental challenges, winning gold and what lies ahead in her continuing inspirational journey.
September 19, 2021
Interview with former major league manager Bobby Valentine
It's been over two decades since Bobby Valentine helped guide the 2000 New York Mets to the Subway World Series against the Yankees, but his managing stint in Flushing is just one of many hats Valentine has worn during his professional life. His latest endeavor is a run for mayor in his hometown of Stamford, Connecticut. For this episode of "Stories with Street CRed," Valentine joins me to discuss the challenges of running a campaign for public office, while also looking back on his past professional life, including his baseball managing career, which had major league stops with the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox in addition to the Mets, and managing in Japan. The always engaging, opinionated and witty Valentine is now hoping to bring everything full circle, and add "Mayor Valentine" to his resume.
August 23, 2021
Interview with former sportswriter Kat O'Brien
Kat O'Brien was in the early stages of her sports journalism career when she was raped by a Major League Baseball player whom she had arranged to interview for a baseball feature for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The rape occurred in a Texas hotel room in 2002, but O'Brien kept the assault secret for almost 20 years, finally making public her story in a New York Times essay published in June of 2021. In the latest "Stories with Street CRed" podcast, O'Brien discusses the global response to her NYT piece, the evolution of sports media since she was part of that field, and changes that can be implemented to make the journalism workplace a safer one going forward.
August 21, 2021
Interview with journalist, author and former sportswriter Steve Kettmann
When ESPN baseball reporter Pedro Gomez died unexpectedly in February, his longtime friend and former Oakland A's beat-writing rival Steve Kettmann set out to develop a book project that would pay tribute to Gomez's life and sports media career. The result is, "Remember Who You Are," a beautiful, moving collection of 62 essays written by everyone from his two sons, Gomez's fellow baseball scribes, and numerous bold face names throughout the sport, players, managers, agents and executives alike. In the latest "Stories with Street CRed" podcast, Kettmann discusses his unique friendship with Gomez and the legacy that the husband and father of three leaves behind.
August 10, 2021
Interview with actor and DJ Erin Blunt on the 45th anniversary of "The Bad News Bears" release
Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal received top billing in the 1976 film classic, "The Bad News Bears," but director Michael Ritchie coaxed great performances out of the group of young unknowns who made up the majority of the rest of the cast, including Erin Blunt, who plays Bears right fielder Ahmad Abdul Rahim. Forty-five years after the movie's release, Blunt joins "Stories with Street CRed" and reflects upon his audition for the Ahmad role, working with Oscar winners Matthau and O'Neal, and why "The Bad News Bears" still resonates all these years later.
April 15, 2021
Interview with former NFL executive Ernie Accorsi
Growing up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Ernie Accorsi had an early, rich sports experience, when the Philadelphia Eagles held training camp there, and where the Wilt Chamberlain-led Philadelphia Warriors trained and played. Accorsi started out as a sportswriter, before being hired by the Baltimore Colts in 1970 as the public relations director, the start of Accorsi's long career in the NFL. In this latest "Stories with Street Cred" podcast, Accorsi discusses his distinguished NFL arc, his childhood memories in Hershey, and his sportswriting experiences, which included an interview with Moonlight Graham, and an exclusive scoop on Chamberlain's trade to the Lakers. Accorsi's last NFL executive post was general manager of the Giants, and perhaps his signature front office move was acquiring quarterback Eli Manning in a draft-day trade with San Diego. Manning, of course, went on to beat Tom Brady twice in the Super Bowl.
January 30, 2021
Interview with legendary photographer Neil Leifer
In a career that has spanned more than 60 years, and which began in an era when film was still used by photographers, Neil Leifer has taken some of the most iconic sports images -- Muhammad Ali glowering over Sonny Liston; Ali and Joe Frazier with promoter Don King; an overhead shot at the Houston Astrodome of the 1966 Ali-Cleveland Williams fight after Williams was KO'd -- when he worked for Sports Illustrated and later Time magazine. In this latest "Stories with Street CRed" podcast, I talk with Leifer about his life and legendary career, and we discuss his latest book, "Leifer. Boxing. 60 years of Fights and Fighters," published by Taschen.
December 19, 2020
Interview with Jana Webb, founder and CEO of Joga
The Toronto-based Jana Webb has been a trailblazer in professional sports and in the strength and conditioning world, and her career path as a fitness expert and the founder of Joga is one that has had several pivots and restarts. But after starting her own company, Webb's success led to TV opportunities -- including a stint on "Real Housewives of Toronto" -- red-carpet events around the world and business partnerships training elite athletes in the NFL, CFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. Webb suffered a near-death car accident in 2016, and in the fallout, she had to begin an arduous rehabilitation and later, the rebuilding of her career. Webb joins the latest "Stories with Street CRed" podcast to tell her inspirational and motivational story.
December 14, 2020
Interview with two former New York Daily News Yankees beat writers - Peter Botte and Anthony McCarron.
Aspiring sports journalists may not be able to fathom a time when there weren't cell phones at your disposal, or when social media didn't exist to post a breaking news nugget. Former New York Daily News colleagues Peter Botte and Anthony McCarron can attest to just such an era, as both were Yankees beat writers when the franchise was in the midst of a dynasty under manager Joe Torre, and when owner George Steinbrenner was still at his blustery best. The New York tabloid rivalry was alive, the back pages ruled, and there was no shortage of pressure and stress on the job. Fasten your seatbelts for a trip back in time.
December 04, 2020
Interview with former Olympic speed skating hopeful Bridie Farrell
Since the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy, social justice advocate Bridie Farrell has worked with former Scouts who may have been victims of sexual abuse. She has raised awareness about different legal options, including how Scout sex abuse survivors can file a bankruptcy claim. Farrell, who is a sex abuse survivor and who founded the non-profit "America Loves Kids," has been a consultant for the law firm Motley Rice, which is handling many of those bankruptcy claims. Farrell also discusses the New York Child Victims Act and some of the other sex abuse scandals, and she hopes that by continuing the national discussion on this issue, other survivors will be encouraged to tell their stories as well.
November 16, 2020
Interview with former Olympic speed skating hopeful Bridie Farrell and reporter Mike O'Keeffe
Bridie Farrell was a teenage Olympic hopeful in short track speed skating when she crossed paths with an older male star of that sport. The relationship became an abusive one, Farrell says, and for years she stayed silent about her ordeal. But after she went public with what she experienced, she became a tireless social justice advocate. In this Part Two of the latest "Stories with Street CRed" podcast, Farrell joins me and reporter Mike O'Keeffe to discuss her story, sex abuse in sports, the challenges covering this issue and the passage of the Child Victims Act in New York State.
October 08, 2020
Interview with investigative reporter Michael O'Keeffe
In the early 2000s, New York Daily News reporter Mike O'Keeffe worked on a series of stories involving Ernie Lorch, the founder of the powerful Riverside Church youth basketball program. Lorch, who died in 2012, had been accused of sex abuse by several former Riverside players. In the first of a two-part podcast, O'Keeffe and I discuss the Lorch case and other sex abuse scandals in sports; the challenges with reporting these kinds of stories and some of the recent milestones for survivors, including the passage of the Child Victims Act in New York State.
October 07, 2020
New York Giants defensive great and two-time Super Bowl champ Leonard Marshall
Leonard Marshall was a second-round pick by the New York Giants in the 1983 draft, and his rookie season coincided with Bill Parcells' first year as head coach of the team. Marshall went on to star for 10 seasons with Big Blue and won two Super Bowl rings as a key player on those great Giants defenses, which were coached by Bill Belichick. Marshall had perhaps his career-defining moment in the 1990 NFC Championship Game, when the Giants played the two-time defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. Marshall crushed Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana in the fourth quarter, paving the way for the Giants' victory and Super Bowl berth against the Buffalo Bills. After 12 seasons in the NFL, Marshall has become a successful businessman, branching out into real estate and becoming an advocate for the cannabis industry.
September 13, 2020
Interview with former NFL player and Super Bowl champion Marvin Washington
Drafted by the New York Jets in 1989, defensive end Marvin Washington played eight seasons for the Jets before ending his NFL career with the 49ers. He was also a member of the 1998 Denver Broncos team that won Super Bowl XXXIII against the Atlanta Falcons. Washington discusses a wide range of topics, including athletes' activism today compared with when he played; what it is like to be an African-American father and to raise children in this country; the 1992 Jets-Chiefs game in which Washington's teammate, the late Dennis Byrd, was paralyzed; and his post-playing days, where he has become a leading voice in the cannabis industry.
August 29, 2020
Al Downing Interview Episode Two
In this two-part "Stories with Street CRed" podcast, I interview former major league pitcher Al Downing, who played for 17 years in the majors. The Trenton, New Jersey-born Downing, a left-hander, began his pro career with the Yankee and played with the likes of Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra. Downing was also Yankee teammates with Elston Howard, the first African-American to play for the Yankees in the years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. At the age of 22, Downing started Game 2 of the 1963 World Series between the Yankees and Dodgers. A year later, Downing would start Game 4 of the 1964 World Series against the Cardinals, and he would also pitch in relief twice during that seven-game series. Downing’s early baseball career overlapped with the civil rights movement and the turbulent ‘60s, and he pitched during an era when there were numerous prominent black pitchers who were the aces of their staff -- Hall of Famers Bob Gibson and Fergie Jenkins, lefty Vida Blue, Blue Moon Odom and Downing to name a few. Downing spent the second half of his career with the Dodgers after brief stops with the Oakland A's and Milwaukee Brewers during the 1970 season. And although Downing had a terrific overall career that included one season of at least 20 wins and a career 123 - 107 record, many baseball fans remember that he was the opposing pitcher on the Dodgers who gave up Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th home run on April 8, 1974, when the Hammer moved past Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list. This interview features Downing's reflections on a wide range of topics, including his early baseball career, the social unrest in the country when Downing played compared with recent events in 2020, and the details surrounding that night in Atlanta when he became part of history.
August 08, 2020
Al Downing Interview Episode One
August 08, 2020
Operation Equine: A Look Back at a Landmark Federal Steroids Investigation
Mark McGwire's and Sammy Sosa's 1998 home run chase was the focus of a recent ESPN documentary, however the film only contained a cursory look at the steroids and performance-enhancing drug links to each former slugger. McGwire would admit to his PED use in 2010 during a televised interview, but his name had surfaced during a landmark federal investigation into steroids trafficking decades earlier, when two Michigan FBI agents carried out Operation Equine from 1989 to 1993. In this interview, those two retired agents, Greg Stejskal and Bill Randall, discuss the origins of the investigation, the hurdles and obstacles they faced at the time, and how the names of McGwire and Jose Canseco first came up during their investigation. I was part of a New York Daily News sports investigative team that covered the Equine case in a series of stories starting in February, 2005, and the exclusive coverage preceded the infamous congressional hearing on steroids and sports where McGwire and Sosa were both witnesses. Equine netted over 70 convictions, and the goal was never to target users. But the case served as a precursor to what was to become of the sports doping landscape.
July 23, 2020