Category Archives: Episodes


The title of my upcoming memoir cites in its title the three guideposts of my life: Friendship, Inquisitiveness and Maturation. This podcast centers on friendship, and the other two facets are naturally involved in talking about friendship. You will hear about three remarkable and talented musicians, although each is different than the others. Each of them are now joined to me in a friendship that in an earlier stage of my life could not have  been imagined. The three men are jazz pianist, composer, and educator, Ran Blake, conductor, educator, and organizer, Benjamin Zander, and longtime Boston Pops conductor, and Boston Symphony violinist, the late Harry Ellis Dickson. Let’s take Ran first.

I met Ran almost twenty years ago in my early years as a writer when I was assigned by Oral History of American Music (OHAM) at Yale University to record a conversation with him about his life. I did that in a way natural to me by approaching Ran as a person rather than a celebrity, and asking him somewhat prying questions another might not, as well as offering my own views as we went along. Ran made no objection, and we conversed easily as two friends might. Our conversation, and another in later years assembling my current book, “Intimate Conversations: Face to Face With Matchless Musicians,” revealed the manifold talents and personal characteristics that make this modest polymath a cultural resource and a warm and generous friend to many. From the start we did become good friends. Through him I entered into a social circle of musicians at the New England Connservatory of Music, including such notables as Eden MacAdam-Somer (who is a chapter in “Intimate conversations”), and Hankus Netsky, co-chairs succeeding Ran at the head of the Improv Department at NEC, Eden’s husband, trombonist, Aaron Hartley, and others. Along the way, Ran and my wife, Lois, became fast friends.

Ben Zander is the opposte of Ran in many ways. While one would never describe Ben as modest, one would have no hesitancy in describing him as a great man. A case in point is his feat of organizing and conducting the now renowned Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. That celebrated assemblage demonstrates Ben’s lifelong commitment to the development of young people as musicians, and as people invested in improving the world around them. Under the same roof is the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, where talented adult musicians find a home. Both orchestras are rated worldwide as excellent. Each has a big following. Combine that with Ben’s many years as a now retired professor at the Conservatory, a best selling author of the book, “The Art of Possibility,” with his former wife Rosamund Zander, and his many contributions to the Boston community, with his incredible youth, and you have a true life story stronger than fiction. Consider that Ben emerged from an amazingly accomplished family, lived in his boyhood years with renowned musicians Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears, and Imogen Holst, and traveled around Europe with world class cellist, Gaspar Cassado! After a slow start, a close friendship sprung up between Ben and me too, as has happened with many of the musicians included in “Intimate Conversations,” all following my approach to them as people, not as icons.

I deem each of them smarter than me, but who among us does not want the hand of friendship held out to them. That can happen on short notice as well, as when I met the elegant and multi-talented, Harry Ellis Dickson, for many years both the Associate Conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, and for forty-nine years a violinist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, following his early stay in Germany, honing his craft and witnessing the rise of Naziism! Harry is the father of Kitty Dukakis, loyal wife of old friend, Michael Dukakis. Harry and I shared some personal words at his bedside minutes after I interviewed him for my TV show, words engendered by how warmly we connected on that show.

Friendship is really the subject of this podcast. It is the idea that approaching anybody in friendship whether he or she is rich, poor, educated or not, black, white or in-between, famous or a genius, or just plain folks, is likely to get a warm reception, and more than likely way more than that.

Listen to this podcast to learn a lot more about these three gentlemen, and the idea of friendship.

People, Always People!


One dicey thing about traveling is the time it takes to get a doctor if you become ill or get hurt. Not for presidents, though. Not for me either. Here’s how that goes down. It is yet another facet of friendship. Guifu Wu is a Chinese name. Indeed Guifu Wu is Chinese. In fact, he is one of the top cardioligists in China, despite his youth. Around 2007 he came to Boston to further his expertise at the Beth Israel Hospital. Guifu also wanted to improve his English speaking. We met because I had signed up to teach English as a second language. We became friends. We spoke of many things. He invited me to China. I accepted and together we visited several cities north and south, and east and west. Many adventures! Not enough space to tell them all. Here is one. In Guilin we had unidentified fish one night. Back at the hotel I broke out in a scaly rash. I looked like a fish. “Am I going to die?,” I asked Guifu. “Let’s wait,” he counseled. Sure enough the rash faded in a few hours under Guifu’s watchful eye. A few years later when the misnomered condition called BENIGN prostate hyperplasia, BPH for short, afflicted me. I was counseled to treat it surgically. Hearing a few horror stories about that operation, I sought out Guifu, now back in Guangzhou (formerly Canton) for his advice. “Have the operation,” he advised in no uncertain terms.

So too did two other doctor friends, Dr. Marinos Charalambous from Cyprus, and Dr. Michaela Schneiderbauer from Germany. Earlier I had met Marinos in Boston when he was seeking a residency in the United States despite his medical education at a medical school in Crete with a mediocre reputation. Recognizing his sincerity and strength of character, we quickly became friends. Marinos got that residency on his own, despite advice from foremost doctors here who opined he would not. He invited me to stay in his family home in ancient Cyprus, and then travel together to the vulcanized Greek isle of Santorini, scenic Crete, and Athens of the Acropolis. Great host, great guy, great doctor, who helped me when I took a few falls on that trip. I consulted Marinos when the BPH struck. Like Guifu he said in no uncertain terms, “Have that surgery.”

So did Michaela, the highly thought of surgical oncologist and loyal friend whom I had met while attending a Handel opera in Boston. A lobby chat about music led to a friendship with a wise, medically talented, thoughtful, and athletically gifted person whose close to six foot frame would likely have carried her to tennis fame had she not chosen another career. All three of those folks are youthful, generous, and warm, with whom lasting friendships were formed almost serendipitously with a touch of chutzpah sprinkled in. Did any president ever have such a terrific medical advisory team? What a life!

And who is that great and caring surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital who transformed me from a dripping faucet into a firehose? That would be the eminent Dr. Shahin Tabatabaei from Tehran, Iran. In follow up visits Shahin became interested in my literary career, telling me on the last visit as we shook hands, he intended to read my book on baseball and American Jews. Maybe the next trip with a personal doc will be with Shahin to Tehran, where his folks still reside, and with whom I would feel very safe indeed in that distant land.

Listen and learn lots more about these fascinating folk.

People, Always people!


As I sit here on February 27,  2021 watching the horrific attack unleashed by Putin on Ukraine, I am thinking of an amazingly peaceful man who can hear “the troops coming out” when he plays the piano. That man is Ran Blake, who plays the piano like no other pianist, speaks like no other person, has a memory like no other person, is like no other person, and is a genius among us, winner of a MacArthur genius grant, and the longtime leader of the Contemporary Improvisation Department at the New England Conservatory of Music. You might think a guy with those chops would be hard to know. Not at all. Easy to know. Easy to love, as many who know him do. Described as the man who wants to “introduce everybody in the world to everybody else,” Ran’s eyes become moist listening to other musicians make music, part and parcel of his own modesty about his own unique talent. You might ask why Ran hears those troops coming out. Because he was caught in  the jaws of the Greek junta in 1967. Later, his great and good friend, American composer and everything else musical, Gunther Schuller, wisely brought him to NEC, where Gunther was then ensconced as President. When the Twin Towers came down on 9/11, within days Ran organized a concert to honor Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin, and the New York firefighters, in which he brought together musical artists from all points of the compass to play indigenous music, including several Muslim countries, to offset the anti-Muslim hatred then raging. Not long before that concert I met and interviewed Ran for the Oral History of American Music Project at Yale University (OHAM). We became immediate friends then to this day. That was easy because Ran was forever supportive as I took up writing as a second career. It might well have been the other way around, but that is not who Ran is. Visiting this “genius” in his modest Brookline apartment is an experience in itself. You might be greeted by his beautiful cat, Dektor, with his pushed in face, huge whiskers, long hair, and leonine appearance. Often his faithful friend, trumpeter, Aaron Hartley, is there to attend to now octogenarian, Ran. Standing tall in the living room is Ran’s grand piano, where he teaches his students. The walls are lined with shelves containing his vast library of musical scores, his long list of his published CD’s, as well as his library of film noir, in which he revels. In fact, Ran and Aaron produce a show based on a classic film noir movie at NEC regularly, featuring an array of Improv students. Visiting Ran he might give you some apple sauce made by an apple sauce maker of renown, my wife, Lois, who brings Ran that treat regularly. Hear about Ran telling of musical soirees long ago at the home of Dorothy Wallace on Chestnut Place in Brookline, where Ran and Gunther would come to commune with their genius brethren, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig Van Beethoven. What, you thought Ran was only a jazzer? Geniuses travel all roads. This genius loves us all.

People, Always People.


How do you get from baseball and other kinds of ball to politics when you’re talking about Paul Epstein. Who is Paul Epstein anyway? Well, Paul is the twin brother of Theo Epstein. You know, the smart GM who brought World Championships to the Red Sox and the Cubs after droughts of close to a century or more. Best GM in history probably. There is always a power behind the throne and here it is Paul to whom Theo always looks up to, not only because he’s taller, maybe more handsome (both are handsome), but because Paul is one helluva guy! When I met him twenty years ago just before I interviewed him on my TV show, I was knocked out by Paul’s magnetic appearance and personality. You’ll hear all about Paul’s’ calling as a social worker in the Brookline schools, how he brought a family with ten kids from Rwanda to live here, his work as a Big Brother nurturing teens to success, and his successful effort to found the Brookline Teen Center where friendships are found, how he got me a photo of Theo playing rock for my baseball book, and his work at the iconic Home for Little Wanderers, where his boss was the beautiful Saskia. Now there was a conflict when Paul started dating his boss. Paul solved that one. You’ll find out how. You’ll also hear how Paul and Theo caused chaos in their teen years batting balls over the “Blue Monster,” playing sewer hockey, gutter ball, tenny ball, and baseball, in the open air, then taking those sports at night into the tighter confines of their apartment, driving their neighbors, the Markells, crazy, along with Mom, Dad, and their sister. Such are the underpinnings of success, which got Jordan and I talking about Paul and Theo’s grandfather, Philip Epstein, and their great-uncle, Julius Epstein, who wrote the screenplay for “Casablanca,” whom many think is the greatest movie ever made. Jordan was surprised I had never seen “Fiddler on the Roof,” (I soon did), which sparked movie buff Jordan asking me why I had rejected movies for a while, then returned to the fold, sometimes with odd but fascinating choices like “Contempt,” with sexpot, Brigitte Bardot. It featured a well remembered true to life twenty-five minute scene which could only have been done in a French movie, of a marriage dissolving before our very eyes, which caused me to exclaim in a falsetto voice as my wife, Lois, and I watched it at home, “This is us!” Well, no marriage is perfect. If you want our take on why movies enchant and beguile us, here is the place. Somehow, while ending up with how Paul and Theo parlayed running amok on Brookline’s playing fields into consummate success as adults, we digress to talk about Representative Jamie Raskin’s keen view from the catbird seat of House Manager of Trump’s second impeachment trial, of threatened American democracy in his best seller, “Unthinkable,”

People, Always People.


I would ask you to read that title two ways, first as to what makes a person a model public servant, and second as to a public servant known to all of us who fits that description. Reading this note and then listening to this podcast about Massachusetts State Treasurer, Deborah Goldberg, will be my attempt to answer that question as an impartial apolitical observer. When I interviewed Deb on TV for my book “Voices of Brookline,” over nineteen years ago on February 6, 2003, as she lovingly held in her arms her small dog “Sawyer,” one more clairvoyant than me might have discerned that day the background and characteristics that have propelled her to her present and long held position as the State Treasurer of Massachusetts: love, family, hometown, civic responsibility, public service, commitment, inventiveness, and more. From that day to this Deb has developed, developed, and developed, and that shows no sign of stopping as she contends for her third term in that office. We will examine more closely from where Deb has emerged. Her mother Carol is a Rabb, a family famous in the state for parlaying a small grocery store in the North End of Boston into the famous chain known as Stop and Shop, under the guidance of the late Sidney Rabb, and that family’s commitment to charity and public responsibility. Carol herself, a woman whose independence and insistence on the right of women to be equal, rose to the be the COO of Stop and Shop. Certainly Carol was a key factor in her daughter’s development. Deb herself credits working as a youngster in a family run market honed her family and public values. Her father, the late Avram Goldberg, himself an astute businessman who became the Chairman and President of the company working in tandem with his wife, was the son of Judge Lewis Goldberg who served an incredible 41 years as a Massachusetts Superior Court Judge. These two families merged their attributes from the time Deb was a little girl. Little wonder she grew up committed to her family, town, and state, aiming at public service “as the right thing to do.” As an exampe of this you’ll hear that when  her mother received a dog as a present, both Carol  and Deb became lovingly attached to that dog, engendering in Deb an empathy for all dog lovers, and a sense that such folks could contribute to Brookline community. Later, as a Selectperson, Deb would support the now well established Green Dog Program which provides a place for dog owners to allow their dogs freedom to exercise, socialize with other dogs, and to themselves make new friends. One of its many venues was the Still Street Playground where JFK and later estimable attorney, Charles Kickham, played ball when they were alter boys at close by Saint Aidan’s Church, now converted into condos. Deb’s passion for that relatively small program shows in all of her public endeavors whether in Brookline or as State Treasurer, and whether the issue is small or large, such as announcing on November 18, 2021 new draft rules that would allow the State Pension Fund, which controls 95.7 billion dollars, to vote against directors of companies that are nor aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement. Certainly that innovative approach to her office marks Deb as a woman who loves her job. When I interviewed Deb back in 2003 she was already alert to the coming changes to be wrought by the so-called Communications Revolution, and whether our values would survive that revolution, Finally my esteemed interlocutor, Jordan Rich asks me whether Deborah Goldberg is a model of what a public servant should be. By now, my answer is a foregone conclusion.

People, Always People.


Let’s take YAZ, Carl Albert Yastrzemski, to be precise. Without his talent, Yaz would be an ordinary guy. With it he is extraordinary, not just as a player, but as the inspiring person he or any of us “ordinary” folks might be. That is why he inspired us. Did Yaz have the natural ability of Ted Williams, or of dozens of other lesser players, like his teammates Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, and Wade Boggs? Probably not. In his first six seasons, Carl was a serviceable player whose home run total reached twenty only one time. Suddenly, in 1967, Yaz led his team to the World Series with one of the greatest seasons ever, winning the Triple Crown (batting average, home runs, and runs batted in), and the MVP, winning forever the respect of everyone. Did it stop there? No. Carl whacked 40 or more homers thrice in the next three seasons, and went on to a remarkable 23 year career that included a multiplicity of batting, fielding, throwing, and team leading exploits which make his moniker, “YAZ,” ring down the baseball ages. That was accomplished by a singular dedication to be the best player he could be, a seriousness of purpose and desire to excel, which made him a role model we all admired, and inspired us to lead a more focused life. Of all players, it may be that Carl Yastrzemski best fit the notion that we identify with ballplayers because of all athletes they most resemble in size and background any one of us. Another player of that ilk is Ian Kinsler who wasn’t picked until the 17th round of the draft several hundred rungs down the ladder, but pulled himself up by his bootstraps a la Yaz to become one of the most prominent players in the American League over a 14 year career, capped by winning a ring with the Red Sox 2018 Championship team. Listen here to my retelling of my interview of the centered Ian in the third base dugout at Fenway Park when he visited here with the Rangers in the midst of a torrid batting streak. That meeting led to my joking offer to Nolan Ryan, then the President of the Rangers, to hire me as a Rangers magic maker for the coming World Series. How about  baseballers off the field like Chaim Bloom, the astute Chief Baseball Officer of the Red Sox, who was the only one who believed me that I witnessed Teddy Ballgame’s 500 foot plus home run in June, 1946, prompting me to write a story about Chaim and Teddy, soon to be published. Another such baseballer is poet, author, playright, Sox Public Address Announcer, and raconteur, the gentle and talented, Dick Flavin, whom I address as “King Richard.” You’ll get to know him here. As you will meet at an event I attended, Mariano Rivera, Bud Selig, and Pat Courtney, Bud’s right hand guy. Not to mention brushing elbows there with Pedro Martinez and Joe Torre. I was also there long ago on that horrific evening when I heard “a sound never to be forgotten,” when Tony Conigliaro got beaned and blinded by an errant fastball. Happier times involved Juan. Marichal, the Cooper brothers, Mort and Walker, the Waner brothers, Paul and Lloyd, Tom Seaver and his long ago predecessor, Christy Mathewson, and the unforgettable Rickey Henderson. They’re all here, so please listen and share.

People, Always People.


Everybody knows Massachusetts is a blue state. It’s been a blue state for a long time. Can anyone explain why that is? Is there anything about baseball as played at Fenway Park that throws light on that puzzle. Let’s go back to late June, 1949 when the Yankees came to to town for a crucial three game series. Joe DiMaggio was set to play his first games of the season, having sat out half the year with a bone spur in his right heel. I was eighteen at the time and attended the first game with my father on a Friday night. Our pitcher was the blinding rookie left hander, Maury McDermott. He didn’t blind Joe who blasted a home run, followed that with two more homers and six RBI on Saturday, and finished the job with another round tripper on Sunday to sweep the Sox out of their minds, stunning the Sox loyals. You would think Sox fandom would aim death threats at DiMaggio. Instead, they cheered him to the rafters, demonstrating a fan characteristic in Bean Town, not in vogue elsewhere then or now, of giving merit its due. The same reaction was shown in a 1958 game I attended when hard throwing Detroit right hander, Jim Bunning, no hit the Sox, and left famous and failed for a day Ted Williams flailing weakly at his slants. That is what one does when a master shows his grit. That is the same Jim Bunning who later pitched a perfect game in 1964 for the Phillies, the first one in the National League since the 19th Century, was later voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and also elected United States Representative and Iater Senator from Kentucky, thus becoming the sole MLB player to be elected to both the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Senate. As a politician, Jim Bunning compiled an eccentric ultra right wing record diametrically opposed to Massachusetts Blue State beliefs. Those accounts seem to be an accurate, albeit anecdotal, answer to why Massachusetts is and has been blue. One thing is for sure. When I get to talk baseball with a true baseball believer like my articulate and informed interlocutor, Jordan Rich, anyone listening is sure to learn a lot about baseball history, the guys who played it, and what that means in the context of our lives. They are all in this episode, from the charming “Little Professor,” Dom DiMaggio, the unfairly maligned, Johnny Pesky, the smooth fielding and the power hitting keystone sacker, Bobby Doerr, and partner in power with Teddy Ballgame, Vern “Shoulders” Stephens, of my youth; the power throwing right fielder, Dwight Evans, Hall of Fame slugger, Jim Rice, smooth center fielder and MVP, Freddy Lynn, elegant infielder and home run threat, Americo “Rico” Petrocelli, and Rick “The Rooster” Burleson of my mid-years; to Nomar, Youk, Dustin, Manny being Manny, brave Jon Lester, and the incredible Mookie, of my later years.

“C’mom along and listen to….”

People,  Always people.


Well not exactly, but I thought so when I met beautiful dark and enchanting Octavia sitting next to me at Fenway Park. At first I thought she might be Cleopatra, but it turned out her husband’s name was Cecil and not Caesar. Cecil who? Cecil Cooper that’s who, a rookie then, but a player who came mighty close to making Octavia’s words that day come true when she said, “My Cecil is going to become a SUPERSTAR!” Plenty of those in Boston Red Sox history, and plenty of them on this podcast like twirling and whirling hurler Luis Tiant, man for all seasons and any situation, Tim Wakefield, a player maybe greater than Ted Williams, known as Big Papi, the one and only David Ortiz, and that colorful, courageous, proud, and unhittable Dominican, Pedro Martinez. I pose the question to myself why is it that these diamond heroes playing a little boys’ game become so important to millions of us. You’ll be interested by my answer. Jordan posed another question to me on how do we know which guys who used PED’s should be admitted to the Hall of Fame, and which guys shouldn’t. You may be surprised by my answer. C’mon along and I’ll tell you what it’s like to sit in one of those luxury boxes high above the field of play. How about Wade Boggs and Manny Ramirez, two of the best hitters ever, and Roger Clemens one of the best pitchers ever?I tell of their exploits here too. Jordan speaks of the almost forgotten Tim Naehring, one of his heroes growing up. How did Pedro’s first game as a Sox cost me over $200, and the threat of dismemberment or divorce. Now that one is a story you don’t want to miss!

People, always people!


The New York Yankees may have won the most pennants and World Series in baseball history, but no team has taught us more about life and how to live it than the Boston Red Sox.

Let’s start with a few facts one needs to know, to know the truth of the above statement. In the early years of 20th Century the Red Sox won every one of the five World Series in which they played, four of those in the teens, the last in 1918, making them the dominant team in that era. In the early years of this century the Red Sox won every one of the four World Series in which they played, in 2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018, making them the dominant team of this era. That is represented on my dresser by four Waterford Crystal etched baseballs made by that iconic company, gifted to me by my baseball loving wife, Lois. In the eighty-six years in between the last of those victories in 1918 and the win in 2004, the Sox suffered a drought which bid fair never to end, a drought often called “The Curse of the Bambino,” a reference to when the Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees to support their owner’s Broadway ambitions. Sure, the Red Sox offered lots of thrills, great players, four AL pennants, many disappointments, and NO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, in those many years, despite taking every one of the four World Series in which they competed in 1946, 1967, 1975, and 1986 to the full seven games. I attended a game in the 1946 Series against the Cardinals which the Sox lost 12-3, a harbinger of their loss in the 7th game aided by the intrepid base-running of Enos Slaughter, and the continuation of Ted Williams’ Series long slump in which he batted a minuscule .200, with nary an extra base hit! Let’s take 1967, the year of the “Impossible Dream,” when Hall of Famer, Carl Yastrzemski’s incredible play won the pennant for his upstart team, and the triple crown and MVP for himself. Carl continued his heroics in the Series, but the team fell victim to the speed of Lou Brock and the power pitching of Bob Gibson who won three games. How about 1975 when Carlton Fisk slammed a walk off homer forever caught by the camera as Fisk willed it fair, to win the sixth game against Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine,” a game often cited as the best game in baseball history. This win made torturous the Sox loss of the seventh game on Joe Morgan’s bloop hit to short center field. Let us not forget 1978 in passing when Bucky “F——-g” Dent, as he has come to be known in these precincts, hit yet another blooper into the net atop the “Green Monster,” to do the Sox out of the AL pennant and the World Series. Or 1986 when Bill Buckner found a way to misplay a LIttle League ground ball to first into a Mets win and World Championship for them. Them, always them, for eighty-six long years, them!

Yes, I lived through a lot of this, from my first game with my Dad in 1935 onward. You can tell yourself that it’s only a game, that it has no real affect on my life. But you know what? We live every moment, whether we’re out there at the game, seeing it on television, or listening to it on the radio. During this podcast, Jordan Rich tells of not being able to sleep after the Buckner game. That is more typical than atypical. It shows how passionately millions of baseball fans are invested in their teams. As I’ve tried to show above, one might truly say Red Sox fans are greatly invested, perhaps the most invested, and certainly the most disappointed fans of all, a feeling lately repeating itself when they lost a playoff series against the Astros they should have won to reach the World Series.

So what does all that have to do with life? I believe that although baseball is not life, it simulates life in its ups and downs, its triumphs and defeats, so that if you are passionately invested in it, and FEEL those ups and downs as they unfold, sometimes often in any single game, it teaches you, mostly subliminally, to deal with life’s ups and downs, the good and bad, as your own life unfolds. One might say that the upside of the downside of baseball is that the true follower grows and becomes a better person. I FEEL that is true!

People, always people!


Who was beautiful Priscilla Howe? What has she got to do with handsome Ted Williams? What do I have to do with either one of these two talented people? You’ll have to wait until the end of this note to get to that part of the story, and listen to the podcast to get the whole story.

Let’s start with something more serious, that being the central place baseball held and still holds in American life, in fact a glue that holds it together, as “Rudy Giuliani The First” reminded us as the Mayor of Gotham, days after the Twin Towers were felled. How stuck the diamond game is to our national culture was yet again shown during the pandemic.

Detroit, home to haters Henry Ford and Father Coughlin, was a hotbed of anti-Semitism in the years before and during WWII, when Henry “Hank” Greenberg, two time AL MVP, played there and demonstrated that Jews were no sissies. This handsome 6’ 4” giant home run champion held off the haters with his fists when necessary, joined the service before Pearl Harbor, rose from the ranks to be a Captain, served four years, returned in 1945 to lead the Tigers to yet another pennant, went on to rise to GM and then part owner of the Cleveland Indians, and crossed the line to help Marvin Miller and the players win free agency! Did “Hankus Pankus,” as he was known, personally support, on the field of play, Jackie Robinson in his quest to break the color line? Yes, he did. Did he nurture his lifelong friend, Ralph Kiner, to be the NL Home Run Champ seven consecutive seasons to become worthy of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame? Yes, he did. Was Hank Greenberg the greatest American Jew of the 20th Century? Arguably, yes he was, as the hero to millions of American Jews in an era when anti-Semitism was rife.

You want to know about the Boston Braves who departed Boston for Milwaukee in 1953 taking away from Boston Hall of Fame stars like the winningest lefty in MLB history, Warren Spahn, feared slugger, Eddie Mathews, and maybe the best MLB player ever, the late “Hank” Aaron, not to mention four time twenty game winner Johnny Sain, who could well be in the Hall of Fame. The Braves had acquired other stars to play in Boston, like Paul and Lloyd Waner, known as “Big Poison” and “Little Poison,” Hall of Famers both, two time NL batting champion, and yet another Hall of Famer, Ernie Lombardi, NL 1948 MVP, Bob Elliott, slugger Wally Berger, and many others. Listen and you shall hear.

You want to know about the woeful NFL Boston Yanks whose main claim to fame is bringing to Fenway Park opposing football superstars like Sammy Baugh, Bob Waterfield. Sid Luckman, and Don Hutson to treat us to gridiron thrills. Listen and you shall hear.

OK, let’s talk about Priscilla Howe. Petite, charming, talented enough as a band singer to appear on the Arthur Godfrey show, and regularly at Boston’s well-known Rainbow Room, impressionable enough to be impressed to take a liking to me to the consternation of the leader of her band, one Sammy Dale, who had a Mickey slipped to me which could have killed me. Listen and you shall hear!

Taking Priscilla to one of Teddy Ballgame’s last games ever late in the 1960 season seemed like a better bet to escape harm. I predicted for Priscilla what Ted was about to do which he promptly did. Listen to what he did! That caused my podcast partner and good friend, Jordan Rich, to say on air, “You really know how to impress a chick,” adding, “Thank you Chuck Estrada, wherever you are.” Who is Chuck Estrada? What is he doing in this story? Listen, and you shall hear:)!

People. Always people!