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Historical Hot Stove
by Bruce Markusen
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Cooperstown Confidential - Regular Season Edition - 08/07/2003

Where Are They Now? The 1973 Oakland A’s

At their 30th reunion, two members of the 1973 Oakland A’s found themselves engaged in some mild verbal warfare. Not surprisingly, one of the combatants was Reggie Jackson, now a Yankee employee and a man not impressed by the current A’s’ lack of fundamentals. When Jackson explained that the current Yankees have the most talent, another member of the ’73 A’s fired back. Ray Fosse, now a color commentator in Oakland, pointed out that the A’s are doing pretty well despite not having the $180 million payroll brandished by the Yankees.

In many ways, nothing has changed from 30 years ago. Those A’s players fought amongst themselves when they were teammates, so it should come as no surprise that they’re continuing to fight now as members of enemy camps. The give-and-take between Fosse and Jackson added some spice to a memorable event at the Oakland Coliseum (Network Associates Coliseum), where the A’s honored the accomplishments of their 1973 predecessors.

In addition to Reggie and Ray, several other alumni attended the event, including second baseman Dick Green, left fielder Joe Rudi, center fielder Billy North, pitchers Ken Holtzman and John “Blue Moon” Odom, and underrated manager Dick Williams. (Vida Blue was a last-minute scratch and Rollie Fingers was a curious absence.) They all wore Kelly green jerseys, which would have pleased Charlie Finley, the architect of both the championship team and the unique color scheme of the 1970s. Oh, if only Finley could have been around for the reunion; the barbs and sparks truly would have flown freely, just as they did for much of the early seventies in the Bay Area.

So what exactly happened three decades ago, as the A’s set about to repeat their first World Championship of 1972? In spite of constant roster turnover, a revolving door of second baseman, a mid-season heart attack suffered by Finley, and a circus of controversy constantly swirled by the owner and his players, the A’s won their third straight American League West title and their second consecutive pennant on the way to a return trip to the World Series. After falling behind, three games to two, to the upstart New York Mets of Buddy Harrelson, Rusty Staub, and Tom Seaver, the “Swingin’ A’s” rallied behind the home-run hitting of Bert “Campy” Campaneris (a surprise) and Jackson (not such a surprise) to capture their second consecutive World Championship.

The fortunes of the 1973 A’s have varied in the years that have passed since their World Series triumph. Many of the A’s have enjoyed successful careers in baseball, either in the front office or on the coaching lines; others have encountered their share of problems, legal and otherwise. Three players have gained enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. Three of the players on the ’73 A’s have died (including Gonzalo Marquez, who was traded in the middle of the season), while another remains seriously ill with an incurable disease. In 1996, the club’s colorful and controversial owner, the incomparable Charles Oscar Finley, succumbed to heart disease at the age of 77.

Baseball is now “Beane Ball” in Oakland, but the “Swingin’ A’s” of Finley deserve their share of remembrance. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of post-Oakland fortunes for many of the players on the 1973 World Series championship team:

Ray Fosse (Catcher): In 1974, Fosse tried to play peacemaker between Reggie Jackson and Billy North, only to suffer an injured back and neck in the process. Still, “The Mule” returned to play in the ’74 Series, as the A’s completed their trifecta of world titles. Fosse then played one more season in the Bay Area before being sold to the Cleveland Indians in December of 1975. He spent brief tenures with the Seattle Mariners and Milwaukee Brewers before retiring in 1979. As one of the 1973 A’s still affiliated with the organization, Fosse serves as a color commentator on Oakland’s broadcasting crew—and as a defender of the team’s current status as a legitimate American League title contender.

Gene Tenace (Catcher-First Baseman): An underappreciated player during his career, the patient, power-hitting Tenace left the A’s as a free agent after the 1976 season, signing a multi-year contract San Diego Padres. After three mostly disappointing seasons in southern California, Tenace played out the string as a part-timer with the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates before retiring and eventually becoming a coach with the Houston Astros. Tenace later worked a stint as a coach for the Toronto Blue Jays. In 1999, Tenace joined the Boston Red Sox’ organization as a minor league hitting coach. In 2002, Tenace returned to the Cardinals’ organization as a roving minor league hitting instructor. During the offseason, the soft-spoken Tenace resides in Redmond, Oregon.

Dick Green (Second Baseman): The slick-fielding Green returned to play one more season in Oakland, helping the A’s win a third consecutive title with a stellar defensive World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. (He nearly won Series MVP honors despite an 0-for-13 string at the plate against Dodger pitching.) Although he made an annual ritual of announcing his retirement only to change his mind, he decided to call it quits for good after earning his third World Championship ring in 1974. In his post-playing days, Green operated a moving company in Rapid City, South Dakota, which he eventually sold to his partner. Green is now retired, but continues to live in Rapid City.

Bert Campaneris (Shortstop): The daring speedster remained the mainstay of Oakland’s middle infield for the next three seasons. Like many other A’s stalwarts, he left the team after the 1976 season to sign a free agent contract with the Texas Rangers. He later spent time with the California Angels, and after a one-year stint in the Mexican League, played his final major league season with the Yankees in 1983. (There he was “reunited” with manager Billy Martin, who had once tried to throttle Campaneris for throwing his bat at one of his Detroit Tigers pitchers, Lerrin LaGrow.) Campy retired with a total of 649 stolen bases and nearly 1,200 runs scored. A native of Cuba, the well-conditioned Campaneris now lives in Arizona and often participates in Old-Timers’ games around the country. He is an active member of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and often takes part in charity golf tournaments.

Sal Bando (Third Baseman): Prior to the 1977 season, the A’s’ captain and third baseman signed a free agent contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, his last major league team. He retired after the 1981 season, having hit 242 home runs during a 16-year career. In his post-playing days, Bando served as the Brewers’ general manager until he was fired in 1999. He is now out of organized baseball, but remains active in business, serving on the boards of two companies in Milwaukee. Intelligent and outspoken, Bando splits his time between Wisconsin and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Ted Kubiak (Utility Infielder): After earning a third World Series ring as Oakland’s chief utilityman in 1974, Kubiak left the A’s in the 1975 trade with the Padres that brought veteran pitcher Sonny Siebert to Oakland. He wrapped up a 10-year career by playing 96 games for the Padres in 1976. In an interesting twist, Kubiak married the daughter of Irv Noren, who was one of the A’s coaches during their glory years. After his playing days, the likable Kubiak became a minor league manager in the Cleveland Indians’ organization. He left the Indians for one season to work as a minor league skipper for the St. Louis Cardinals, but returned in 2003 to serve as manager for Cleveland’s New York-Penn League team in Mahoning Valley. A fan of the game’s history, Kubiak visits the Hall of Fame on an almost annual basis and frequently does research in the Hall’s Library.

Mike Andrews (Backup Second Baseman): After the World Series debacle in which Finley tried to fire Andrews for making two errors in Game Two, the unforgiving owner placed the veteran infielder on waivers, the first step in giving him his release. Finley refused to let Andrews’ exit go at that; he insulted Andrews by quoting baseball’s waiver rules in an interview with The Sporting News. “Any team that wants him can have him for $1.”Andrews insisted that his arm and shoulder felt fine. A Boston doctor confirmed Andrews’ positive feelings about the shoulder, saying that he found nothing physically wrong with the arm. Andrews did admit, however, that he had developed a mental block that affected his throws to first base. In spite of the problem, he believed he could play a capable first base while still hitting major league pitching. Andrews contacted 22 of the 24 major league teams, but none of the clubs offered him as much as a tryout… In the aftermath of his release, and Finley’s embarrassing $1 crack, Andrews received an invitation to appear on the Dick Cavett Show, but still no interest from any of the ballclubs. After sitting out the 1974 season completely, Andrews would play one unproductive season in the Japanese leagues before retiring… The classy Andrews has maintained his ties to the Boston area and has served as one of the leading forces behind the Jimmy Fund, the Red Sox’ official charity.

Joe Rudi (Left Fielder): Like many of Oakland’s best players, Rudi left the Bay Area as a free agent after the 1976 season. He signed a contract with the California Angels, and after an unproductive 49-game stint with the Boston Red Sox, finished out his career in Oakland in 1982. By the estimates of some scouts, he was the finest defensive left fielder of his era. After his playing days, Rudi coached briefly with the A’s, but has generally kept a low baseball profile while living in the Northwest. In recent years, Rudi sold his working ranch to former Oakland player and teammate Carney Lansford. Rudi and his wife, Sharon, now live in Baker, Oregon, on a fulltime basis and work as real estate agents. Regarded as one of baseball’s truly nice guys, “Gentleman Joe” also does some coaching at the amateur level.

Billy North (Center Fielder): The switch-hitting North remained a member of the “green and gold” through the early stages of the 1978 season. After nearly trading him to the Yankees for Mickey Rivers, the A’s dealt North to the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder Glenn Burke, who became famous as baseball’s first admittedly gay player. In 1979, North signed a free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants, but he struggled to regain his Oakland form and saw his career come to an end in 1981. He now works as a financial planner in the state of Washington.

Reggie Jackson (Right Fielder): Convinced that he could not re-sign Jackson, Charlie Finley traded the All-Star outfielder (and pitcher Ken Holtzman) to Baltimore for outfielder Don Baylor and pitchers Mike Torrez and Paul Mitchell in what turned out to be one of the worst trades in the history of the Oakland franchise. After a lone season in Baltimore, Jackson signed a free agent contract with the Yankees, helping the team to consecutive World Championships. In 1982, “Mr. October” signed a free agent deal with the Angels. Five years later, Jackson returned to the Bay Area to finish out his playing career. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1993, Jackson now works as a consultant and spring training instructor for the Yankees. His relationship with the A’s has become tenuous, one of the factors contributing to Oakland’s unwillingness to retire his uniform No. 9.

Deron Johnson (Designated Hitter): The A’s released the likable but aging slugger, who had fallen into a bad slump, in the middle of the 1974 season. “DJ” signed a contract with the Brewers before moving on to the Red Sox, the White Sox, and the Red Sox again. Johnson played three games for Boston in 1975 but was ineligible for the playoffs and World Series that fall. Johnson finished out his career by playing 15 unproductive games for the Red Sox in 1976. After his retirement, he became a hitting coach with the Angels. In 1992, the heavy-smoking Johnson succumbed to lung cancer, becoming the first key member of the ’73 A’s to pass away. He was only 53.

Jesus Alou (Backup Outfielder): Finley released Alou prior to Opening Day in 1975, even though he was in the midst of a terrific spring at the plate. He signed on with the Mets, sat out the next two big league seasons, and finished out his major league career with the Astros in 1978 and ‘79. The youngest of the famed Alou brothers, Jesus now works for the Florida Marlins in scouting the Dominican Republic.

Billy Conigliaro (Backup Outfielder): The brother of onetime Boston Red Sox star Tony Conigliaro, “Billy C” appeared in 48 games for the A’s in 1973, but his season was curtailed by a severe injury to his right knee. The injury mandated two knee operations, which forced Conigliaro into a comeback mode in the spring of 1974. After the A’s signed track star Herb “Hurricane” Washington in March and committed a roster spot to the game’s first “designated runner,” Conigliaro was given his unconditional release in the spring. He never appeared in another major league game and has remained out of organized baseball since his playing days.

Vic Davalillo (Backup Outfielder): In spite of the key bench role that Davalillo played in the 1973 Championship Series against the Orioles, the A’s released the little-used backup in the middle of the 1974 season. He played the next few seasons in the Mexican League before signing on with Tommy Lasorda’s Dodgers during the 1977 pennant race. Filling a role as a pinch-hitter, the ageless Davalillo played three more seasons at Chavez Ravine before returning to the Mexican League. “Little Vic,” who has been out of organized baseball since his playing days, lives in his native Venezuela.

Angel Mangual (Backup Outfielder): Once dubbed the “Little Roberto Clemente” because of his physical resemblance to the Pirates’ superstar, Mangual never matched the promise of his rookie season in 1971. Still, the native Puerto Rican remained with the A’s as a part-time player until 1976, when the team released him to make room for the late Cesar Tovar. In 1997, Mangual’s post-baseball fortunes turned sour when he was arrested on charges of drug trafficking.

Jim “Catfish” Hunter (Starting Pitcher): The Oakland ace became baseball’s first real free agent in 1974, when arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled that Finley’s failure to make an insurance payment made Hunter’s contract null and void. “The Cat” signed a lucrative five-year deal with the Yankees, his last team. Retiring after the 1979 season, the laid back Hunter returned to farming in his post-pitching days. In one of the pinnacles of his career, he entered the Hall of Fame in 1987. Unfortunately, Hunter’s post-playing days also met with misfortune. First, he was diagnosed with diabetes. Then in 1998, Hunter learned that he was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a fatal illness that affects the nervous system. The likable Hunter died on September 9, 1999, less than a year after learning of the diagnosis.

Vida Blue (Starting Pitcher): In 1977, Finley dealt Blue to the rival Giants for seven players, none of whom panned out over the long haul. Blue later pitched for the Kansas City Royals before returning to San Francisco. Although Blue compiled a lifetime record of 209-161, his career was also sidetracked by drug problems, which included a suspension by Major League Baseball. After an aborted spring training comeback with Oakland in 1987, Blue retired from pitching. He currently works for the Giants as a community representative while living in Sonora, California.

Ken Holtzman (Starting Pitcher): An underrated part of the A’s’ rotation during their championship run, Holtzman left the Bay Area as part of the Reggie Jackson blockbuster with the Orioles. After tenures with the O’s, Yankees and Chicago Cubs—and with 174 career wins and four World Series rings to his credit—he left the game in 1980. Currently a resident of Chesterfield, Missouri, Holtzman went to work as an insurance salesman before becoming an investment banker. He also does work for a local Jewish community center.

John “Blue Moon” Odom (Starting Pitcher): This talented but inconsistent right-hander, who struggled with injuries in 1973, failed to bounce back with the A’s. Bothered by arm troubles and lack of use at the start of the 1975 season, Odom left the A’s in a mid-season trade that sent him to the Indians for pitchers Dick Bosman and Jim Perry (Gaylord’s brother). Blue Moon pitched only three games for the Tribe—clashing with Indians manager Frank Robinson—before being dispatched to the Atlanta Braves. He finished his career with the Chicago White Sox the following summer. After his retirement, Odom struggled to overcome a series of struggles, including financial debt and severe depression. Now recovered, Odom is an active member of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, often participating in the organization’s fund-raising golf tournaments. Odom now resides in Fountain Valley, California.

Dave Hamilton (Starting Pitcher-Relief Pitcher): This young left-hander never fulfilled the promise he showed during his early days in an Oakland uniform. He departed the A’s in the middle of the 1975 season, traded to the White Sox as part of the Chet Lemon-for-Stan Bahnsen deal. Hamilton pitched mostly in long relief for the White Sox, Cardinals, and Pirates before returning to the A’s in 1979. After he struggled in 1980, the A’s sent Hamilton to the minor leagues, where he finished his career. Hamilton now lives in San Ramon, California, splitting his time between coaching high school baseball and working as a project manager for a roofing contractor.

Darold Knowles (Relief Pitcher): An effective set-up and middle-inning reliever, Knowles left the A’s after the 1974 season, when they sent him to the Cubs as part of the trade that brought Hall of Famer Billy Williams to the Bay Area. The well-traveled left-hander later spent time with the Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos, and Cardinals. After his retirement, Knowles worked for the Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies as a major league coach. He later served as pitching coach for the Clearwater Phillies, one of Philadelphia’s Class-A minor league affiliates, before joining the Pirates’ organization as a pitching coach for their Triple-A team in Nashville. Knowles continues to live in Clearwater during the offseason.

Paul Lindblad (Relief Pitcher): After being sold to the Rangers in 1977, Lindblad finished his playing career by pitching seven games for the World Champion Yankees in 1978. Sadly, his post-playing days have been among the most unfortunate of the ’73 A’s. Lindblad is now in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, which he has battled for a number of years. He continues to live in a nursing care facility in Texas.

Horacio Pina (Relief Pitcher): The side-arming Pina pitched well for the A’s in 1973, but Finley mysteriously traded him to the Cubs for Bob Locker, a much older relief pitcher who would soon break down physically and would never pitch another game for the A’s. From Chicago, Pina spent some time with the Angels and Phillies before becoming a standout pitcher in the Mexican League. The individual highlight of Pina’s career came on July 12, 1978, when he hurled a perfect game for Aguascalientes of the Mexican League. Pina faced the minimum 27 batters in defeating Mexico City, 3-0… Remaining out of organized baseball since his playing days, Pina and his whereabouts have become somewhat of a mystery.

Rollie Fingers (Relief Pitcher): After participating in one more Bay Area World Championship, Oakland’s relief ace opted for free agency in 1976. He signed a multi-year contract with the Padres, thereby maintaining his connection to batterymate Gene Tenace. Fingers later joined the Brewers in a massive trade, helping the team to its only World Series appearance in 1982. Fingers ended his career in 1985, later foregoing an offer from the Cincinnati Reds because of their policy that barred players from growing mustaches or beards. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992, Fingers still sports the trademark handlebar mustache that makes him one of the most recognizable of all the 1970s A’s. A fulltime resident of Las Vegas, Fingers continues to make national appearances at autograph and card shows.

Major League Morsels

Some of the reporting and commentary that emerged during the recent trading deadline bordered on the embarrassing, full of factual errors, shoddy analysis, and wishful thinking… On WFAN’s “Mike and the Mad Dog Show,” Mike Francesca repeatedly lambasted the Yankees for their “summer rental” of Aaron Boone, claiming that they should never have given up their top prospect for a player who can be a free agent after this season. There was one major problem with that analysis: Boone is not eligible for free agency until after the 2004 season, meaning that the Yankees control his services for the next year and two months... On ESPN, Harold Reynolds questioned the Yankees’ decision to acquire Boone, asking why they acquired a third baseman when they didn’t need one. Based on Ventura’s performance last year, I would have agreed with Reynolds, but not this summer. Ventura’s lack of production at the plate, along with the continued slump of Raul Mondesi, was one of the main reasons the Yankees’ inconsistent offense has been strapped to a rollercoaster most of the mid-summer… One national media outlet, ESPN, and at least one radio station claimed that the Pirates had dealt outfielder Reggie Sanders to the Royals on the day of the deadline, when in fact no such trade was made. Sanders might still be dealt if he clears waivers, but that’s another story… On another front, the continued lavishes of praise for A’s general manager Billy Beane reached sickening proportions. Several internet pundits gave their standard seal of approval to Beane’s latest move, which involved acquiring Jose Guillen (in the midst of a career year) from the Reds for three minor league pitchers. They failed to emphasize that Guillen has had a terrible walk-to-strikeout ratio (63 to 17 while with Cincinnati), making him exactly the kind of player that Beane and his followers have devalued in recent seasons. As one scout put it, Guillen looks like a “young Raul Mondesi.” If White Sox general manager Kenny Williams or Royals chieftain Allard Baird had made a similar deal for Guillen, the criticism likely would have been relentless. Yet, it’s unfortunately reached a stage where Beane can do little wrong in the biased eyes of those who preach the same philosophy that he does… Speaking of Beane, there were few mea culpas from the media after he did manage to make a major trade at the deadline. Many writers had predicted that Beane would not be able to swing any significant deals this season in the aftermath of his pompous putdowns of other general managers in Moneyball, but few scribes admitted to being wrong about that assertion… As with Beane, the blanket approval of Theo Epstein’s many trades strikes me as more than a little suspicious. I can understand the praise for the acquisitions of Scott Williamson and Scott Sauerbeck—and yes, those were excellent trades—but the pickup of so-so starter Jeff Suppan deserves a different appraisal. Epstein may rue the day that he traded his best high-level prospect, hard-hitting infielder Freddy Sanchez, for a starting pitcher who has been enjoying a career season after a career of mediocrity. Suppan, who has a history of pitching poorly at Fenway Park, will now have to deal with the deeper lineups of the American League while also pitching under the kind of pressure that was absent in both Pittsburgh and Kansas City… All that said, and despite the protestations of the New York Times’ William Rhoden, I love the trading deadline!… One more note on Epstein: he made a nice pickup in claiming David McCarty off waivers from the A’s. Unlike Kevin Millar and David Ortiz, McCarty is an excellent defensive first baseman, something the Red Sox could use in the late innings of close games. McCarty also hits reasonably well against left-handed pitching, always a nice trait to have at Fenway Park… I have to confess that I’ve never seen his television show, but Bernie Mac has nonetheless become one of my favorite comedians. That’s because he recently told Sports Illustrated that his idol was Roberto Clemente. Mac, by the way, is currently filming a baseball movie called Mr. 3000. It’s not about Clemente, but about a fictional character who decides to make a belated comeback when he realizes that he actually fell short of reaching the 3,000-hit club.

Hall of Fame Handbook

For the first time in years, Pete Rose did not make himself a part of Hall of Fame Weekend, bypassing the opportunity to sign autographs on Cooperstown’s Main Street on Induction Sunday. The reason? According to multiple Cooperstown sources, Commissioner Bud Selig asked Rose not to attend, so as not to upstage the induction of Gary Carter and Eddie Murray, and to perhaps curry favor with Major League Baseball in his quest for reinstatement. Rose complied with the agreement, but it remains to be seen whether his Cooperstown absence will help his chances of reinstatement. Selig received plenty of negative feedback from the Hall of Famers about the possibility of Rose becoming eligible for Cooperstown election.

Pastime Passings

George Maloney (Died on July 29 in Barstow, California; age 75): A minor league umpire evaluator at the time of his death, Maloney worked as an American League arbiter from 1969 to 1983. In one of the highlights of his major league career, Maloney served on the umpiring crew for the classic 1975 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds. Maloney also worked three American League Championship Series and three All-Star games… Maloney passed away while traveling by car from his home in southern California to supervise umpires in the Northwest and Pioneer leagues.

Norm McRae (Died on July 28 in Garland, Texas; age 55; cancer): McRae’s claim to fame was his inclusion on the blockbuster trade that sent Denny McLain from the Detroit Tigers to the Washington Senators. In the deal, McRae joined McLain, infielder Don Wert, and outfielder Elliott Maddox in heading to the Senators for infielders Eddie Brinkman and Aurelio Rodriguez and pitchers Joe Coleman and Jim Hannan. The deal turned out to be a disaster for the Senators, as McLain failed to regain his Tiger brilliance in Washington, Wert and Maddox proved disappointments, and McRae never again appeared in the major leagues. McRae moved on to the Mexican League, where he pitched from 1972 to 1981 before becoming a coach in the league for four seasons. A right-handed pitcher, McRae had pitched respectably in two seasons for the Tigers, posting an ERA of 3.15 in 34 innings. He finished his big league career without a save or a decision in 22 appearances.

Dottie Stolze (Died on July 19 in Alameda, California; age 80): Stolze was a veteran of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, making her professional debut as a shortstop for the Muskegon Lassies in 1946. An extremely versatile player, Stolze played every position on the diamond except for pitcher. After retiring from the Peoria Red Wings in 1952, Stolze became a physical education teacher and softball coach.

Eddie Chandler (Died on July 6 in Las Vegas, Nevada; age 81): A member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chandler pitched in only one season, coinciding with Jackie Robinson’s major league debut in 1947. In 15 games, the right-handed Chandler posted an ERA of 6.37 and lost his only decision.

Pete Sivess (Died on June 1 in South River, New Jersey; age 89): This tall right-hander pitched in 62 games for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1936 to 1938. He forged a record of 7-11 and an ERA of 5.38.

Lefty Sloat (Died on April 18 in St. Paul, Minnesota; age 84): A two-year veteran of the major leagues in the 1940s, Sloat posted an ERA of 6.61 in nine games with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. Prior to his big league tenure, Sloat served in World War II.

Bruce Markusen is the author of three books on baseball, including the award-winningA Baseball Dynasty: Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s (ISBN number 1-878282-23-9), which is available at and at many major bookstores, including Borders Books. Markusen, who has also written The Orlando Cepeda Story and Roberto Clemente: The Great One, appears regularly with host Billy Sample on Radio ( each Friday from 12 noon to 1:00 pm Eastern time.

by Bruce Markusen


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