Tripping through sports history with Von Benko

At the end of every calendar year, a media staple is a reflective look back at the top stories of the past 12 months, the events and personalities that captivated and amused us.

But why stop at one year?

Let George Von Benko take you on a time-machine trip through the last 45 years.

Western Pennsylvania talk-show legend Von Benko’s latest book is a fascinating retrospective of the people who have paused in front of his microphone. A rare insight into the top sports newsmakers, both local and national, of the last half-centiury.

Simply titled “Sports Talk,”  it is a 152-page eavesdrop into history.

Von Benko’s approach is as simple as it is compelling: Transcriptions of his interviews with 32 sports legends. preceded with straightforward introductions that summarize his subjects’ careers and updates their current whereabouts.

You know all the names — Harvey Haddix to Jerry West to Terry Bradshaw to Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr — but you will learn new insights into their iconic moments and what made them tick.

One teaser, as an example: Did you know that when Haddix authored the “Greatest Game Ever Pitched,” his 12 perfect innings on May 26, 1959 in Milwaukee, not only did he do it against a Braves lineup including seven .300 hitters. but they all knew every pitch he threw?

Yep, in an interview conducted on the 30th anniversary of that singular gem, Haddix admitted that many years later a member of those Braves confessed that they were stealing the catcher’s signs in the bullpen. And they still couldn’t hit The Kitten.

Anyway, you get the idea. If you want to take a trip through sports history, pack your nostalgia and Von Benko’s book, available in shops throughout the Tri-State area. And happy travels.


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