Episode 7. John Wesley Donaldson: American baseball’s (almost) forgotten GOAT

John Donaldson played professional baseball for 33 years, racking up 413 wins as a pitcher – more (verifiable) wins than anyone in American professional baseball history except Cy Young and Walter Johnson. His 5,000-plus career strikeouts are topped only by Nolan Ryan, and Donaldson’s career highlights also include some 14 no-hitters and *two* perfect games.

So how come you’ve never heard of him…?

On this episode of Truly The GOATs, John Donaldson Network founder Peter Gorton tells host Os Davis of the incredible exploits of an African-American left-handed power pitcher who was a good century ahead of his time. And if you think you know baseball history, get ready to enter an entirely different universe of barnstorming teams, local rivalries and year ’round schedules that was the average American’s experience of the national pastime before World War II – and Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers…

Truly the GOATs: Reassessing sports history in the 21st century.

Additional music for this episode includes a sample of an arrangement of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” by Booby Howe. The song “Once Upon a Time” by Audiobinger is via FreeMusicArchive.org.

Episode 6. Raiden vs Hakuho vs Sumo history vs Internationalization

A sport that can trace roots 3,000 years back and has a solid 3½ centuries’ worth of stats – now we’re talking some true Greatest of All-Time athletes!

In fact, this episode is devoted to two GOATs and their ancient yet steadily evolving sport, sumo. First up is quite possibly the greatest athlete of the 18th century – a time when most “Western” sports were at least a half-century away from embryonic. His name was Raiden, and he compiled a winning percentage that may be untouchable in all of combat sports. Raiden stood as the undisputed GOAT for a good 200 years.

Until Hakuho showed up at the dawn of the 21st century. What does it take for any athlete to overcome a legend over two centuries old? As skeptical as Truly The GOATs is about crowning living athletes the GOAT, there’s a hell of a case to be made for Hakuho.

Joining this episode of Truly The GOATs are Andrew Freund, director of USA Sumo, and Dr. Dennis Frost, director of East Asian Studies at Kalamazoo College. Together with host Os Davis, the discussion runs to both legendary wrestlers, the times in which they plied their sport and the trimillenia history of sumo, one of humanity’s great sports.

Truly the GOATs: Never afraid to compare the all-time greats.

Additional music for this episode provided by Eric Taylor Music, Yakov Gorman, Audiotoolz, and Action Davis. Tracks for the latter three made possible by FreeMusicArchive.org.

BONUS: Michael Jordan and the Space Jam

Between two Chicago Bulls NBA championship threepeats came one of Michael Jordan’s greatest triumphs: Space Jam, the GOAT epic quasi-autobiographical cartoon science-fiction basketball movie.

With ESPN’s 10-part series The Last Dance in our collective rearview mirror, Truly The GOATs host and sometime film critic Os Davis together with his former colleague in European basketball podcasting, David Hein. Dave, a sports journalist and native of Chicago, guested on Truly the GOATs episode 5, in which we reviewed The Last Dance, inevitably dissecting the myth of MJ, those Bulls and the mighty Dream Team of 1992.

On this bonus episode of Truly The GOATs, Os digs into the personal archive to bring you this remastered review of Space Jam from a 2013 episode of the Taking The Charge podcast, including some predictions about a film production being discussed back then called Space Jam 2. (Warning: References to Lebron’s Miami Heat and “The Harlem Shake” may induce flashbacks.)

Truly the GOATs: We got a real jam going down…

Episode 5. Michael Jordan and the Last Dance

Everybody else is talking about it, so why can’t we?

With the coronavirus pandemic keeping most major professional leagues closed – Korean Baseball Organization notwithstanding – much of sports fandom worldwide is tuning into ESPN’s documentary series The Last Dance featuring basketball GOAT Michael Jordan. And whereas Truly The GOATs is based on a wide view of sports history, COVID-19 has schedules everywhere tied in knots, and ours is no exception.

So TTG host Os Davis welcomes his former podcast co-host/-producer and Germany-based sports journalist David Hein to talk the 10-part series, those 1990s Chicago Bulls, the (literally) game-changing Dream Team and of course Michael Jordan himself. (In short, as European basketball fans, more on Toni Kukoc would be awesome, ESPN…)

Truly the GOATs: Still taking MJ over Lebron in *that* argument…

Episode 4. The Other Babe

You’d think that earning three-American basketball team nods plus one national team championship, winning the national Olympic trials as a one-person team and winning more tournaments than any golfer except Tiger Woods would earn an American athlete a spot in the cultural consciousness forever – or at least 75 years or so.

On this episode of Truly the GOATs, we’ve got the story of Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, quite probably the greatest female athlete ever and certainly the most naturally gifted. Host Os Davis is joined by W.L. Pate, president of the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum and its concomitant foundation. Further helping compose the story are excerpts from Babe’s autobiography and contemporary reportage.

Babe Didrikson Zaharias’s autobiography This Life I Have Led is in the public domain and may be downloaded for free at TrulyTheGOATs.com/babebio or just click here.

Episode 3. Angelo “King Kong” Mosca, Greatest Heel of All-Time (Part 2)

By 1963, Angelo Mosca had already established himself as one of the Canadian Football League’s premier defensive lineman and was gaining ever-greater popularity in some of Canada’s regional wrestling associations. But thanks to a single play in that year’s Grey Cup championship game, Mosca ascended to new heights (or perhaps descended to new depths) as one all-time classic heel – and 48 years later, the star of the most popular CFL-related video on YouTube…

In this second part of our two-part episode on Angelo Mosca, Truly the GOATs host Os Davis is again joined by CFL podcasters Travis Currah (2 And Out) and Josh Smith (Podskee Wee Wee) to tell the story of one classic bad guy – not to mention one classic badass.

Episode 3. Angelo “King Kong” Mosca, Greatest Heel of All-Time (Part 1)

Not only is Angelo “King Kong” Mosca celebrated as one of the Canadian Football League’s most outstanding defensive linemen ever with eight Grey Cup appearances to his credit, not only was a seminal figure in the early rise of the then-World Wrestling Federation in the 1980s, he also holds unique status as an all-time great heel in both sports – if we’re willing to call professional wrestling a sport…

On this episode of Truly the GOATs, host Os Davis is joined by CFL podcasters Travis Currah and Josh Smith to tell the story of one classic bad guy — not to mention one classic badass — Angelo Mosca.

Episode 2. Flamma the Gladiator

You want to talk great athletes? How about those who literally lived, trained and died their sport? The gladiators were such and Flamma may have been the greatest of them all.

In this episode of Truly the GOATs, host Os Davis is joined by academic and author Philip Matyszak to tell the story of Flamma, likely the winningest gladiator ever, and the strange subculture of sporting events in second-century AD Rome.

Episode 1. Jim Thorpe: Legend of 20th-century sports

Jim Thorpe was the international sensation of the 1912 Olympic Games and the NFL’s first superstar — among the crazily long list of his legendary accomplishments — but is history forgetting him?

On this episode of Truly the GOATs, host Os Davis tells the story of the 20th century’s greatest athlete along with special guest Justin Lehhart, curator at the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. And if you’ve got only passing knowledge of the man, you’re certain to be surprised.