The newest episodes of Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo’s new SiriusXM original podcast – Digging Up The Past – feature Russo and guests looking back at Chris’ 10 best MLB teams that didn’t win a World Series Championship at the end of that season.
Each podcast episode will be devoted to a single memorable season in a franchise’s history, when the team displayed great talent, and excelled in the standings, but ultimately fell short of reaching or winning that year’s World Series, leaving their fans to lament what might have been.
Russo will recap the team’s season and speak with players, managers and executives from those franchises about their memories from that year. Throughout the series, listeners will also hear from Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1992 through 2015, as well as longtime baseball journalists Bob Costas and Tom Verducci.
New episodes will debut every Tuesday and Friday. The first episode, on the 1954 Indians, is available now on the SXM App, Stitcher, Pandora and other podcast platforms: https://www.stitcher.com/show/digging-up-the-past/episode/1954-cleveland-indians-85689061
Future episodes and their debut dates are below.
1954 Indians – available now
Cleveland’s 111–43 record in 1954 set the record for winning percentage by an American League team, but they were swept in the World Series by the New York Giants and would not return to the Fall Classic until 1995. Russo speaks with Rocky Colavito, who was a young star in the Indians minor league system at the time.
2001 Mariners – debuts July 30
Seattle finished with a 116–46 record, tying the major league record for wins, and led the league in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed. The Mariners boasted eight All-Stars on their roster including Ichiro Suzuki, who won multiple awards that year including AL MVP and Rookie of the Year. Despite being one of the most prolific offensive teams in MLB history, the Mariners fell to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Russo talks to Lou Piniella, who won Manager of the Year honors that season, and outfielder Mike Cameron.
1969 Cubs – debuts August 3
Led by Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and manager Leo Durocher, all Hall of Famers, the Cubs held a 75-44 record and a nine-game lead over the second-place New York Mets in mid-August. Some cite fatigue, others bad luck (attributed to a curse and a black cat), but the Cubs would suffer one of the most stunning late season collapses in major league history. They lost 17 games in September to fall behind the Mets, who would go on to win the World Series. Listeners will hear from Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins.
1991 Pirates – debuts August 6
Pittsburgh won 98 games, finished with the best record in the National League, and claimed their second consecutive NL East title. Pitcher John Smiley won 20 games, Bobby Bonilla batted .302 for the season, Barry Bonds hit .292, but the Pirates would lose the National League Championship series to the Atlanta Braves in seven games. Listeners will hear from Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke, who won a Gold Glove for his play in centerfield that season, and former Pirates manager Jim Leyland.
1965 Twins – debuts August 10
The Twins won 102 games in ‘65, still a franchise record. Despite a talented roster that boasted six All-Stars and a Hall of Famer in Harmon Killebrew, the Twins lost to the Dodgers, led by Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, in seven games. Listeners will hear from former Twins greats Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva.
1995 Indians – debuts August 13
In the strike-shortened ’95 season, the Indians won the AL Central Division by an amazing 30 games with a 100-44 record. Slugger Albert Belle led the major leagues in six offensive categories, closer Jose Mesa was runner-up for the Cy Young Award and six players batted over .300 for the season. Yet the Indians would fall to the Atlanta Braves in the World Series in six games. Listeners will hear from former Indians manager Mike Hargrove and first baseman Jim Thome.
1978 Red Sox – debuts August 17
The Red Sox compiled a 57-26 record by the All-Star break and sat atop the AL standings for most of the season yet found themselves tied with the rival New York Yankees after 162 games. Their tie-breaker game would be decided on a home run by an unlikely Yankees hero who would be known forever after as Bucky “F’ing” Dent, and despite having seven All-Stars and the AL MVP in Jim Rice that year, the Red Sox watched the hated Yankees win another World Series. Russo talks to two of the Red Sox All-Stars that year, Fred Lynn and Jerry Remy.
1994 Expos – debuts August 20
Led by a group of rising young stars that included Pedro Martínez, Larry Walker, Moisés Alou, Cliff Floyd and others, the ’94 Expos had the best record in baseball (74-40) when the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike ended the season and with it the team’s postseason aspirations. Russo talks to Walker and Ken Hill, both All-Stars that season, and former GM Dan Duquette, who built the 1994 roster, about one of the greatest “what-could-have-been” teams in baseball history.
1977 Royals – debuts August 24
Kansas City led the majors with 102 wins on their way to their second consecutive AL West title. George Brett and Al Cowens both batted .312 for the season, Cowens had 112 RBI and Hal McRae led the AL in doubles with 54, but the Royals would lose to the Yankees in the ALCS for the second consecutive year. Russo talks to Hall of Famer George Brett and Dennis Leonard, a 20-game winner for the Royals that year.
1993 Giants – debuts August 27
In his first season with the Giants Barry Bonds batted .336, hit 46 home runs, drove in 123 runs and won the National League MVP Award. Starting pitchers Bill Swift and John Burkett won 21 and 22 games, respectively. The Giants won 103 games that season but lost the NL West division title to the 104-win Atlanta Braves, and became the only National League team to win 100 or more games and not make the playoffs in the divisional play era. Giants first baseman Will Clark, who batted .283 that season, shares his memories of that team.
Digging Up the Past, Russo’s first podcast, is a fascinating look back at some of the most significant and compelling events in sports history. With in-depth storytelling and interviews, Russo has entertained and educated his podcast audience on the history of Thanksgiving Day football and the NCAA Tournament. In its’ first season, Digging Up The Past won the Cynopsis Sports Media Award for Best Podcast.