IOWA CITY, Iowa - We normally focus on University of Iowa athletics during the Allhawkeyes radio show and podcast, which is obvious by the title of the show.
But we made an exception on Wednesday, although, there was a Hawkeye connection to it.
Our guest was former major league pitcher Steve Stone, who now works as a television color commentator for the Chicago White Sox, and previously had the same role for the Chicago Cubs.
Stone talked about his illustrious career in baseball, which has spanned almost seven decades, and about the surreal times we’re currently experiencing due to the spread of the Coronavirus.
Baseball at all levels has pretty much been shut down, and that leaves Stone with a lot of time to reflect on his incredible life.
We addressed multiple topics, including his broadcasting career, which includes having worked side by side with the legendary Harry Caray for 14 years from 1983-97.
Caray was definitely one of a kind, and was known for his outrageousness and colorful personality. But Stone said Caray also knew when it was time to be serious in the booth, and that Caray excelled in that capacity, too.
Stone currently works with rising play-by-play star Jason Benetti calling White Sox games, and Stone raved about his new broadcasting partner.
Benetti has overcome cerebral palsy to reach the top of his profession, and his courage and determination has made a strong impression on Stone.
Here is a link to Wednesday's podcast:
Before entering the broadcast booth, Stone was an accomplished pitcher, who won the 1980 Cy Young Award after compiling a 25-7 record for the Baltimore Orioles. Stone also started and pitched three perfect innings in the All Star game that year.
Stone played for Baltimore from 1979-81 under Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver. Stone talked about the challenge of playing for Weaver, who was known for his volatile temper and for being demanding.
But Weaver also knew the game of baseball inside out, and he planned and prepared for just about anything that might occur between the base paths.
Music was another topic that we addressed with the 72-year old Stone and he described himself as a fan of classic rock. He singled out Mark Knopfler, formerly of Dire Straits, as one of his favorite guitar players, and he mentioned Def Leppard as another favorite band.
Stone lives in Arizona and is friends with life-long Iowa City resident and former Iowa basketball player Mike Gatens, who also lives in Arizona during the winter.
They’re both part of a group that meets regularly in the morning for coffee and for small talk.
We appreciate Mike’s help with arranging Wednesday’s interview, which lasted for approximately 45 minutes.
Listening to Stone talk baseball was a nice diversion from these tough times.