Press Box Access

A Front-Row Seat with the Sportswriters Who Sat There

Sit down with host Todd Jones and other sportswriters who knew the greatest athletes and coaches, and experienced first-hand some of the biggest sports moments in the past 50 years. They’ll share stories behind the stories -- some they’ve only told to each other.

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Latest Episode

Mark Purdy: “The Building is Going Nuts.”

Come join Mark Purdy inside the tiny hockey arena as the “Miracle on Ice” erupts at the 1980 Winter Olympics. He’ll also put you on site of the earthquake that struck the Bay Area’s World Series. Mark recalls other rocking moments from his four decades as a sportswriter, including 33 years as a columnist for the San Jose Mercury News. He explains how Paul Brown’s decision about Bill Walsh fueled a 49ers dynasty, and how that NFL empire had an ultra-competitive relationship – between a couple of QBs named Montana and Young – at its core. Hear how McCovey Cove originated, how Sparky Anderson had journalism advice, and how Barry Bonds was to deal with as a reporter when home runs and steroid accusations were flying.

Mark Purdy’s witty and insightful writing entertained and enlightened sports fans in California and Ohio for more than four decades. He spent 33 years of his career in two different stints as a sports columnist for the San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group until his retirement in 2017. The Associated Press Sports Editors named Mark one of the Top 10 sports columnists in the nation on multiple occasions. He was called one of America’s 10 best sports columnists by the Wall Street Journal. He was enshrined in the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame this year. Among his many journalism honors, Mark was a member of the Mercury News staff that received a Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of the earthquake that hit the Bay Area during the 1989 World Series. Mark covered 13 Olympics, more than 30 Super Bowls, and he made numerous national broadcast appearances on such shows as ABC Nightline, ESPN’s Outside the Lines, and Court TV. Mark is credited – along with Leonard Koppett of the Oakland Tribune – for coming up with the idea of “McCovey Cove.” That’s the unofficial name for the water beyond right field outside Oracle Park in San Francisco. Purdy wrote numerous columns suggesting that name to honor former Giants first baseman Willie McCovey. Although the bulk of his career was in the Silicon Valley, Mark also served as the Cincinnati Enquirer’s sports columnist from 1978-84, and he wrote a metro column for that paper in 1994-95. He also worked for the Los Angeles Times, Dayton Journal Herald, and Chicago Tribune early in a journalism career that began in 1974.

Tune in next time when we are talking to Sam Farmer!

You can follow Mark on Twitter: @MercPurdy

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The Team

Todd Jones

Todd Jones is senior writer for the Ohio State Alumni Magazine and host of the Ohio State University podcast, One Degree Greater.

Sarah Willgrube

When Sarah isn't using her rich background in film production to produce podcasts, you can find her painting or hiking the great outdoors.