A unique combination of player, agent, and broadcaster team up to bring you conversations with some of the biggest stars of baseball, other sports, and other professions. Hear previously unheard personal stories of memorable and meaningful events in the careers of our guests as well as their current activities and future plans.
Mark Sweeney spent 14 years in the Major Leagues with seven different teams. He played in the 1998 World Series and finished his career as the second all time pitch hitter in Major League history.
Barry Axelrod spent 40 years as an agent representing football and baseball players as well as athletes in other sports. He represented Hall of Famer’s Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell as well as other notable players such as Rick Sutcliffe, Wally Joyner, Mark Grace and Phil Nevin.
Emmy award winning broadcaster and journalist, Mike Pomeranz, brings unique perspective and extensive experience. In addition to having played minor league baseball, Mike has been broadcasting news and sports on the national, regional, and local levels for decades.
Since 2012, Mike has been the primary host for Fox Sports San Diego and has worked extensively for Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket.
to the podcast
Major League Beginnings: Trailer
Episode 34: Jim Hughes
There is nothing more exciting for a young fan than getting their first baseball glove. The feel and smell of the new leather, and of course, breaking it in! An indelible sensory experience that inexorably links you to the game forever.
No one knows that better than Jim Hughes who just retired after nearly 40 years with Rawlings, the official glove of MLB.
Jim shares his favorite memories of the countless players he’s outfitted, their quirks and requests, the megadeals he’s done and the surprising life that led him to him becoming among “The Finest in the Field.”
Episode 1: Nick Swisher
All Star slugger and Yankee World Series Champ Nick Swisher joins the guys for a high-energy and personal conversation. Nick shares his experience in getting to the big leagues with the Moneyball Oakland A’s, dealing with the bleacher creatures at Yankee stadium, his short-lived singing career and his move into broadcasting following his playing days. All of Nick’s favorite on field memories and some stories you’ve never heard before!
Episode 2: Dontrelle Willis
All aboard the D-Train! Dontrelle Willis captivated baseball when he burst on the scene with the Florida Marlins in 2003, enjoying one of the greatest Major League beginnings in baseball history! Dontrelle joins the fellas with his signature smile, spirit and candor. He shares all of his favorite personal stories that take us from the moment he first walked through a big league clubhouse, to his All-Star appearances and World Series win. The people and events that shaped him and the meant the most, plus how he dealt with his almost inexplicable fade from the game at just 29 years old.
Episode 3: Larry Walker
Oh, Canada! One of baseball’s newest Hall of Famers, Larry Walker, visits with the guys. The MVP and five time all-star outfielder tells us what he thought his odds really were of getting in during his last year on the writers’ ballot, why he’s going in as a Rockie not an Expo, and the real reason he wore that now-viral SpongeBob shirt the day he got the call from the Hall. Larry gives the inside stories on his unusual bat choice, the mystery of one of his Gold Gloves, and the little-known tale of how he ended up on the 2004 NL Champion Louis Cardinals.
Episode 4: Sean Casey
Laugh your way through the baseball life of Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer Sean Casey during this episode of Major League Beginnings! Casey takes you on a hysterical trip including his first big league call-up with an already great Cleveland team, who shaped his world after a trade to Cincy, his favorite all-star game story, his exploits as a fighter, and why arbitration and “cats” don’t mix! Voted baseball’s friendliest player, join the Mayor and the guys for a wild ride along Sean Casey’s marvelous career.
Episode 5: Aaron Boone
New York Yankee skipper and “Savage Leader,” Aaron Boone takes you inside his head and heart the moment he became a Yankee legend by shattering the Red Sox in 2003. The third generation big leaguer shares what it’s really like to grow up in a big league baseball family, the unique circumstances of his first call to the big leagues, which Cincinnati Red shaped his major league career, why after playing, he became a broadcaster and what managing in the Bronx means to him.
Episode 6: Dave Roberts
A self-described “late bloomer,” Dodger manager Dave Roberts, candidly shares his baseball journey and takes us inside the dugout for the greatest turnaround in playoff history. You’ll hear who was really responsible for the stolen base in the 2004 ALCS that made him a Boston legend. “Doc” also tells us why he dreaded taking a phone call from Cleveland that would forever change his life, and how a soul-crushing meeting with the Giants in 2008 vaulted him toward becoming the first minority manager in Los Angeles Dodgers’ history.
Episode 7: Kevin Burkhardt
He’s one of the most versatile and popular voices in sports and he nearly gave it all up before “hitting the big time.” Fox broadcaster, Kevin Burkhardt tells us what he sees as his true Major League Beginning and how it actually came long before his national debut. Kevin shares what the pressure is really like at the biggest events on the planet with sports superstars on set and millions watching. From MLB to the NFL, and all the fun in between, it’s Kevin Burkhardt like you’ve never heard him before.
Episode 8: Mike Sweeney
“The Sweeneys” are together again, on this episode of Major League Beginnings. Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer, Mike Sweeney joins host Mark Sweeney finally putting an end to the family rumors that have confounded baseball fans for decades. Mike also shares how confusion and misadventure led to his first shot in the big leagues and how if not for an unexpected retirement and injury, Mike’s 16 seasons and 5 All-Star appearances might never have happened.
Episode 9: Don Mattingly
“Donnie Baseball.” Yankee legend and current Marlins manager, Don Mattingly joins Mark and Mike on this episode. Don opens up about his emotional Major League beginning in pinstripes after growing up in small-town Indiana, how he pulled off one of the greatest statistical runs in baseball history, which of his many “Yankee moments” means the most to him, finally meeting the player he idolized, and the impact of Joe Torre on his managerial career.
Episode 10: Ted Barrett
If you think you can do better than the boys in blue you love to boo, wait until you hear the hard-edged perspective of our guest, long-time Major League umpire and Crew Chief, Ted Barrett. His resume reads like a Hollywood script. Umpire, boxer and...reverend. Ted takes us behind the plate sharing his most memorable games including the playoffs, World Series and a record number of “perfectos!” Barrett’s account of handling the pressure to be perfect and the backlash when you are not, is raw, insightful and inspiring.
Episode 11: Greg Vaughn
One of Milwaukee’s Best is on tap. Former Brewer slugger Greg Vaughn talks baseball and social injustice in an emotional and raw discussion full of smiles and tears. Greg tells us the emotional stories of his Major League call up, entering a lineup with two would be Hall of Famers, hitting 50 for the Padres, and how he’s working to improve the world and the game he loves so dearly.
Episode 12: David Ross
The baseball gods have been very favorable to our guest. You will truly understand how, after hearing from Chicago Cubs hero and manager, David Ross. A 15 year career featuring more Major League Beginnings than anyone can imagine. Ross takes you on his extraordinary ride from backup catcher to World Series hero. “Rossy” opens up about his career’s painful turning point, what it meant to be Boston Strong, being uplifted by the Windy City, and even why he chose to take a swing at “Dancing With the Stars.”
Episode 13: Tony Gwynn Jr,
Few in sports know the pressure that comes from following in your Hall of Fame father’s footsteps. Tony Gwynn Junior, does. In this episode of Major League Beginnings, Tony shares deeply personal stories about what it was like playing in that shadow, making his own mark and how the tragic passing of his father dramatically altered his career path.
Episode 14: Bud Black
Colorado Rockie manager Bud Black joins the guys. The former World Series champ and Manager of the Year shares all of his favorite stories including why his first big league call up was so surprising, the challenges he faced establishing himself on a star-studded World Series Kansas City Royals team, and why if not for Cleveland, he may never have become a big league manager in the first place.
Episode 15: Bruce Bochy
Three time World Series champion manager, Bruce Bochy joins the guys. “Boch” tells us the most surprising thing about one of the most successful runs in San Francisco Giants history. You will hear which of his three titles means the most to him, what it was like to bring his own son in from the bullpen as a Giants’ reliever, and whether he thinks he is Hall of Fame worthy! The only man to be part of every San Diego Padres postseason appearance in club history is our guest on this episode of Major League Beginnings.
Episode 16: Mark Grace
The man who led all of baseball in hits and doubles through the decade of the 90’s, Mark Grace, is featured in this episode. The Cub star and member of the World Series winning Diamondbacks hangs out with his longtime agent and podcast cohost, Barry Axelrod, to share his favorite memories from Wrigleyville to Copper Square. “Gracey” relives the electricity of Wrigley’s first night game, reveals the legends who shaped his career, and opens up about the pain of being asked to leave Chicago, and why now, after 20 years, he is headed back to the Windy City!
Episode 17: Bert Blyleven
One of Cooperstown’s most colorful characters, Bert Blyleven joins the guys. As baseball’s first Dutch-born Hall of Famer, Bert tells us how a kid from Zeist, Holland managed to make it to the Major Leagues by 19 years old. You will hear how he earned the nickname, “The Frying Dutchman,” who really taught him one of the greatest pitches in baseball history, and the surprising story of what he considers to be his greatest moment in a career that included a no-hitter, two World Series championships and a hall of fame induction.
Episode 18: Alan Trammell
Hall of Famer and Tiger for life, Alan Trammell is with us. Called to the bigs as a wide-eyed teenager, Alan would spend the next 20 seasons anchoring the Detroit Tiger infield alongside his buddy, Lou Whitaker. Alan takes us thru his rough initiation to the Motor City, how he convinced his manager, Sparky Anderson he could actually play in the big leagues, what surprised him most about winning the World Series...and the raw emotion he feels even now, after his long overdue call to The Hall.
Episode 19: Bill Mueller
From San Francisco to Boston, he became a quiet legend. Without him, the Red Sox might not have broken an 86 year World Series title drought. Batting champ and fan favorite, Bill Mueller joins us on this episode of Major League Beginnings.
As the only player to hit Grand Slams from both sides of the plate in one game, Mueller takes us inside his prolific Boston at bat in the 2004 American League Championship Series, the nail-biting race for the 2003 batting title, and all the unfiltered stories of his difficult climb to the Big Leagues!
Episode 20: Rick Sutcliffe
Hey Chicago, what do you say? The Red Baron joins the boys today! Rick Sutcliffe and his longtime agent, friend and podcast co-host, Barry Axelrod stroll down memory lane with Mark and Mike. “Sut” spins hilarious and personal stories of his Major League Beginnings and beyond. You will hear about the man who saved Rick’s life, his force-fed Dodgers debut, the drought-busting playoff runs, night baseball at Wrigley and cracking open a cold....Camden Yards! The rarely if ever told stories, from the men who lived ‘em all, on this episode of Major League Beginnings.
Episode 21: Eric Karros
The most prolific home run hitter in Los Angeles Dodgers’ history joins the guys on this edition of Major League Beginnings. 1992 Rookie of the Year, Eric Karros tells you about his favorite teammate, his greatest all-star snub and the moment that he earned his Hall of Fame manger’s trust ensuring his spot as LA’s first baseman for a decade! Join Eric on his journey from UCLA walk-on to longtime Dodger star and into the broadcast booth where you can catch still catch him each season!
Episode 22: Matt Holliday
Cardinal and Rockie big bopper, Matt Holliday joins us on this edition of Major League Beginnings. Matt spent 15 seasons in the Big Leagues, was a seven time all-star, hit 20 plus homers in 9 straight seasons, and was a World Series Champ!
Learn what it was like growing up in a baseball family, playing with current and future Hall of Famers in Saint Louis and Colorado, and the pain of the trades that shaped him personally and professionally. Catch up with one of the game’s great men both on and off the field!
Episode 23: Trevor Hoffman
The sound of Hells Bells lets you know our guest on this episode is none other than the greatest closer in National League history, Trevor Hoffman. The Hall of Famer tells us the three things that few fans know truly shaped his career. Learn what makes him most proud and why his teammates meant more to him than anything else in the game. A Master class on pitching, family, friends and humility from the man with 601 career saves.
Episode 24: Phil Nevin
First overall pick. Olympic hero. Major League All-Star. Current Yankee coach Phil Nevin has led a baseball life most only dream of. Phil joins the guys in a raw and insightful conversation about his extraordinary road to the Big Leagues, his most memorable playing days, meaningful moments and life-shaping relationships. Plus find out why the next few years may actually be the most stressful and exciting of his life.
Episode 25: Jeff Bagwell
Houston, this one is a Hall of Famer, no problem! Astros legend, Jeff Bagwell digs in for a fantastic conversation on Major League Beginnings! For 15 incredible seasons, “Baggy” was the most powerful of Houston’s “Killer B’s,” tormenting pitchers en route to becoming a Rookie of the Year, an MVP, a four time All-Star, and one of the game’s greatest first basemen enshrined in Cooperstown. Come along with Jeff as he shares his favorite stories with Mark, Mike and his longtime agent and friend, Barry Axelrod!
Episode 26: Brad Ausmus
Our guest on this episode helped propel the Houston Astros to their first World Series! Brad Ausmus spent 18 seasons behind the plate and now he’s behind the mic on Major League Beginnings. Brad takes us on his journey from late-round draft pick and Ivy Leaguer to catching some of the game’s most incredible pitchers before becoming a manager and front office executive. Find out who had the best stuff he ever caught and who he would want pitching a game 7!
From his debut as a player to the lessons he’s learned as a Big League manager, Brad shares the highlights from an extraordinary career that’s still unfolding.
Episode 27: Mark Gubizca
World Series Champ and gregarious Philly cheesesteak connoisseur, Mark Gubizca joins Major League Beginnings! Take the ride from Mark’s early days as young star pitcher with the Kansas City Royals during the 80’s to his current role as the color voice of the Los Angeles Angels. “Goobie,” tells us what it really took to win 20 games in a season, what happens when your relatives have to sleep in your hotel room before the playoffs, why hanging out with Hall of Farmer, George Brett could be both fun and dangerous, and the difference between being Mike Trout and what “Bo knows!”
Episode 28: Mark Loretta
15 years in the Big Leagues and this former Brewer can still “tap” a great story! Two-time All-Star, Mark Loretta joins us. He’s seen it all from the field to the front office. ‘Lo is undeniably one of baseball’s sharpest and funniest men. He’ll tell you what turned him from a gap hitter into a “pull with pop” guy, which of the five teams he played for impacted him most, and the power of performing on Patriots Day in Boston!
Episode 29: Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw, baseball's superstar lefthander and Dodgers' ace joins the guys fresh off winning the 2020 World Series! The three-time Cy Young Award winner tells us how deeply meaningful it was to be a part of ending the Dodgers' 32 year title drought.
Kershaw tells you about the raw emotion behind winning, how it compares to the many personal accolades he has received, what his relationship is like with the great Sandy Koufax and which Dodger helped him most as a struggling rookie.
This certain Hall of Famer is also taking his off-field charity projects to new heights. You'll see what he is doing to help underserved children and how you can get involved.
Episode 30: Jeff Idelson with Jean Fruth
A big-time double-play on this edition of Major League Beginnings!
First, go inside Cooperstown when we visit with Jeff Idelson, the former president of baseball’s Hall of Fame. Jeff shares his favorite moments from his 11 year tenure atop sports’ grandest museum. Hear the craziest behind the scenes stories from the annual induction ceremonies and Jeff reveals the Hall’s hidden gems you can’t afford to miss when you visit Cooperstown.
Then, learn about the perfect gift for the fan in your life, when Jeff and renowned photographer Jean Fruth share stories from their latest project, “Grassroots Baseball: Where Legends Begin.” This beautifully designed hardcover coffee table book features 250 of Jean’s spectacular images from around the world illustrating the beauty of the game enhanced with essays written by baseball’s greatest players!
Order your legendary player autographed edition today at
Episode 31: Alex Gordon
Royals royalty, Alex Gordon joins the podcast!
Alex honors fans and teammates as he tells us what went into his decision to retire in 2020 after 14 seasons with the team he grew up rooting for, the Kansas City Royals. One of the game’s great defenders opens up about the pressures of KC’s 2015 title run, what he learned from dealing with high expectations and failure early in his career, playing in the shadow of Hall of Famer, George Brett, and what the next chapter of his life will look like. Alex Gordon, on life, legacy and a “jersey full of pine tar” on this episode of Major League Beginnings.
Episode 32: C.J. Nitkowski
One of baseball’s sharpest and most engaging storytellers joins the guys on this episode of Major League Beginnings. Former big league pitcher, CJ Nitkowski, brings years of globetrotting playing experience and next-gen analytics into his current role as color analyst for the Texas Rangers.
CJ takes you along on the rollercoaster ride of his professional life. A first round pick who played 10 seasons in the majors, Japan and Korea, CJ also takes us with him as he was cast in the Jackie Robinson biopic, “42,” and into his current, seemingly ubiquitous broadcasting career. Join us as we examine the current state of the “grand ol’ game” now trying to find its way in the new sports landscape.
Dodgers sideline star, Alanna Rizzo, one of baseball’s best and most popular broadcasters talks Tinseltown and titles on this episode of Major League Beginnings! This Emmy award winner shares the crazy “bubble backstory” of the Dodgers 2020 run that was capped by their World Series championship. You will hear how she landed her LA gig, why she nearly “passed” on it, what the legendary Vin Scully meant to her, and how she sees womens’ roles in the changing landscape of Major League Baseball. Plus, how you can support her foundation to help rescue animals, guidry’s guardian.org!