ESPN 30 for 30 Podcasts Announces Upcoming Debut of Searching for Hobey Baker

ESPN Podcasts

ESPN 30 for 30 Podcasts Announces Upcoming Debut of Searching for Hobey Baker

Narrated by David Duchovny, the three-episode podcast series will premiere on June 12

Trailer: Listen Here

ESPN 30 for 30 Podcasts today announces the upcoming debut of its new three-episode podcast series Searching for Hobey Baker, which chronicles the enigmatic life of collegiate athlete, Hobey Baker, who many consider the first ice hockey star in America. Premiering June 12, the podcast is narrated by award-winning actor, writer, director, New York Times best-selling author, and singer-songwriter David Duchovny, who like Baker, is an alumnus of Princeton University. Executive Producers are Ross Greenburg, Andrew Reynolds and Tim Smith and the series was produced by Ross Greenburg Productions and Silver Sound in collaboration with ESPN.

Every hockey fan knows the name Hobey Baker – collegiate hockey’s most prestigious trophy is named after him – but very few know the real story of this all-time great athlete. Using an archive of personal letters and source materials provided by the Mudd Library at Princeton University, as well as original research, the series charts Hobey’s glory days as the best collegiate hockey and football player in the nation, his post-grad ennui in Gilded Age New York City, and his exploits as a WWI fighter pilot, which ended tragically in a mysterious crash in 1918.  Beyond Hobey’s adventures on the ice and in the air, this podcast also re-contextualizes the hockey legend through the lens of his lesser known struggles as a queer man in the early 20th century.

“As ESPN continues to delve into captivating narratives through our 30 for 30 stories, we are thrilled to illuminate the extraordinary legacy of Hobey Baker in an upcoming podcast,” says Preeti Varathan, ESPN Producer and Head of 30 for 30 Podcasts.“ Collaborating with David Duchovny, a fellow Princeton alum, adds a unique depth to this exploration of Baker’s life. It’s crucial to showcase underrepresented stories like Baker’s, especially his journey as a queer sports icon. Through Searching for Hobey Baker, we aim to inspire listeners by celebrating resilience, a diversity of life experiences, and the enduring spirit of sportsmanship that transcends generations.”

Baker was named one of the first nine inductees, and the only American, to the Hockey Hall of Fame, when it was founded in 1945, and was an initial inductee in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973. In 1981, The Hobey Baker Award, named after Baker, was first awarded to the top National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s ice hockey player. It is an annual award that has since been given out 44 times to the player that most embodies a variety of qualities, in addition to hockey skills, including sportsmanship and character.

Details on each episode are included below.

Episode 1 “The Natural” Synopsis
After Hobey Baker makes his triumphant Princeton hockey debut against Williams, we travel back to his early days attending St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire. He develops a reputation as both an athletic phenom and a kind, generous sportsman. After the economic crash of 1907, his father struggles to send him to college at Princeton where he would then become a two-sport star in football and hockey. His campus legend status includes serenading Woodrow Wilson, the newly elected U.S. president; the hero-worship of his classmate F. Scott Fitzgerald; and earning acceptance into the prestigious Ivy Club. After graduation, Hobey embarks on a summer motorcycle trip around Europe – a grand experience interrupted by the ominous clouds of conflict circling the continent.

Episode 2 “The Lost Generation” Synopsis
His Princeton glory days behind him, Hobey moves to New York and begins a job at JP Morgan Bank. A member of what would be called the Lost Generation, Hobey misses the adrenaline rush of his college sports stardom and becomes despondent. But he soon finds himself in the social circles of the flamboyant and extremely wealthy Percy Rivington Pyne 2nd, who invites Hobey to live with him in his Gilded Age Manhattan mansion. Hobey begins to live the high life of the elite. His relationship with Pyne draws scrutiny and questions, even in an era comparatively tolerant of gay relationships and sexual encounters between men. As World War I drags on, Hobey learns to fly… and when the United States officially enters the war in 1917, he enlists as an Army officer and pilot, returning to Europe to join the fight.

Episode 3 “Going West” Synopsis
As WWI rages, Hobey arrives in France to prepare for aerial combat. He embraces being a fighter pilot, finding the adrenaline-fueled commonality between war and sports. While in Europe, Hobey exchanges dozens of affectionate and loving letters with Percy Pyne. And during his off-duty forays in Paris, Hobey experiences the city’s lively cultural scene – including a reignited friendship with famed songwriter Cole Porter. After proving his combat valor in the air, Hobey – now a captain – receives his orders to return home, but he insists on taking one last flight. It would turn out to be his last one.

All of ESPN’s 30 for 30 Podcasts can be found on the ESPN App, 30for30podcasts.com, and wherever podcasts are available.

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About ESPN 30 for 30 Podcasts
30 for 30 Podcasts, from ESPN Films and ESPN Audio, are original audio documentaries from the makers of the acclaimed 30 for 30 film series. Telling sports stories like you’ve never heard before, through a combination of original reporting and archival sound, 30 for 30 Podcasts goes beyond the field to explore how sports, competition, athleticism and adventure affect our lives and our world. The series has been recognized by the NYF International Radio Awards, the Webby Awards, and the RTDNA Kaleidoscope Awards; as well as inclusion on numerous “best-of” lists from press outlets such as The Atlantic, Vulture, TIME and Entertainment Weekly. Episodes have been featured on NPR, 99% Invisible, Slate Podcasts and more. For more visit 30for30podcasts.com.

Media Contacts:
Garrett Cowan | [email protected]
Jay Jay Nesheim | [email protected]

Garrett Cowan

Based in New York City, Garrett Cowan is a Communications Manager at ESPN overseeing publicity for ESPN Originals, ESPN Films/30 for 30, the ESPYS, and espnW.
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