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Bob D’Angelo

Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.

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In The Game Sportkings Series F is an eclectic mix of stars

Posted Jul 10, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Jul 10, 2013 at 02:10 PM

Put Ric Flair, Gorgeous George and Man Mountain Dean in the same trading card set, and what do you have?

Wooooooo! Pandemonium.

In The Game will include the Nature Boy, the Human Orchid and the huge Dean, three of the sport’s greatest showmen, in its Sportkings Series F set that will be released on Aug. 1. But wrestling icons are not the only athletes honored in this set, which will feature some really nice-looking base cards that have a painted quality to them.

Series F will continue the numbering sequence In The Game begin with Series A, starting with card No. 257 (climber Conrad Anker) and ending with No. 304 (figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi). Other base cards will feature former NFL coach Bill Parcells, ex-NBA stars Shaquille O’Neal and Scottie Pippen, baseball greats Brooks Robinson, Mariano Rivera and Fernando Valenzuela, former Olympic boxing great Teofilo Stevenson of Cuba, and NFL stars like Frank Gifford and Jack Ham.

Each box of Series F will contain five cards — three base (one could be a parallel mini), a premium black base card, and one insert card that will either be a game-used card or an on-card autograph.

A new, and very intriguing idea that In The Game is featuring in Sportkings Series F is its Anthology autograph card insert set. Each series will now memorialize a great event in sports history. The debut Anthology set will feature the 1972 Miami Dolphins, still the only NFL team to go unbeaten through the regular and postseasons. Thirteen members of that group will be featured. In The Game said that there will be 144 of each player with on-card signatures—72 in their home uniforms and 72 in their road jerseys.

Players who signed include Bob Griese, Jim Kiick, Paul Warfield, Larry Little and Manny Fernandez. Dolphins coach Don Shula also signed, but you can tell it’s a recent autograph. Shula used to have a wonderful, flowing signature, but now that he is in his 80s, it is more of a scrawl. A shame.

Speaking of the Perfect Season Dolphins, Series F is including a memorabilia subset of Orange Bowl seat cards. These cards must have come from the expensive seats, because in 1972, all of the Orange Bowl seats were aluminum benches. I grew up in South Florida during the Dolphins’ run of three straight Super Bowl appearances (1971-72-73 seasons). My father once bought 50-yard seats at the Orange Bowl in 1972 for the Nov. 19 game between the Dolphins and the New York Jets ($8 a seat, can you believe it?), and even with the great vantage point, we were still sitting on rows of aluminum benches. Lots of foot stomping, particularly since Miami prevailed, 28-24 in front of 80,010 fans to improve to 10-0.

So while the subset will be signed by players like Little, Kiick, Griese, Fernandez, Howard Twilley and by Shula, and it looks pretty cool, I am going to reserve judgment as to what year these pieces of memorabilia represent. I highly doubt 1972; and to be fair, In The Game does not actually say they are from ‘72, just that they are from the Orange Bowl.

Another interesting subset will be called Owner’s Box. This will include cut signatures of deceased team owners like Paul Brown, Art Modell, Walter O’Malley, Calvin Griffith, August Busch Jr. and Lou Perini.

Vintage PaperCuts will feature cut signatures of stars who have had a Sportkings card in the past, like Pele, Gene Tunney, Byron Nelson, Sonny Liston, Eddie Shore and Evel Knievel. PaperCuts will feature cut signatures of deceased starts who appear in Series F.

First Pitch will feature on-card art by Sportkings artist Jared Kelley and the 12-card set will appeal to fans of politics and presidents. Featured will be presidents like Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover and William Howard Taft, all throwing out the first pitch at a major-league baseball game.
First Class cards are also nice examples of artwork, with sports artist Ron Adair painting the first five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Of course, to be politically correct, I have included one Democrat (Obama, throwing from the left) and one Republican (Reagan, tossing from the right).

Another beautiful looking insert set is the 1933 Sport Kings Gum Hand-Drawn card. Each card features one of the original images from the famous 1933 set, hand-drawn and limited to nine copies (plus a 1/1 gold parallel version).

Certainly, there are some nice-looking cards in this set. It’s eclectic and the art work appears to be top notch.

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