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 TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Leaf helps sponsor “A Team of Dreams” softball event
Posted Sep 11, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Sep 11, 2013 at 06:26 PM
As president of Leaf Trading Cards, Brian Gray has not been afraid to come out swinging over issues in the trading card business. On Saturday, Gray will have the chance to come out swinging in a more relaxed atmosphere — at a celebrity softball game in Dyersville, Iowa.
“A Team of Dreams” will be played at the same baseball field that was used in the 1989 movie, “Field of Dreams,” and a collectibles show will be held later in the day at the Mystique Casino in nearby Dubuque. Leaf, in conjunction with MAB Celebrity Services, will be an official sponsor of the game.
“I’m proud to be an official sponsor of the event, but I’m also very excited to be playing in the softball game,” Gray said in a news release. “It should be a lot of fun.”
The event will feature Hall of Famers and other stars. Tampa’s Wade Boggs is scheduled to play, along with Johnny Bench, Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Dwight Gooden, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Paul Molitor, Jim Palmer, Jim Rice, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Frank Thomas and Pete Rose.
Oh, yeah. And Gray will play, too.
To commemorate the event, Leaf is producing a 16-card card set. Fans who attend the game and/or the collectibles show will receive a free five-card promo pack.
Players will be signing autographs at the collectibles show.
Feel like flying to Iowa to see the game? Here is the link to the MAB Celebrities Service website:
It’s actually not tough to get to Dyersville — or Dubuque, for that matter. Fly to Chicago’s Midway Airport and catch a small plane to Cedar Rapids. Then rent a car and drive a few hours and you are there.
On Oct. 9 1996, I was in Waterloo, Iowa, and was driving back to Florida when I accidently missed the turn to go south toward the Quad Cities area. Instead, I headed east, and after a while, I stopped at a convenience store to find out where I was. It was Dyersville, so I couldn’t resist driving to the field.
Magical, even though I didn’t see Moonlight Graham or Shoeless Joe Jackson. Perhaps on Saturday, the ghost of Jackson will commiserate with Rose about being banned from organized baseball.
Another magical moment happened that night of Oct. 9, 1996, depending on your perspective or fan allegiance. As I left Dyersville and drove south, I was listening to Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on the radio. In the eighth inning, Derek Jeter of the Yankees hit a fly ball to deep right field that Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco settled under at the warning track. Except he never caught the ball, as young Jeffrey Maier leaned out over the fence and plucked the ball out of the air. Umpire Rich Garcia called it a home run, and the game was tied.
The Yankees would win the game 5-4 in the bottom of the 11th inning on Bernie Williams’ leadoff homer.
The headline in the New York Daily News the next day screamed “Kid Glove.”
Talk about instant karma.
Back to the celebrity softball game, which certainly will be competitive. The players on both teams were noted for their intensity.
“This is a very special event that Leaf Trading Cards is proud to be a part of,” Gray said.