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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Topps unveils ‘world’s largest’ baseball card at Lakeland field
Posted Feb 12, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 09:16 PM
It’s appropriate that what is being touted as the world’s largest baseball card should be unveiled in Lakeland. After all, that is where the Detroit Tigers conduct spring training, and Tigers star Prince Fielder is certainly large enough to fit the bill.
Pitchers and catchers reported to the Tigers’ spring training site in Lakeland on Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, several miles away, Fielder, Topps marketing folks and nearly 100 members of the Lakeland City Baseball league gathered at nearby Peterson Park in South Lakeland. Their mission: to unveil a baseball card depicting Fielder that is 90 feet tall and 60 feet wide. So, not only does Fielder appear on the box of 2013 Topps Series 1 baseball, he also covers most of center field at Peterson Park on his giant-sized baseball card.
“It is truly an honor and a thrill for me,” Fielder said in a Topps news release.
Certainly, the young baseball players were thrilled to be there. You have to love a youth league that has fielded a team called the Lakeland Moonwalk.
The card itself is pretty impressive at such a large dimension. Fielder was actually dwarfed by it when he posed for a photo late Tuesday morning.
Peterson Park, by the way, is named for former prominent Lakeland politician Newton Curtis Peterson. The Lakeland native was active in local politics and won a seat in the Florida Senate in 1972, where he embarked on an 18-year career in Tallahassee that included his election as Senate president in 1982. He died in 1996 at age 73.
Anticipation always runs high when spring training begins, and Lakeland is one of the nicer venues to watch a game. Friendly people, good seating (the berm in left field is a great place to catch some rays) and wonderful food.
“Spring training is one of the most exciting times for baseball fans,” Topps marketing manager Marc Stephens said the company’s news release. “We are excited to kick off the season and celebrate the launch of our new 2013 Topps Baseball Series 1 with Lakeland City Baseball, Prince and baseball fans everywhere.”
Fielder seemed a bit overwhelmed by it all.
“Well, for me it’s really cool,” he said. “You always dream as a kid to be on a baseball card, let alone the one the size of a basketball court.”