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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Most Recent Entries
- Pasco baseball players Blaine Duncan, Matt Plourde headed to Barry, Daytona State respectively
- Maddon changes stance on Escobar’s home run guesture
- Panini previews Rookies & Stars football
- A peek at Panini’s 2013 Cooperstown Collection
- Wharton athletes sign NLI’s
- Touchdown Club of Atlanta names Hargreaves top defensive back in the country
- Rays @ Jays: Cobb looking for 5th win
- FACA Baseball Classic Rosters announced
- Stargell stands tall in biography
- Profar is second Bowman redemption card
- Rays @ Jays: Victoria Day matinee
- Green seeking funds for trip
- Area Athletes Shine at Golden South Classic
- Rays @ O’s: Moore looking to go 8-0, Rays looking for sweep
- Collect call: 2013 Bowman baseball
- Bucs Report -Tribune staff
- Rays Report - Roger Mooney
- Bolts Report - Erik Erlendsson
- Bulls Report
- Prep Report - Hillsborough
- Prep Report - Pasco
- Prep Report - Region
- Prep Report - Recruiting Updates
- Prep Report - Football
- Go Fishing: On The Waterfront
- The Sports Bookie - Bob D'Angelo
- Gators Report - Tribune staff
- Youth Sports Report
- NFL Draft Report
- Go Ask: Frank's Tacklebox
- Bucified Bert Blog
- BUK Power - Bucs Fan Blog
- Pigskin Preacher - NFL Fan Blog
- Breakfast Bonus - Tom McEwen
- Highlands Sports
Panini previews Rookies & Stars football
Posted May 21, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated May 21, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Panini America previewed its 2013 Rookies & Stars football set Tuesday, giving a respectful nod to the past. The set, which hits the shelves in late August, traces its roots to 1998’s Rookies & Stars, the first Leaf product released under Playoff.
This year’s model shows just as much promise as the original.
A hobby box will contain 24 packs, with eight cards per pack. Panini is promising four autograph or memorabilia cards — with at least two autograph cards guaranteed—per hobby box. There also will be 24 rookie cards, six parallels, and inserts: two Statistical Standout, two Touchdown Club, two Game Plan, and two Crusade. There also will be two additional inserts or parallels.
Crusade and Game Plan are two insert sets that were in that original 1998 offering. The 2013 Crusade and Rookie Crusade cards will be features on different colored parallels, numbered to 99, 49 and 5, along with a 1/1.
Rookie Materials Signatures will showcase the top rookies of 2013 and will have Longevity and Team Logo foil-background versions. All Rookie Premiere Slideshow Signatures will be numbered to 125 or less, while All Team Chemistry dual-signed cards will be numbered 99 or lower.
One relic card I believe is interesting and different is the Cross Training Materials insert. This card features statistics from a player’s best skill set, and the insert has standard and prime versions. Cross Training is also a descendant of that 1998 set, although it was labeled “Crosstraining” back then.
Rookies & Stars will hit hobby shops and retail stores just as the NFL preseason kicks into full gear, so the timing is great and interest should be high. It never hurts to reach back into the past to showcase the present (and future).
A peek at Panini’s 2013 Cooperstown Collection
Posted May 21, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated May 21, 2013 at 05:09 PM
If the second edition of Panini America’s Cooperstown baseball set follows the same formula as the inaugural product, then it should be another fun set to collect.
I’ve said it before — I love these kinds of sets that pay tribute to baseball’s greats. And since Panini has a license to reproduce Hall of Famers on cards, then it’s a perfect match. Just like last year, Panini is unable to use official major-league logos or team names, as it does not have that exclusive licensing agreement. So, cropping and airbrushing is done out of necessity.
This year’s set is scheduled to go live in mid-August. The set will contain 110 base cards, with 100 commons and 10 colorized short prints. Panini is promising that a 24-pack hobby box will contain one on-card autograph; it will be either a Cooperstown Signatures card or a Heroes Buy Back autograph. Other items in each hobby box include two Cooperstown Lumberjack wood cards, which will feature deadball era players and Hall of Famers; two base short prints; four Historic Tickets; and three Museum Pieces.
Cracked Ice parallels will contain different colors. A typical hobby box will have six green cards, one gold (numbered to 299), two red (numbered to 399) and three blue (numbered to 499). Lucky collectors will find black 1/1 parallels.
Collectors opening a hobby box can expect a topper that will either be a 5-by-7 Cooperstown Lumberjacks die-cut card, or a pennant box topper.
One of the more intriguing additions for this year’s set is the Colgan Disks, which will be included in each pack. The design resembles the 1912 Colgan’s Chips Red Borders (also known as E270 cards), which were issued by the Colgan Gum Co. of Louisville, Ky. The originals were inserted in tins of Colgan’s Mint and Violet Chips gum.
The 1912 version had 181 disks; Panini’s 2013 version will have 160 different disks.
If you enjoy collecting Hall of Famers and deadball era stars, the 2013 version of Cooperstown Collection will not disappoint.
Stargell stands tall in biography
Posted May 20, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated May 20, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Willie Stargell’s height is listed as 6-foot-2 on baseball-reference.com. Pitchers who faced the Pittsburgh Pirates’ slugger, who had a menacing, pinwheel bat action as he awaited their delivery, would disagree. Stargell always appeared taller
Certainly, many of his 475 career home runs were towering, tape-measure jobs. “He doesn’t just hit pitchers,” fellow Hall of Famer Don Sutton once said of Stargell, “he takes away their dignity.”
Stargell had a dignity and demeanor that made him a beloved figure in Pittsburgh, earning him the nickname “Pops” near the end of his 21-season major-league career. An overly sentimental approach in writing about Stargell’s life would be the easy way out. Author Richard “Pete” Peterson manages to avoid that trap, writing a warm, yet reflective biography, “Pops: The Willie Stargell Story” (Triumph Books, hardback, $24.95, 242 pages).
Peterson is Pittsburgh-born and has written “50 Great Moments in Pittsburgh Sports,” “Growing Up With Clemente,” and “The Pirates Reader.” He is a professor emeritus at Southern Illinois University and is the former chair of the English department at SIU-Carbondale. He also can be heard on WSIU radio with commentaries on the station’s Reading Baseball series, now in its 10th year.
While playing up the Stargell fans remember — “a very warm, very loving, very forgiving individual” — Peterson also recounts his rocky upbringing and the racial hurdles he faced in the minor leagues. For example, Stargell’s father left his wife shortly after she became pregnant with Willie. He did not meet his father until he was playing minor-league ball in the Pirates’ farm system.
As a 6-year-old, Stargell’s mother left him in the care of her older sister Lucy, who took him to Orlando. “What began as a one-year stay became a six-year sentence of hard labor, whippings, and malnourishment,” Peterson writes.
The Pirates were one of the majors’ most culturally diverse teams during the 1960s, with Stargell and Roberto Clemente of Puerto Rico the two biggest names. The Pirates also fielded the first all-black lineup in major-league history on Sept. 1, 1971. Still, during spring training in the 1960s in Fort Myers, the Pirates were subjected to the same Jim Crow mentality that Jackie Robinson had experienced more than a decade earlier when he broke the color line.
While Clemente was proud and intense, Stargell was able to defuse racism with his laid-back demeanor. Peterson compares his methods to those of Willie Mays, who also worked diligently toward achieving racial equality in baseball by being low-key.
There were many great moments in Stargell’s career, like tape-measure homers at Dodger Stadium, Veterans Stadium and Forbes Field. Peterson touches on all of those moments and gives concise season-by-season summaries during Stargell’s career. Both World Series victories (1971 and 1979) are recounted in fine detail. Peterson also addresses Stargell’s struggles with his weight (particularly when he reported to spring training) and diabetes, and also his penchant to strike out (1,936 during his career).
Peterson also traces the evolution of 1979’s “We Are Family” World Series champions and the coveted “Stargell Stars.”
While Stargell is the focus, Peterson also pays attention to his supporting cast, including managers Danny Murtaugh and Chuck Tanner, pitchers Bob Veale and Dock Ellis, legendary broadcaster Bob Prince, and teammates like Bill Mazeroski and Dave Parker.
Peterson was a natural to write this book, and he jumped at the chance when he was contacted by Triumph Books. “It was one of those offers that you simply can’t refuse, especially if you’re from Pittsburgh,” he said in a radio interview on WSIU.
Eager for the opportunity, Peterson doesn’t disappoint. He paints Stargell the way he should be remembered — as a gentle giant whose death in 2001 was a sad one for baseball fans. Stargell stood tall in life, and Peterson brings him back to life in a powerful way.
Profar is second Bowman redemption card
Posted May 20, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated May 20, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Topps announced its second redemption for its 2013 Bowman baseball product, and card No. 2 will be Texas Rangers rookie shortstop Jurickson Profar.
The 6-foot, 165-pounder from Willemstad, Curacao, turned 20 in February and was called up by the Rangers on Sunday. He appeared in nine games with Texas in 2012, going 3-for-17 but hitting a homer and driving in two runs. His other two hits were doubles.
Profar’s card, the second of five redemptions for the 2013 Bowman set, will be a 65th anniversary Bowman Blue Sapphire refractor card that will have an on-card autograph and a new image.
Redemption No. 1 was an autograph rookie card of Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Collect call: 2013 Bowman baseball
Posted May 19, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated May 19, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Collectors who love rookies and prospect cards always enjoy opening boxes of Bowman baseball, and this year should be no exception.
The emphasis in Bowman baseball always has been on the base cards, with a nod toward parallels and chrome inserts. As usual, Topps promises just one autograph card per hobby box, but youth is the key here.
A hobby box contains 24 packs, with 10 cards to a pack. Each pack, on average, will contain a gold parallel card and either two or three prospect cards. There also will be two Bowman Chrome cards inserted into each pack.
There are 220 cards in the base set, including rookies, and 100 prospect cards. The box I opened contained 109 base cards and 51 prospect cards. One of the more interesting prospect cards is that of Rays pitching prospect Jesse Hahn, who was a sixth-round pick in the 2010 draft and now plays for the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Hahn has had injury issues, undergoing Tommy John surgery for his elbow and then suffering a broken foot. But so far this season he has been impressive, with a 1.13 ERA in eight games.
The design for both the base set and prospect cards are clean and crisp and the photography is sharp, but then again, collectors demand that at the very least. What is fun about this set is some of the player expressions. Ryan Braun’s card (No. 210) shows his eyes opened wide as he connects at the plate. There’s a star behind Will Middlebrooks’ head on card No. 19 that gives him a crown-like appearance; he almost looks like a Red Sox version of the Statue of Liberty. And there is card No. BP5, where Nationals prospect Lucas Giolito grimaces as he delivers a pitch.
Those are the good ones. There are plenty of posed cliché shots too, like players with a bat over their shoulders or pitchers holding the ball. But for the most part, Topps appears to be making an effort to provide interesting card fronts.
The box I opened contained 24 gold parallels, and a blue parallel of Jayson Werth, numbered to 500. There also was an orange parallel of Robinson Cano numbered to 250, and a low-numbered orange parallel — a refractor of Yankees pitching prospect Brett Gerritse, numbered to 25. Two silver ice parallel cards – one of A.J. Pierzynski and the other of Tigers outfield prospect Steven Moya.
There was plenty of Bowman Chrome; I pulled 38 base or prospect cards, plus four minis. There also was a blue chrome parallel of Rockies third base prospect Nolan Arenado.
The autograph card promised by Topps was an on-card signature of Reds pitching prospect Daniel Corcino.
There were four prospect game cards in the hobby box, which allows a collector to register and play for prizes. I registered, but a collector needs an activation code to begin entering numbers. Still waiting for that email after several hours …
An interesting insert is the Bowman Top 100 cards. These are players who ranked among the top 100 prospects; the box I opened had pitcher Jameson Taillon and shortstop Jurickson Profar.
The final insert was a reprint of players’ first Bowman card; the card I pulled was a chrome version of the 2002 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects card of Joey Votto.
Not a bad haul. If you like your rookies and prospects fresh, Bowman baseball is the way to go.