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.
E-Mail The Bookie:
Have a question or comment for Bob?
Follow Bob here:
Most Recent Entries
- 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
- Rays @ O’s: Rays on FOX game of the week
- Seffner Christian’s Hanson picks Liberty
- Current Baseball America prospect list boasts five locals
- Rays @ O’s: Hellickson returns to mound to start trip
- Former Newsome tennis standout, Hersh, named POY
- Bishop McLaughlin sophomore OH Alyssa Mathis commits to San Diego State
- Rays v BoSox: Price looks for 2nd win, Escobar moved to 5th in order
- Area athletes sign and commit to colleges
- 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
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.
Rays @ Jays: Victoria Day matinee
Posted May 20, 2013 by Roger Mooney
Updated May 20, 2013 at 11:11 AM
TORONTO Jake Odorizzi makes his Rays debut this afternoon as the Rays and Blue Jays meet on Victoria Day.
Here is the Rays lineup:
Green seeking funds for trip
Posted May 19, 2013 by Scott Purks
Updated May 19, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Hillsborough superstar triple jumper Jeremiah Green has an invitation to defend his national title at the New Balance Outdoor National Meet in North Carolina June 14-16, but at the moment he doesn’t have the funds to get there.
“We thought we were going to have some funding but it fell through,” Sipp said. “If anyone can help it would be greatly appreciated.”
Area Athletes Shine at Golden South Classic
Posted May 19, 2013 by Scott Purks
Updated May 19, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Two Hillsborough County track athletes had particularly big nights at Saturday’s Golden South Classic meet in Orlando: Plant’s Julia Rodriguez won the 3200 in a blazing 10 minutes, 53.23 seconds and Hillsborough’s Jorian Ordway won the 400 in a personal-best 54.19 seconds.
St. Petersburg Gibbs superstar sprinter Trayvon Bromell also shined brightly, setting a meet record in the 100 meters at 10.27 seconds, breaking the mark of 10.29 seconds set by Palmetto’s Curtis Johnson in 1991. Bromell also teamed with three sprinters from Lakewood—Tim Holmes and Shaquem and Shaquill Griffin—to set a national-best tine for this year in the 4X100 relay at 40.29 seconds.