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Monday, Jan 26, 2015

The Sports Bookie

A sports blog by 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.

Collect call: 2014 Bowman Sterling baseball

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staaff

The idea of opening a pack of baseball cards and finding three autographs out of four cards is mind-blowing.

That’s what Topps is offering with its 2014 Bowman Sterling baseball product. With six packs in a hobby box, a collector can expect to find 18 autograph cards — well, perhaps a few redemptions instead of signature cards, but the autographs eventually come.

Here’s the rub: unless a collector is heavily into prospects or draft picks, he or she may not recognize any of the players in this set. Players that signed for this product were first-year players, prospects on the rise and 2014 draft choices.

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Novel about 1950s women’s wrestling a sweetheart debut

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

Old-time professional wrestling was all about illusion.

Ed Farhat wore a burnoose, threw flames and used a pencil to carve up opponents as the Sheik. Larry Shreve was born in Canada but became infamous as Abdullah the Butcher, the Madman from the Sudan. And Mildred Bliss, who began her working career as a stenographer, later ruled women’s wrestling as Mildred Burke.

“You want to be someone else,” Angelina Mirabella writes in the opening line of her debut novel, a telling phrase that will lead the reader through the grimy, seedy, sometimes lurid and always cutthroat world of women’s professional wrestling of the 1950s.

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Collect call: 2014 Topps Strata football

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

Topps Strata football offers collectors an affordable set with some nice hits. This is the third season for this product, and I still enjoy the vertical design of the cards. Granted, the background behind the players still reminds me of a large air conditioning vent, but that feature is a little more muted this year.

Here are the particulars. Strata has 100 base cards, plus 100 rookies. There are an additional 20 short-printed rookie card variations.

In addition, there is a 50-card autograph subset, plus 41 Clear Cut Autograph Relic cards. The latter typically will be the big hit in a hobby box.

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Promotions for celebrating National Bobblehead Day

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

It’s National Bobblehead Day, and the folks at the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame made a few announcements today.

Hall of Fame co-founder CEO and co-founder Phil Sklar said that the museum is partnering with Topps Digital. The Topps Bunt app has created a digital trading card set that honors bobbleheads and the museum.

The second announcement concerns a mythical figure in the Milwaukee area, where the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame is expected to open shop in 2016. The museum, along with Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, unveiled a limited edition (500 statues), individually numbered King Gambrinus bobblehead.

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Jan. 7 will be National Bobblehead Day

Published:   |   Updated: December 29, 2014 at 06:10 PM
BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

For collectors passionate about bobbleheads, they will have a day to celebrate their hobby.

The National Day Calendar (www.nationaldaycalendar.com) has designated Jan. 7, 2015 as the inaugural National Bobblehead Day. The bobbleheads will share that date with a seafood dish, as it also will be National Tempura Day.

But, there is nothing fishy about including bobbleheads on the calendar. In fact, it’s a legitimately fun, thing to celebrate. Besides, if people can celebrate National Rubber Duckie Day on Jan. 13 (I am not making this up), then a national day to celebrate bobbleheads has my vote.

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Collect call: 2014 Topps Triple Threads football

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

Topps Triple Threads has remained consistent through the years, delivering a high-end product that gives collectors autographs and generous relic cards.

This year is no different. A hobby box will run close to $200 at online outlets and probably higher at local card shops. Each hobby box comes with two mini-boxes, in which there is a pack containing seven cards.

Topps promises that each mini-box will include an autographed relic card and a “plain” relic card (the quotations are mine), one of which is a triple relic. For set builders, there are 100 cards plus parallels. But this is not a product that caters to set builders. Autographs and relics? Indeed.

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Collect call: 2014 Bowman Draft baseball

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

It has become a staple for collectors who enjoy draft picks and prospects. And in 2014, Bowman Draft delivers the same kind of promise that it has for more than a decade.

It’s an interesting idea to collect cards of players who either might not amount to much in the major leagues — or who could become the next Mike Trout.

As in previous years, this product provides a mix between base and chrome cards. The base set contains 220 cards, broken down into 130 draft picks and 90 prospects. A hobby box has 24 packs, with seven cards to a pack. Expect at least two chrome cards in every pack.

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Collect call: 2014 Topps Platinum football

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

For collectors who enjoy shiny cards, Topps Platinum football delivers in abundance. The foil design shows evidence of a rainbow pattern on the fronts of the cards, while the card backs are clean and easy to read.

There are 20 packs per hobby box and five cards per pack. Topps promises one rookie autograph patch and two rookie autographs in every hobby box.

There are 150 base cards in the set, with 100 veterans and 50 rookies. The interesting thing I saw in the design was that the backs of the rookie cards had more of an off-white tint, as opposed the veteran cards, which had a tiny hint of gray.

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Collect call: 2014 Bowman Sterling football

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

NFL teams take chances when they draft players or sign rookie free agents. Lots of money can change hands, particularly to players chosen high in the NFL draft. Sometimes those players pan out; other times, they are busts.

The theory also holds true in a high-end product like 2014 Bowman Sterling football. The cost of a hobby box is pricey, more than $200, but the rewards can be great. The key thing to remember about this product is that it is rookie driven. That being said, a hobby box will yield 13 hits among the six packs, which contain five cards to a pack; and a box topper. Each pack will have three base cards, but the real lure for this set is the relic and autograph card selection.

There are some big hits, and you might pull someone like Johnny Manziel, Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans, Texans defensive star Jadeveon Clowney or Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. But you might open some packs and wonder aloud, “who ARE these guys?”

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Collect call: 2014 Topps High Tek baseball

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

Do you like parallels? Lots of them? If so, then 2014 Topps High Tek is the kind of product that will present a challenge.

The original TEK product in 1998 was a 90-card base set with 90 different background patterns, presented on acetate stock. If you wanted a master set, that meant collecting 8,100 different cards. Plus, there were 90 parallels with diffraction foil.

Whew.

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