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Friday, Aug 29, 2014

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.

Gehrig wristwatch fetches $340,000 after auction ends

Published:   |   Updated: August 26, 2014 at 06:48 PM
BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

With so many people watching and participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on YouTube, Facebook and other social networks, it’s appropriate that a watch once owned by Lou Gehrig brought in a hefty price tag one day after an auction closed.

Gehrig was the New York Yankees first baseman whose career — and life — was cut short by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The disease was named for the Hall of Famer. His wristwatch, engraved to commemorate the Yankees’ 1928 World Series sweep against the St. Louis Cardinals, sold for $340,000 on Monday, one day after SCP Auctions’ Mid-Summer Classic online auction closed.

Although it was the headline item for the Mid-Summer Classic, the Gehrig wristwatch never met its reserve price and did not sell at auction, SCP Auctions marketing manager Terry Melia said.

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Topps releases info, images for 2015 Heritage baseball

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

My baseball card nostalgia is in full flower.

Earlier this year, Topps released its 2014 Heritage baseball product, which paid tribute to the 1965 Topps set — my all-time favorite baseball card set.

On Monday, Topps published information and images for its 2015 Heritage set, which will be released on March 4. Next year’s product will be patterned after the 1966 Topps design — another one of my favorite vintage sets. The design is simple and effective, and all the players looked good, whether it was card No. 1 (Willie Mays), Sandy Koufax or even Don Mossi (still one of my favorite vintage cards — do a Google search on Mossi’s 1966 card and you will understand).

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A look at Cleveland’s venerable League Park

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

Cy Young pitched a no-hitter and Addie Joss was perfect there. It’s a ballpark where Babe Ruth hit his 500th homer, Bob Feller made his major-league debut, and Nap Lajoie and Tris Speaker notched their 3,000th career hits. It’s also the place where Ted Williams hit the only inside-the-park home run of his career to help the Boston Red Sox clinch the 1946 pennant.

The first grand slam and unassisted triple play in World Series history happened there — during Game 5 of the 1920 classic. That helped the Cleveland Indians clinch their first Series title there with a victory in Game 7. And in 1899, the Cleveland Spiders called it home during a horrific 20-134 season.

League Park has seen some great days — and Saturday, it comes back to life.

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Panini’s Prizm football offering colorful selections

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

Many collectors have taken a shine to Panini America’s Prizm products. These cards with that buffed look are nice to look at. Kids love them; I’ve seen their reaction when going through a box full of Prizms (although I don’t know many kids who can afford a pack on their own) because it’s cool to see a reflection of yourself in the card.

I get that. As for me, I recently bought a 1956 Topps card of Bob Cerv off eBay that I needed for my collection. Condition? Good to very good; you know, when rounded corners were not intentional. Shiny? Not a chance, but still precious to me.

But I’m a vintage guy. Collectors of shiny stuff like Prizm football will enjoy this year’s more colorful model.

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How three giants of boxing defined a turbulent decade

Published:   |   Updated: August 19, 2014 at 10:01 PM
BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

Boxing mattered in the 1970s, particularly in the heavyweight division. It had been relevant before: Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney gave the sport luster in the 1920s, and Joe Louis dominated during the late 1930s and ’40s. More recently, Mike Tyson was a terrifying force during the 1980s until his cloak of invincibility was shredded by Buster Douglas.

But the 1970s brought together three dominant and diverse personalities, and through five fights during the decade, they gave heavyweight boxing a golden age that hasn’t been equaled since.

Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Ge0rge Foreman are the main focus in Richard Hoffer’s smartly written “Bouts of Mania: Ali, Frazier and Foreman and an America on the Ropes” (Da Capo Press; hardback; $25.99; 278 pages). But Hoffer, a writer at Sports Illustrated for more than two decades, provides necessary and nuanced context as the fighters competed during a turbulent decade.

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Panini previews Flawless basketball

Published:   |   Updated: August 19, 2014 at 12:23 AM
BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

It takes a lot of nerve and even more confidence to name a product Flawless, but Panini America is banking on the same buzz for 2013-14 Flawless basketball that it received in its debut last season.

Last year’s product came packaged in a metal briefcase-like configuration. This year’s version, which will be released on Sept. 17, will have 10 cards per pack in the same padded briefcase design. Two of the cards will be base, but will be slabbed and embedded with diamonds, emeralds and rubies.

The other eight will include six autographs and two jumbo prime memorabilia cards. And no card in the set will be numbered higher than 25.

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Some home cookin’ about college football’s best conference

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

It might seem simplistic, but Paul Finebaum is like boiled okra: you either love it or hate it. There is no middle ground.

The same holds true for Finebaum, a college football analyst for ESPN who cut his teeth as a sportswriter and columnist in Alabama and then rose to fame (or infamy) as a brash, opinionated radio talk-show host.

He gives readers plenty to chew on in his book, “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Why the SEC Still Rules College Football” (Harper; hardback; $26.99; 275 pages). Finebaum passionately advocates the sheer dominance of the Southeastern Conference as a football powerhouse, and tells some great stories gleaned from his 34 years as a sports journalist.

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Unearthed ‘Chesapeake Wagner’ to be auctioned in fall

Published:   |   Updated: August 6, 2014 at 11:14 PM
BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

The 1909 T-206 Honus Wagner card has been called the “Holy Grail” of sports memorabilia. There are between 50 and 100 in circulation, and a Wagner graded PSA 5 sold for more than $2.1 million at an auction during the spring of 2013.

A Wagner card that was once owned by hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky once sold for $2.8 million, but it was later discovered that the card edges had been trimmed by memorabilia dealer Bill Mastro, who admitted last year that he altered the card.

More than a century after it was issued, the Wagner card still creates a buzz.

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Panini’s Immaculate basketball has got sole

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

Now, here’s a card with a lot of sole.

Panini America’s Immaculate basketball product will hit stores on Sept. 3, and the newest insert will be called Sole of the Game. This card will feature the tread from NBA players’ game-worn sneakers.

The mock-up card Panini showcased in a news release Monday features the blue sneaker tread of Vince Carter. It definitely provides a different kind of look. Imagine a card with ridges and grooves.

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Collect call: 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter

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By BOB D’ANGELO Tribune staff

It’s one of the baseball card sets I look forward to every year.

Just like the anticipation I feel for Topps’ flagship Series One and Two, the Allen & Ginter set delivers interesting cards that have an eclectic mix that is irresistible. Never mind that the design has remained pretty much the same since it debuted in 2006. These cards always seem to have some nice surprises from an educational standpoint.

And if nothing else, I like to be entertained and educated.

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