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Monday, Dec 22, 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.

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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Biography of Walter O’Malley provides a balanced portrait

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

There is a very lively message board at a website called The Brooklyn Board, where former residents trade memories, recipes and news in “discussions about Brooklyn nostalgia.”

I’ve visited the site through the years, and wish it had stored its older archives online (it only goes back six months now). Because despite all the nostalgia and whimsy, two words still incite seething anger.

Walter O’Malley.

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Berger’s creativity, hustle defined Topps’ success

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

Sitting at his kitchen table in early 1952, Sy Berger designed a masterpiece.

Baseball card collectors have benefited from his artistry ever since. And Sunday, collectors lost the “father of modern day baseball cards.”

Seymour P. “Sy” Berger, the iconic Topps employee known as the “father of modern day baseball cards,” died early Sunday at his home in Rockville Center, New York, said baseball historian Marty Appel, a friend and former public relations man for Topps who made the announcement on behalf of the family. Berger was 91.

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Collect call: 2014 Topps Chrome football

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

The folks at Topps must be feeling better this week, since Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel will be making his first NFL start against the Bengals.

After all, Manziel is gracing the box tops and is featured on the packs of its 2014 Topps Chrome football product.

The formula remains the same for Chrome. The base set has 220 cards, evenly split between veterans and rookies. And, throwing collectors a curve, there are 30 veteran and 25 rookie variations. As always, there are plenty of refractors, but what I find exciting are the retro inserts that put modern players in classic Topps designs from the past.

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Honus Wagner’s safe has a colorful history

Published:   |   Updated: December 3, 2014 at 11:34 PM
BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

Let’s say you’re wealthy enough to win the Honus Wagner T-206 card — the “Chesapeake Wagner” — that is on the block in SCP Auctions’ Fall Premier sale that ends Saturday. After shelling out perhaps six figures for the “Holy Grail” of baseball cards (even though it is graded a PSA 1), where are you going to put it for safekeeping?

You could stash it in a safety deposit box. Or, by investing another $5,000 — you’re rich, remember? — you could put it in Wagner’s personal safe.

Item No. 455 in the current SCP Auctions catalog is the floor safe once owned by the Flying Dutchman that was kept in his Carnegie, Pennsylvania, home. The minimum bid is $5,000.

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Vitale recalls awesome journey in latest book

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

Is Dick Vitale passionate about basketball? Does he have opinions about the game he loves? Will he do just about anything to promote it? Is he dedicated to fighting children’s cancer? And are we ready for another book?

You know it, baby.

There are many stories about Vitale, the longtime EPSN analyst and former coach at the college level (University of Detroit) and the pros (NBA’s Detroit Pistons). Here’s mine.

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Baseball, family and life’s struggles create a poignant story

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BY BOB D’ANGELOTribune staff

“It’s all right, set it free,” the late singer Tim Krekel once crooned. “It’s all right, we’re all casualties.”

In his debut novel, author Len Joy writes richly and darkly about an American family struggling during a turbulent time in U.S. history. Baseball is not the main focus of

“American Past Time” (Hark! New Era Publishing LLC, $15; paperback and ePublishing; 412 pages), but it does provide a backdrop as Joy follows the Stonemason family of Maple Springs, Missouri, from 1953 to 1973. And like so many novelists, Joy uses baseball as a metaphor for life and the decisions people make. And there are casualties in all walks of life because of some of those decisions.

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