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80 Years Ago: The Iron Horse Says Goodbye 0

Posted on July 04, 2019 by Dean Hybl

Imagine if one of the most iconic athletes of the current era suddenly retired, announced he had an incurable disease and within two years was dead. That is exactly what happened in 1939 when iconic New York Yankees star Lou Gehrig pulled himself out of the lineup after 2,130 consecutive games and then 80 years ago, on July 4, 1939, said goodbye to New York fans with his famous “luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech.

For 13 years, Gehrig was baseball’s most durable player as he famously was in the lineup every day. But durability wasn’t his only strength, he was also the best first baseman of his generation and was a run-producing machine.

Only Gehrig could push the Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth, into the number three spot in the batting order. He drove in 140 or more runs nine times during his career, including 185 RBI during the 1931 season. In 1934 he claimed the triple crown as he hit .363 with 49 home runs and 166 RBI.

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3 Coaching Tips To Help Your Team Succeed 0

Posted on June 28, 2019 by Blake Childress

Coaching little league for the first time? Have you been asked to volunteer? Maybe your kid is part of a team! Read our list below and if you follow these essential little league coaching tips it will only help you to have success.

Did you know that the first Little League was established by a man named Carl E. Stotz in 1939. Stotz always had a dream and he was always set on adult supervision to stop bickering on the sandlot. After being turned down by over fifty businesses, Carl finally convinced a lumber company, a dairy, and a pretzel maker to sponsor some of the teams, for $30 each. On June 6, 1939, the first Little League Baseball game was played at Park Point in Williamsport. In 1939, he officially started up the league. The bases were placed 60 ft apart and the pitcher’s mound was placed 40 ft from home plate.

That was a long time ago, but look how far little league baseball has come today. Without further delay coaching is something you should take pride in and below are three ways you can have an impact on your team.

Coaches Listen

Ever heard the saying that we have two ears and one mouth? Well it is so true and something that coaches need to do. Yes as a coach you must get your point across, but you have to understand your players needs and wants. Good coaches listen to their athletes. They take time to understand their athletes and what’s motivating them.  It’s by listening to their athletes and through understanding what’s motivating them that good coaches are able to build strong connections. Listening will in return actually help you as a coach learn and you may not even realize it at the time. Developing connections and listening will allow for trust and respect to be established between you and the players on your team.

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Remembering the Topps Candy Lids 1

Posted on April 28, 2019 by Joe Juhasz

1970/1972/1973 Topps Candy Lids
Checklist & Values


1973 Topps Candy Lids Box 1973 Topps Candy Lids Tub Topps has tried many crazy products, often called “test issues”. Test issues were usually only distributed in limited areas and were difficult to find. Candy Lids were one of Topps most unusual; little tubs of candy with player’s photos on bottom of the 1 7/8″ lids. The 10 cent candy’s came 24 to a box. Sealed tubs can still be found in the $150 to $200 range. Called “Baseball Stars Bubble Gum”, the 1970 Topps Candy Lids set had 24 different players, while 1973 Topps Candy Lids had 55.

1970 Topps Candy Lids Front 1970 Topps Candy Lids Back 1972 Topps Candy Lids Ryan Topps released their first Candy Lids in 1970. The 1970 Topps Candy Lids are very, very hard to find and had small photos of Tom Seaver, Carl Yastrzemski and Frank Howard.

In 1973 the candy was replaced by gum, the mini photo of Frank Howard was gone from the top of the lid and team logos were airburshed off the player’s caps. Even the tiny Yaz and Seaver photos logos removed. 1973 Topps Candy Lids are hard to find, but not nearly as scarce as the 1970’s. In 1972 a Topps Candy Lids issue was planned but never released although a few proofs do exist.

1973 Topps Comics Topps released two other test issue sets in 1973 (1973 Topps Pinups and 1973 Topps Comics). The 1973 Topps Comics and 1973 Topps Candy Lids shared many photos and again had no team logos. If thinking “licensing dispute”, you are likely right. Topps received player’s union’s permission for these test issues, but not Major League Baseball’s. Issues over rights & fees with MLBPA and the player’s union resulted in Topps started shutting down future production of test issues putting an end to some of their most fun collectibles.

Click for complete 1973 Topps Candy Lids Checklist and Prices
Note: You may be on that page right now.

Remembering the 1956 Topps Baseball Cards 0

Posted on April 20, 2019 by Joe Juhasz

1956 Topps Baseball Cards
Checklist & Values


1956 Topps Wax Box 1956 Topps Wax Pack My fondness for 1956 Topps started way back in 1964 when I first started collecting as an 11 year old. My friends and I wandered nearby neighborhoods in search of “old cards”. Back then, the oldest cards we ever found in dealing with other kids were 1957 Topps.

Eventually I saw my first 1956 Topps card – I was hooked. It was larger, thicker, fluffier making it look much, much older compared to a 1-year old 1957. “Ancient” we thought.

I changed neighborhoods in 1966 leaving my childhood friends behind. Before I left, except for a small cigar box of my favorites, I “donated” all my cards to the neighborhood – and stopped collecting. I had a great 3 year run but sure wish I would have been collecting in 1966 and 1967 with those tough high numbers. I would have loved to have had a cigar box full of them in place of my hoard of 1964 Topps Felix Mantilla and Gary Peters cards.

The regular 1956 Topps baseball card set is one of my favorites. Topps again went with a slightly larger (3-3/4″ by 2 5/8″) horizontal card design, similar to their 1955 Topps cards. Several of the portraits are even the same used on 1955 Topps cards some even back to 1954 Topps. 1956 was Topps first issue to feature team cards and checklists. A much more boring addition was the addition of the 2 league presidents.

With Bowman gone, Topps could again make cards of Mickey Mantle missing from Topps issues since 1953. After Mickey Mantle, it is a fun and simple set to complete with no high numbers or extremely expensive rookies with Hall-of-Famer Luis Aparicio being the top rookie.

For the serious 1956 collector, there are over 200 variations, making things extremely difficult for master set collectors. Most the variations deal with card stock (gray or white backs).
Cards #1-100 gray backs scarcer with slight premium
Cards #101-180 white backs much scarcer with larger premium
… rumor has it gray outnumbers white about 9-to-1 in the above run.

There are also several cards with color line variations on front. For example: Ted Williams’ card has either no line over his name or a thin green, red, blue, or yellow line between the white border for a total of 5 variations. Whitey Ford and Early Wynn also have no line or a thin red or yellow lines. In addition, many team cards had 3 different variations with team name either on the Left, Center or Right.

1956 Topps Hank Aaron 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle
There are a few uncorrected errors, the most famous being card #31 Hank Aaron which actually pictures Willie Mays sliding home ! Card #135 Mickey Mantle is also an interesting card. Exciting card pictures Mantle leaping high into the stands trying to catch a home run ball. The artist did a great job and Mantle makes the catch !!! An awesome play to put on this great card – right ? Only problem is that on the real play, Mantle missed the ball. 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle Catch
And as always for vintage Topps sets, take a quick look at Don Mossi and his famous ears !

Collectors of 1956 Topps likely love Topps side issue ‘1956 Topps Pins’ which used the same portrait photos as the cards. Seems collectors preferred cards to pins and Topps cut the 1956 Topps Pin set from a planned 90 pins to just 60.
Click for complete 1956 Topps PINS Checklist and Prices

Click for complete 1956 Topps Baseball card checklist, values and prices.
Note: You may be on that page right now.

Remembering the Great Frank Robinson 0

Posted on February 07, 2019 by Dean Hybl

Frank Robinson-OriolesThe baseball universe is missing a major star today with the passing of all-time great Frank Robinson. Anytime you use the words “only” and “first” in someone’s biography, you know that they were probably quite special.

That is certainly the case for Robinson during his playing days as well as throughout his career as a manager and administrator.

There are many superlatives to share about what Robinson accomplished on the field, but one thing that makes him stand out is that he remains the only player in Major League Baseball history to earn the Most Valuable Player Award in both the American and the National Leagues.

Starting his career with the Cincinnati Reds in 1956, Robinson blasted 38 home runs and was named the National League Rookie of the Year. He quickly joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente as one of the elite outfielders in the National League.

In his first seven major league seasons, Robinson eclipsed 30 home runs six times and the other season hit 29. He was a regular .300 or better hitter and annually ranked near the top of the league in runs batted in.

He reached new heights during the 1961 campaign when he was named the National League MVP while leading the Reds to the National League Pennant and a spot in the World Series. He hit 37 home runs with 124 RBI and a .323 batting average. Read the rest of this entry →

Ideas for the Best Sports Themed Vacations in the USA 0

Posted on November 09, 2018 by John Harris

The Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore is one of many cool sports destinations for a sports themes vacation.

The Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore is one of many cool sports destinations for a sports themes vacation.

If you’re a devoted sports fan, there’s a good chance you grab every opportunity to watch your favorites on television, and with very few sports not getting airtime on one of the hundreds of channels available, that’s a lot of sport! Watching on TV is great, but how often do you get to see sports played live? There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of a sporting arena, being able to see what goes down as it happens while you’re surrounded by thousands of other passionate devotees of your team or country.

The problem is it’s not a cheap day out in many cases, especially for the more popular sports, and it can be hard to justify spending hundreds of dollars on watching a ball game you could have stayed at home and watched for considerably less. One answer to the problem is to combine your love of sports with your annual vacation, or even a weekend away with the family. Everyone gets to enjoy the activities they’re interested in, and you get to breathe in the atmosphere of some of the most exciting and interesting sports grounds and sports-related tourist attractions, all as part of the cost of a vacation you’d have taken anyway.

Why you should take a sports-themed vacation

The chance to see and experience these places and events is something you’ll remember forever, so it’s worth making an effort to organize a few tours and attend a live event.

If you’re managing on a restricted budget, you obviously don’t want to overstretch yourself financially. However, there are still options out, therefore, you, as you can consider looking into personal loans for bad credit that can actually improve your credit ratings if you make sure the repayments are always made on time. It does you good to have memorable experiences, and may well be more rewarding than most other possessions and activities you spend your money on, so don’t let money stand in the way of living life to the full.

Baseball

Cooperstown, New York, is a must visit place for baseball fans, as you can tour The National Baseball Hall of Fame, and see where the game was invented at Doubleday Field. There’s also the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, where you can see eerily lifelike wax models of all your baseball heroes.

The movie Field of Dreams is a baseball-themed legend, and you can see what it feels like to play on the Iowa baseball diamond; a real treat for a family day out. Wrigley Park is a few hours to the east, where there are guided tours of one of the country’s most famous ballparks.

Louisville, Kentucky, may be best known for its horse racing and as being the birthplace of Muhammad Ali, but there are plenty of other sporting attractions, and baseball fans can watch a fascinating demonstration of bat-making as part of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.

Further north in Boston, is another legendary stadium. Take a tour around Fenway Park and get to the heart of what it feels like to play on this iconic ballpark.

Babe Ruth has to be one of the best-known names in baseball, and you can visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. If you’re more of a Ty Cobb fan, then his museum is a bit further south, in Royston, Atlanta. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Tony Oliva: Hall of Fame Worthy
      April 21, 2019 | 5:18 pm
      Tony Oliva

      Cuba is known for producing great baseball talent and there has arguably been no one from the island better than the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

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