Record Pin Haul During The 2017 Little League World Series

40.  That’s how many new pins I obtained for my collection this year.  I believe that is a new record.  Some of them I got for free, others I bought, and I even took a handful of my Sports Card Info pins to use for trading.  It really helps to have your own line of pins when it comes to trading.  Most collectors have never seen them before.

Every year more and more businesses in the surrounding area make pins.  I live about an hour away from Williamsport and a few businesses in my town like Budget Bakery and Murray Motors Chevrolet has pins.  As they should, considering not everyone visiting the Little League World Series can stay in Williamsport.

Over the past few years, Little League and many of it’s corporate sponsors have become heavily reliant on these electronic wristbands.  These are used for various activities and assist in getting you eligible for giveaways.  From my point of view and for what I’m there for, I find them to be intrusive.  But for the kids and the things they use them for I can see a reason for having them.  Their activities can keep them busy all day long.  And I think that’s the point.  Personally, I’m there for pins.

After spending a few hours on the Little League campus scoring as many free pins as possible and making some trades with other collectors and ushers, it was time to head downtown.  I hit up the Chamber of Commerce, The Clothier, Bullfrog Brewery, and Genetti Hotel.  All of them have pins.  Williamsport’s Golden Strip is loaded with businesses that I’ve never had pins from before.  KFC, Dolly’s Diner, Olive Garden, Aquarius Pools, Kriger Fence, The Taber Museum, and Bimbo Bakeries are all new places I got pins from.  You could easily spend all ten days of the Little League World Series hunting for pins.

Merchandise for the 2017 MLB Little League Classic featuring the Pirates and Cardinals is available over at Little League.  I got a new t-shirt and a few pins.  I’ve been to Historic Bowman Field many times.  For the most part, that game was for Little League players and their families.  A local lottery was held for Lycoming County residents so some fans from the general public could attend.  I hope they make this game an annual event.

One day it would be great to see Topps have a corporate booth setup at Little League.

I’ll do anything for a free pin.

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On Location: Inside The Penn State All-Sports Museum

Located inside Beaver Stadium is the Penn State All-Sports Museum.  Shortly after it opened in 2002, I remember taking a tour through it.  That was long before Sports Card Info existed, and I’ve always wanted to go back.  That’s exactly what I did over the weekend.

This museum is a mecca for Penn State fans.  Between the two floors it covers major moments from every sport they’re involved in.  Penn State memorabilia galore.  Given that the school was founded in 1855, it has a lot of history.  Football probably gets the most coverage, but all sports get their good share of recognition.  You don’t need to be a Penn State fan to appreciate all of the historical artifacts on display here.  Just being a sports fan is enough.

Once you’re finished visiting the museum, a guide will take you into the stadium.  Getting to see the field without anyone else around is really cool.  Usually the place is packed with 100,000 fans.

Before leaving, I stopped by the gift shop and found a new pin for my collection.  I was looking for a bobblehead, but didn’t find any.  The closest I got to a bobblehead was a Penn State-themed nutcracker.

I didn’t realize that John Montgomery Ward attended Penn State.  He assisted in helping them start their baseball program, and played one season for them in 1875.  Then he got kicked out for stealing some chickens.  Ward eventually went on to have a very successful professional baseball career.  The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted him in 1964.  You can find cards of him in the 19th century Allen & Ginter and Old Judge sets.

If you’re passing through State College, PA I highly suggest stopping.  They don’t charge for admission, but donations are appreciated.

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The 1886 College Nine.  Standing: Halter, Jackson, Rose, Mock, Quigley, Mitchell.  Seated: McLean, Gibson, McClaren, Lencz.  Robert Gibson actually made it to the pros.

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Vintage Penn State baseball memorabilia.  Two game baseballs from 1905 and one from 1906.

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John Cappelletti’s Heisman trophy

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1986 National Championship trophy

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1969 Orange Bowl trophy

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Early 1900s basketball jersey.  Game ball from 1921.

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The Gene Wettstone Most Valuable Gymnast Award

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The Nittany Lion mascot is based on the eastern mountain lion which went extinct during the late 1800s.  This one was shot in 1856.  Considering the techniques for stuffing an animal back then are nothing like they are today, its in great condition.  Its probably one of the finest examples of a taxidermied eastern mountain lion.

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Sears sponsored fencing trophies.  When was the last time Sears could sponsor anything?

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2016 Little League World Series Pin Finds

The Little League World Series is a mecca when it comes to pins.  You can find them literally everywhere.  Over on the Little League grounds you’ll find corporate sponsors handing out pins all the time.  Certain sponsors hand out a specific amount of pins at different times throughout the day.  Others require you to register and wear some type of bracelet and/or complete a carnival-like game.  I’m not a fan of the whole bracelet registration idea.  It seems to be universal this year and covers multiple corporate booths.  I know these organizations like to collect information about people, but sometimes it can be a little annoying.  You shouldn’t have to sign your life away.  Sometimes marketing “experts” can take things over the top.  Luckily many of the employees representing these companies understand if you didn’t register and get a bracelet.  For the most part they’ll give you a pin anyway.  Based on my experience this year, Honda was very understanding about this.  Kellogg’s not so much.  Its been getting more and more like this over the last few years.  Fully anticipating that I would run into this situation, I took a handful of my Sports Card Info pins with me to use as trade bait.  That was a good idea, because I ended up using all of them.  To each his own.  I’m sure many people think the bracelet thing is a great idea.

Before the corporate booths opened up, I took a look around the gift shop that is located on the concourse.  The gift shop will get full as the day goes on.  That’s why its best to visit it early.  Little League now sells a 4-card set that contains actual infield dirt from Volunteer and Lamade Stadium.  The three Lamade Stadium cards are individually numbered out of (300), while the Volunteer Stadium one is the rarest with only (100).  All four cards are made by Choice Marketing SportsCards.  Choice is known for making minor league team sets, but I’ve never seen them make relic cards.  I pulled the trigger on the Volunteer Stadium relic.

Pins are not limited to just being found around Little League.  Many businesses throughout Williamsport make pins each year.  Some give them away, and others you can purchase.  Dunkin’ Donuts, Genetti Hotel, and Dairy Queen have become regular stops.  Dairy Queen ran out of pins after three days.  Not every business advertises that they have pins.  The Clothier gave me a redemption coupon to get a free 2016 Grand Slam Parade pin at the Chamber of Commerce, and referred me to Kinley Jewelers.  Kinley Jewelers referred me to the Bullfrog Brewery.  4th Street in Williamsport ended up being a gold mine.  Tons of businesses have pins.  The possibilities are endless.  I ended up coming home with (24) pins.  About half of them were free.  I’ve never had pins from Kinley Jewelers or the Bullfrog Brewery before.

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Casey At The Bat statue

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2016 Choice Little League World Series Volunteer Stadium Authentic Game-Used Infield Dirt Relic #’ed/100

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Honda

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Dunkin’ Donuts

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Bomb Pop

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Bullfrog Brewery

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Kinley Jewelers

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The Clothier

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Canon

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Little League District OH-5 blue helmet gator batter

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2016 Grand Slam Parade

Harrisburg Senators vs. Akron RubberDucks – 7/9/16 – Floyd Life-Sized Bobblehead Unveiled

Its almost been twenty years since I attended my first professional baseball game on City Island.  After the Harrisburg Senators (AA of the Nationals) cancelled their Star Wars-themed bobblehead last year I wasn’t sure if I’d go back.  But given how close I am to this stadium, it doesn’t take much for me to change my mind.

On Saturday, July 9th, the Harrisburg Senators gave out Cliff Floyd bobbleheads to the first 1,500 fans.  This bobblehead is an exact replica of the life-sized bobblehead of him they unveiled before the game.  Back in April they did the same thing with Vladimir Guerrero, and next month the Senators will do it with Bryce Harper.  Guerrero, Floyd, and Harper will round out their inaugural life-sized Bobblehead Hall of Fame class.  This was the first time I had ever seen a life-sized bobblehead in person.  I wasn’t sure where they were going to be located.  It turned out that both of them were right behind my seat near the end of the walkway.  They look really cool.  Cliff Floyd was suppose to be there, but couldn’t make it.  Instead he sent a video message.  I think after the season ends, these giant bobbleheads will be moved to a more permanent location.

This was the first time I had been to a Senators game since First National Bank purchased Metro Bank.  Nothing really changed much other than the signs.  Before grabbing some dinner, I took a look around the gift shop.  I picked up a 25th and 30th anniversary pin, plus a Forever Collectibles Harrisburg Senators retro-bobblehead.  When returning to my seat with chicken fingers, fries, and ice cream, I found a baseball scout in my spot.  He was just looking for a place to sit.  I thought he wanted to sign me to a team.  For a second there I thought I might get a deal like Mickey Moniak.  Once again my athletic talent has been overlooked.

The Senators played the Akron RubberDucks on Saturday and lost 6-3.
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RubberDucks pitcher Rob Kaminsky

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Kaminsky and catcher Jeremy Lucas

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Senators pitcher Phillips Valdez

Lehigh Valley IronPigs vs. Buffalo Bisons – 6/19/16

Coca-Cola Park, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Triple A affiliate of the Phillies), is one of the nicest minor league ballparks I’ve been to.  There really isn’t a bad seat in the stadium, unless the temperature is nearing 100° outside.  Then you’d at least want to have a seat in the shade.  My seat was not in the shade, so things got hot pretty fast.  The next time I order tickets I’m going to remember to ask for seats in Section 104 and up.  According to the usher that was working in my section, the game was a complete sellout.  I saw a bunch of empty seats though.  Those people either decided not to come because of the heat or were in attendance but hung out in the shade.

The IronPigs played the Buffalo Bisons (Triple A affiliate of the Blue Jays) on Sunday.  Former Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown currently plays for the Bisons.  So does first basemen Casey Kotchman.  Kotchman played with the Angels for awhile, and then went on to the Braves.  He bounced around with a few other teams, before signing a minor league deal with the Blue Jays.  I remember his rookies were a big deal in 2002.  David Buchanan pitched for the IronPigs, and I got to see Darin Ruf.  Future Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford was also playing.  They say Crawford’s fielding has been good, but his work at the plate could use some improving.

One way to get out of the sun was to visit their Majestic Clubhouse Store.  Compared to last year, it wasn’t stocked as much.  They could’ve been running low on merchandise because of the doubleheader they played the day before.  Either way, I picked-up a new Coca-Cola Park t-shirt and a few lanyards.  With the Little League World Series coming up in August, I’m going to need those lanyards to store pins.  One of the lanyards has a Star Wars theme to it, while the other is covered in bacon.

For lunch I had a cheesesteak.  I’ve eaten hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, and pretzels at games before, but never a cheesesteak.  It was really good.  I finished it off with some chocolate ice cream.  Out of all the ballparks I’ve been to, I think Coca-Cola Park has the widest range of different food options.

The next minor league game I’m scheduled to attend is in Harrisburg on July 9th.  That evening the Senators will be unveiling a life-sized bobblehead of Cliff Floyd.  Cliff Floyd is scheduled to be there, and fans will receive a replica bobblehead.

The IronPigs ended up losing 5-3 in 10 innings.  While going through the gate I received a set of BBQ tools as a giveaway.

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Buffalo Bisons

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Remember this dude from the Angels?

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Darin Ruf (batting) A.J. Jimenez (catching)

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J.P. Crawford leading off 1st base

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Darin Ruf

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J.P. Crawford

Pin Pickups From The 2015 Little League World Series

We’re neck deep into the 2015 Little League World Series.  Games are being played, merchandise is flying off the shelves, and pins are being handed out.

Its hard to believe the first time I went to the Little League World Series I never visited any of the corporate booths.  Now its really the only reason I go.  Sure its free to watch the games, but I can do that at home in the air conditioning.  On Saturday morning I decided to make the annual trip up to South Williamsport to see what was going on.

Arriving early really helps to cut down on traffic.  I arrived in South Williamsport around 10:00 a.m. and the first game didn’t start until 1:00 p.m.  There was no traffic at all.  Before heading over to Little League, I stopped at Reptiland.  Reptiland is a zoo that you pass on the way to Williamsport.  They have a Little League pin this year.  Its a two piece pin.  One part you get at Reptiland and the other you’ll find at the Little League Museum.  In order to get one you have to fight a live gator… just kidding.  After that it was on to Dunkin’ Donuts and Little League.

Most of the corporate booths didn’t open until 11:00 a.m.  Some of these companies are making it more difficult to get pins every year.  Companies like Lance, All, Bomb Pop, and Honda require people to fill out an endless amount of paperwork in order to get a bracelet which can make you eligible for a pin.  I know companies like to collect data for marketing research, but I think in some cases its getting a little ridiculous.  Luckily some of the people working for these companies will just hand you free pins if you ask without having to go through all the red tape.

After spending about three hours at Little League eating lunch and picking up as many pins as possible it was time to leave.  As game time approached the crowd got much larger.  This might have been the biggest crowd I’ve seen at Little League.  Most likely because the Red Land team from York is playing in it.  Lots of businesses in town have specially made Little League pins.  On the way home I stopped by The Clothier and Genetti Hotel.  You could probably spend all day everyday in Williamsport during the Little League World Series and not get every pin.  There are just so many.  Some are more difficult to obtain than others.  ESPN and Oakley pins seem to be the most difficult to find.  I ended up with twenty new pins for my collection.  Just a few of them are duplicates.  About half of them I got for free.

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State College Spikes vs. Mahoning Valley Scrappers – 8/9/15 – The Bus Bobblehead Night

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A lot of fans came out to watch the State College Spikes take on the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Sunday night.  Good baseball wasn’t the only reason people came out though.  It was Jerome Bettis bobblehead night!!!  The first 1,000 fans through the gates received a commemorative Jerome Bettis Hall of Fame Gold Jacket bobblehead.  I think the coolest part of this specific bobblehead is that the platform he’s standing on is in the shape of a bus.  Jerome Bettis was once or still is involved with a company that owns different minor league baseball teams including the Spikes.  That’s why I think they did this.  Plus he was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame over the weekend too and is a PA favorite.

The Spikes went on to win 4-1 over the Scrappers.  Instead of having chicken fingers and fries, I went for a cheeseburger this time.  I could smell them on the grill while waiting to get in.  Everything in the gift shop was 20% off as long as it had black and/or gold on it.  So I picked myself up a new “Fear The Dear” t-shirt.

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LuCKy the Lion from Lion Country Kia.