Product Highlight: 1996 Best Harrisburg Senators Team Set

Today I was planning to watch the Harrisburg Senators take on the Bowie Baysox on City Island in Harrisburg, PA.  I guess we all know that’s not going to happen due to COVID-19.  This was going to be my first bobblehead giveaway of the year too.  Fans were going to receive a bobblehead of Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner.

In early March I purchased three sets of tickets for some minor league games.  Two in Harrisburg, and one in Lancaster.  With MLB looking to play half of a season starting in July with no fans in attendance, I highly doubt MiLB would be much different.  It wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t play at all.  I’d like to get my money back for these tickets, but all I can do right now is exchange them for other tickets to a 2020 game.  This makes no sense because even if they do play fans most likely won’t be allowed in to watch.  I think they’re just holding out for as long as possible on giving refunds.  Its possible they’re holding on to the tiniest bit of hope that perhaps a certain percentage of fans might be allowed to attend.  You can’t blame them for doing so.  Tons of money has been lost already.  The last thing they want to do is dish out refunds.

In 1997 I attended my first professional baseball game on City Island.  The game was between the Harrisburg Senators and New Haven Ravens.  While sitting in my seat, a Ravens player walked by and gave me a broken bat.  To this very day I do not know who that player was.  I like to think it was Todd Helton as he was part of the Rockies minor league system at the time.

Heading in to the game, I remember stopping at a souvenir booth.  Team sets for the 1997 roster hadn’t been released yet, so I bought one leftover from the 1996 season.  The two most recognizable names on the 29-card checklist are Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Vidro.  Both players already had cards in nationally distributed sets prior to this team set release.

Harrisburg Senators vs. Trenton Thunder – Star Wars Day

The Harrisburg Senators, Double-A of the Washington Nationals, is a regular stop for me when it comes to obtaining stadium giveaway bobbleheads.  My first bobblehead giveaway of the year took place on May 4, 2019 – Star Wars Day!  This has become a big deal all over the country for both major and minor league teams.  Combing Star Wars with baseball is a fantastic idea.

Juan “Solo” Soto bobbleheads were a huge draw.  This was the busiest Senators game I’d ever attended.  A limit of 1,500 bobbleheads were given out.  Arriving an hour before the gates opened was a good idea.  Moments after getting in line, the crowd ended up going down the steps and wrapping around the side of the stadium.  Unless they paid extra for a special ticket guaranteeing them a bobblehead, not everyone was able to get one.

Cheeseburger, fries, and Hershey’s chocolate ice-cream made for a good dinner.  Lots of Star Wars characters were in attendance.  All were encouraged to take pictures with the fans.

None of the names on the Senators starting lineup stood out to me.  But one did for the Trenton Thunder, Double-A of the New York Yankees – Clint Frazier.  Clint Frazier is one of the many injured players the Yankees have had this season.  He’s down there right now doing some rehab, and is expected to make it back to the Yankees shortly.

Harrisburg won 6-5.  The bobblehead turned out very well.  Juan Soto is in that famous Han Solo pose.  Instead of a blaster, he’s got a glove.  Even the box got a lot of attention.  It has graphics on each side.  Way better than the standard white cardboard.

My next bobblehead giveaway game is on July 20, 2019.  Back in Harrisburg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

How was your Star Wars Day?  I FINALLY got caught, and a couple of Stormtroopers sent me to the trash compactor.

The odds of me surviving this are 3,720 to 1.

Life-size bobbleheads received a new paint job.

Clint Frazier at bat.

Clint Frazier

Clint Frazier

Harrisburg Senators vs. Altoona Curve – 5/26/18 – Strasburg Life Size Bobblehead Unveiling

Twenty-one years ago I attended my first professional baseball game on City Island to watch the Harrisburg Senators take on the New Haven Ravens.  Its a game I’ll never forget because one of the Ravens players gave me a free bat while walking by my section.  I still have that bat hanging on my wall.  I have no clue as to who the player was, but I like to imagine it was Todd Helton.

This summer I’m set to attend one minor league game per month.  All bobblehead giveaways.  My first game this summer took me back to City Island where it all began.  The Harrisburg Senators (AA of the Nationals) were taking on the Altoona Curve (AA of the Pirates).  Two Washington Nationals players, Brian Goodwin and Daniel Murphy, were down with the Senators doing some rehab work.  On Saturday night the Senators inducted Stephen Strasburg into their Life Size Bobblehead Hall of Fame.  The first 1,500 fans through the gates received a replica bobblehead.  Altoona went on to beat the Senators 10-6.

For awhile, the ballpark food at FNB Field seemed fairly normal.  Last year however, I discovered the River City Grille which is located around the backside of the stadium.  Their burgers and fries are superb.  Its become a “must-have” now when I go.  The Hershey’s ice cream next door is good too.

The Harrisburg Senators will have a card featured in 2018 Topps Pro Debut.  It will be part of the Fragments of the Farm set featuring a piece of base from FNB Field.

New video screen above the main gates

Vladimir Guerrero, Cliff Floyd, Bryce Harper, Matt Stairs, Brandon Phillips, Stephen Strasburg

Will Craig of the Altoona Curve

Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy

Harrisburg Sports Card Show – February 18, 2017

It has been a long time since I’ve attended a classic shopping mall sports card show.  There has been a steady stream of them around, but none really worth going to.  On the Thursday night news during the sports segment, I overheard them state that there would be a show at the Harrisburg Mall February 17-19.  In addition to that, they also mentioned some Pittsburgh Steelers were scheduled to sign autographs.  This definitely sounded like a show worth checking out.

The Harrisburg Sports Card Show is put on by show promoter Carl Hisiro.  Autograph guests for the weekend included three Steelers – Jesse James, Stephon Tuitt, and Sean Davis.  Former Eagles wide receiver Vince Papale was also on the list to sign.  I decided to take my black/gold Penn State football and get Jesse James to autograph it.  I think it turned out really well.  By the looks of it, I bet they sold at least (200) tickets just for Jesse James.  That number might be low.  It makes perfect sense for a lot of collectors to want him given that he is a Steeler and went to Penn State.  The line moved fairly quickly as they called by ticket number.  I was #114.  While I was there, everything seemed to be running very smoothly.  It didn’t take long to get a ticket, they had merchandise you could buy to get signed, and Jesse James arrived right on time.

As for the card show portion, I’d say there were (20-25) dealers.  I didn’t see that many selling new sealed hobby boxes.  One dealer had a truckload of retail boxes though.  A good mix of vintage and new single cards could be seen.  One dealer had a few Harry Kalas bobbleheads, but I already owned them.  The one card I did inquire about was a Mike Schmidt 2001 Topps Archives Rookie Reprint Bat Relic.  There was no visible price on it, but the card was in a case with other cards listed for $10-$20.  After asking the dealer how much it cost, I found out there was a $50 price written on the back.  The lowest they would go was $40.  Well overpriced.

Overall it was a decent show.  The autograph guests are what caught my attention.  This takes me back to when I first started collecting, and met Scott Rolen at a mall show in 1996-97.

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Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James

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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

Card of the Day: Jeff Banister 1989 Harrisburg Senators Star #2

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Senators Dump 7/11/15 Star Wars Bobblehead

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Fans have a bone to pick with the Harrisburg Senators (AA of the Washington Nationals).  This evening I was suppose to watch the Senators take on the Erie SeaWolves during Star Wars night.  The first 1,000 fans through the gates were to receive a Star Wars themed two-sided bobblehead.  As a bobblehead collector and Star Wars fan, I thought this would be a fun giveaway to get.  Now it doesn’t seem like that is going to happen.

I’ve been watching the Senators schedule closely in an attempt to perhaps get a look at this two-sided Star Wars bobblehead.  But no picture was ever made available.  After the season began, I noticed a t-shirt was placed on the promotional schedule for the same day as this bobblehead.  Up until last week both the bobblehead and t-shirt were listed as giveaways for Saturday, July 11th.  Teams usually don’t have two giveaways on one night, but I really didn’t think anything of it.  Near the end of last week though the information about the bobblehead had completely disappeared.  All that was left was the t-shirt.

I sent an e-mail to the Senators asking them what had happened to the bobblehead and received this response from their General Manager:

Unfortunately LucasFilms did not give us permission to do the Star Wars bobble.  We had it all designed and they pulled it.   Have to settle for the shirt.  Sorry about that.

I don’t see how you can put on the schedule that you’ll be giving away a bobblehead with this kind of popularity before obtaining permission from LucasFilms.  In their response to my Facebook post they state this change was made all the way back in April.  I don’t remember the Senators making any kind of announcement about this change either.  They just made the change, but yet left the bobblehead info on the schedule too.  This looks very sloppy from the consumer’s end.  With all that being said, I wonder what it looked like?

This isn’t the first time I’ve had problems with the Senators.  A few years ago, their Bryce Harper bobbleheads didn’t arrive in time to be given out.  Instead they handed out a redemption coupon that required you to come back at a later date to pick up your bobblehead.

Even though it still is Star Wars night at Metro Bank Park, I’ve decided not to go.  The Williamsport Crosscutters are having a bobblehead night this upcoming Friday.  I’ll be there!

I take my bobblehead giveaways very seriously.  Only Clark Griswold can describe how I felt when I heard about the cancelled bobblehead.

Harrisburg Senators vs. Binghamton Mets – 8/4/13

Sunday afternoon was a great day to watch the Harrisburg Senators take on the Binghamton Mets.  The Mets started the game with a lead off triple, and their momentum sure didn’t stop.  In the end, the Senators lost 6-0.  These were probably some of the best seats we’ve ever had for taking photos.  Its great to be behind home plate, but the net would always get in the way.  Down third baseline was much better.  It was Drew Storen bobblehead day, and I picked up four new pins for my collection.

I will say this.  The Senators serve the best tasting soft pretzels.

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Senators 1B Justin Bloxom at bat.  Bloxom has 58 RBIs this season and has cards in 2010 Topps Pro Debut and 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition.

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The first 1,000 fans through the gate received a Drew Storen bobblehead.

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Rascal stopped by while I was watching the game.  As you can see, I was wearing my 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention shirt and an official Sports Card Album hat.  I sorta felt like that clip from Wayne’s World…haha!

Phillies & Steelers Card Show Day!

Today I attended the 34th annual Ephrata Lions Club Sports Card & Memorabilia Show.  The show takes place at the Ephrata Rec Center which is in Ephrata, PA.  I’ve been attending this show ever since my early days of collecting.  How long ago is that?  Well lets just say that when I first started going I would buy older packs (1987 Topps) and hope to pull a valuable card.  Overproduction was not a word in my vocabulary at the time.

The main reason why I go is because they usually have a lot of Phillies stuff.  In addition to that, the Lions Club brings in a good Phillies player from the past to sign autographs.

My pickups include the following:

  • Harry Kalas 2012 Reading Phillies talking bobblehead
  • Darin Ruf 2010 Bowman Chrome #122
  • Veteran Stadium – 1971 – 2003 – Final Season pin
  • (1) 2012 Topps Valor Football box – break/review can be seen here

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Former Phillies pitcher Steve Bedrosian was signing autographs for fans.  Bedrosian won the N.L. Cy Young Award in 1987 and got a World Series win with the Twins in 1991.

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I’ve been wanting to pick one of these Harry Kalas talking bobbleheads up for awhile.  Upon pushing the button, you can hear Harry call the last out of the 2008 World Series.

At the same time the Lions Club Sports Card & Memorabilia Show was going on, over at the Harrisburg Mall the Big 33 was holding their own show.  Since we pass the mall on the way home, it couldn’t hurt to stop in.  When we arrived people were lined up all the way down the entire length of the mall.  Everyone was waiting for Franco Harris.  About five minutes of waiting, Franco Harris came walking by, said “Hello”, and went to work.  There were many other players from the Steelers, Penn State, and Notre Dame scheduled to sign this weekend.

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Bryce Harper Harrisburg Senators Bobblehead Is Here!

If you recall, last weekend I went to see the Harrisburg Senators play the New Britain Rock Cats.  It was suppose to be Bryce Harper bobblehead night, but they didn’t arrive on time.  Starting today you could pick them up if you were one of the first 1,000 fans through the gate and received a voucher.  Looks pretty cool!!!

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