Pin Highlight: Olive Garden 2017 Little League World Series Pin

Who doesn’t love the Olive Garden?  That list is fairly short.  Their pasta, soup, salad, and bread sticks are all delicious.  Its been almost two months since the Little League World Series came to an end, and there are still some pins that have yet to popup online.  One such pin comes from the Olive Garden.

During the 2016 Little League World Series the Olive Garden in Williamsport had pins.  A few of them have showed up for sale, but not recently.  This year’s pin has been seen even less.  You would think these would be all over the place given that the Olive Garden is a popular restaurant.  Especially when the world comes to Williamsport and people need to eat.  I think the price has a lot to do with it.  The Olive Garden charged $10 for one of these pins, or it was free with the purchase of a dessert.  Considering their pins are very small in size, that’s a lot of money.  Little was done to advertise them too.  It was basically word of mouth.  You know no advertising was done when you see a local fence company (Kriger Fence) have more pins show up on the secondary market compared to the Olive Garden.  Trust me, more people passed through the Olive Garden during the Little League World Series than Kriger Fence.

Most businesses in Williamsport don’t sell their Little League pins over the internet.  Almost all of them need to be acquired in person or on eBay.  Limited availability like this can drive up the demand for certain pins.  Which pins won’t end up surfacing that much is a total shot in the dark.  Fifty years from now we could learn that a pin was made for the ’17 LLWS and only be hearing about it for the first time.

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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.

Pin Highlight: Little League Store ESPN Pin

Exactly one month from today the 2017 Little League World Series begins.  People from all over the world will flock to Williamsport, PA.  Collectible pins sold at the official Little League Store and other businesses throughout Williamsport have begun to slowly popup.  Pins from Dolly’s Diner and the Thomas T. Taber Museum are already available.  As the Little League World Series approaches, many more will follow.  The Little League Store doesn’t sell all of their pins online.  A lot of neat ones can only be purchased in person.  I just added a new glow-in-the-dark superhero-themed Dugout pin to my collection.

ESPN issues pins for the Little League World Series every year.  They have for a long time.  Who and how they are distributed is a total mystery.  They show up on eBay, but I’ve never seen anyone from ESPN hand them out.  Other collectors have wondered the same thing.  While supplies last, the Little League Store now sells an ESPN pin.  This is brand new for 2017.  Enough people complained over the years about not getting an ESPN pin, so they decided to make one for sale.  I bet these will sell fast.  There is no year printed on them.  Because of that, Little League might have plans to use this pin design for a while.  Either way, its an official Little League ESPN pin.

“Pin-Up” of the Week: Chicago Cubs Sports Crate Bringin’ the Heat Pin

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In May, collectors who purchased a Sports Crate began to receive their box full of goodies.  For each month of the MLB season, you can have a box of team-oriented items sent straight to your front door.  As of right now, only ten MLB teams are available.  You can pay $39.99 per crate or $179.99 for the whole season.

Given that the people behind Loot Crate are the same ones behind Sports Crate, I think this has a lot of fun potential.  The items inside are exclusive to Sports Crate.  Even Topps has made special cards for them.

This isn’t the first sports-themed subscription box service.  A few years ago, Collector Crate gave it a shot but quickly went out of business.  Some collectors have been a fan of The Loot Locker.  But everything inside a Loot Locker box has been around for a while and isn’t anything new.  In my opinion, you need to put some serious money behind a service like this in order for it to be successful.  Exclusive in-demand items are key.  I look forward to seeing what else they roll out.  Hopefully the Phillies are coming soon.  It would be neat if Sports Crate came to the National Sports Collectors Convention and sold special boxes.

Loot Crate is known for including pins in their boxes.  This seems to have carried over to Sports Crate too.  “Bringin’ the Heat” was the theme for May, so each box came with a team logo pin surrounded in fire.  On the back of the pin’s package it says “The original Bringin’ the Heat pin was designed by your friends at Sports Crate.  It was created to be either worn or displayed.  Since there are a limited number of these in existence be sure to take good care of it.  You never know what it will be worth someday.”  They’ve been selling for $13 on the secondary market.  I highly doubt they’ll ever increase in value, but its nice of them to give you a heads up.

“Pin-Up” of the Week: 2016 LLWS – The Crazy Tomato Pin

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I’m really excited for the Little League World Series this year.  On August 20th, the Pirates and Cardinals will play a regular season game at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport.  Only Little League players and their families are invited.  It would be great if Topps made a Topps Now card to commemorate this event.

The other great part of the Little League World Series is the endless amount of pins.  One of the wackier pins I own comes from a restaurant located in Williamsport called The Crazy Tomato.  They’ve been in business for 10+ years, but I can only remember their pins first popping-up in 2015.  I like their tomato mascot dude.  It reminds me of a monster the Power Rangers would encounter or Attack of the Killer Tomatos.

“Pin-Up” of the Week: 2017 NFL Draft Pittsburgh Steelers Dan Rooney Tribute Pin

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Owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dan Rooney, passed away on April 13, 2017.  He was the son of Steelers founder Art Rooney.  Owners typically don’t have that many cards, but Dan Rooney had a few.

His most popular cards include:

  • 2000 Goal Line Art Hall of Fame #203
  • 2000 Goal Line Art Hall of Fame Auto #203
  • 2000 Goal Line Art Hall of Fame Gold Auto #’ed/100
  • 2000 Topps Hall of Fame Class of 2000 #4
  • 2000 Topps Hall of Fame Class of 2000 Auto

In honor of Dan Rooney’s passing, Steelers staff wore the above pin during the 2017 NFL Draft.  I don’t have a problem with the Steelers wanting to pay tribute to Dan Rooney with this pin.  From a collecting standpoint it could easily cause some problems though.

With Dan Rooney passing away only two weeks prior to the start of the draft, there probably wasn’t enough time to design a new tribute pin from scratch.  Instead they had to improvise with what they had.  The Steelers simply took one of their misty gold lapel pins and pinned it to a green ribbon.

Does anyone else see a potential problem here?  What stops someone from buying a misty gold lapel pin for $4.95 and pinning it to easily accessible green ribbon which can be found at any craft store?  The answer is nothing.  Anyone could do that while attempting to spin a tale that it came from a Steelers staff member during the draft.

The odds of an authentic one showing up for sale are slim.  I highly doubt a large amount were put together.  It would be in poor taste if someone from the Steelers did try and make money off of it.  But it has been known to happen before.  I can imagine an authentic pin would fetch quite a bit more than $5.  The only way I’d trust that one of these Dan Rooney tribute pins is authentic is if I received one directly from a Steelers staff member.  Otherwise you’d never know.

“Pin-Up” of the Week: 2001 National Sports Collectors Convention – Cleveland Pin

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  The National Sports Collectors Convention needs to have more show-branded merchandise.  Not just promotional cards.  Baltimore is the only location I saw them selling shirts.  I want to see more shirts, pins, hats, figurines, and bobbleheads all made specially for the National.  In 2002, Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen bobbleheads were floating around the National when it was held in Chicago.  National-themed McFarlane figures popup too, along with OYO minifigures.  They’ve lightly touched on these things in the past, but I think more innovative souvenirs could be made.

Tickets for the 38th National Sports Collectors Convention went on sale this week.  It will be held July 26-30 in Chicago.  I won’t be attending this year.  Things are looking good for Cleveland in 2018 though.  Between Cleveland, Baltimore, and Atlantic City, I enjoy the layout of the I-X Center in Cleveland the most.  By then, I might need some new Sports Card Info pins to handout.