Pin Highlight: Original vs. Remake 1983 Little League World Series Hot Air Balloon Pins

The East Marietta National Little League team from Marietta, Georgia defeated the Liquito Hernandez Little League team of Barahona, Dominican Republic in the Championship Game of the 1983 Little League World Series.  It was the first time since 1976 that the Championship Game did not feature a team from Taiwan.  Guess what else was a first that year?  Little League released their first official pin.

Are there Little League pins that predate 1983?  Yes.  But none were officially made and released by Little League itself.  This Little League rookie pin is quite simple.  Its a multi-colored hot air balloon that says “Little League WORLD SERIES WILLIAMSPORT, PENNA. USA”.  The year isn’t even printed on it.  Back then this hot air balloon was a common sight in Williamsport when the Little League World Series was going on.  You can even find it on this Baseball Wit trivia game card.

Locating one of these pins for your collection isn’t easy.  When an example becomes available it will set you back about $50.  I can personally guarantee that in 1983 they didn’t cost anywhere near that much.

A word of WARNING.  Always check the back of the pin before buying.  In the 90’s, Little League remade this pin due to it’s popularity.  Little League continued selling these remakes well into the 2000’s.  The remake has the word “CHINA” printed on the back.  Original pins do not.  The backs of original pins are completely blank.  As you can imagine, the remakes don’t carry as much value.

Advertisements

Spikes vs. Black Bears – Ki-Jana Carter Bobblehead Night & Autograph Signing

Last Sunday, the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention came to an end.  But I’m still going.  This show must go on!!!

On Friday night I attended my fourth and final minor league game of the summer.  The game took place in State College, PA between the Spikes and the West Virginia Black Bears.  The Spikes went on to lose 3-2.  A local Shikellamy High School graduate, Nick Dunn, was recently drafted by the Cardinals and plays for the Spikes right now.  I got to see him score.  I suspect he’ll get his first cards in Bowman Draft later this year.

There were two reasons why I wanted to attend this game.  The main objective was to be one of the first 1,000 fans through the gate so I could obtain my Ki-Jana Carter bobblehead.  The former Penn State running back and 1994 All-American was also in attendance.  Before the game started he was down on the field giving interviews, throwing out the first pitch, and handing out additional bobbleheads to fans.  Shortly after the game began, the Spikes had a table setup for him down the first base line.  Once he started signing, the line moved fairly quickly.  I got him to autograph my Rawlings black/gold Penn State football.  Everyone was allowed (1) autograph and (1) photo.  This was the first time I had ever participated in an autograph signing during a baseball game.  It went very smoothly.

Ki-Jana Carter was the Round #1 Pick #1 in the 1995 NFL Draft.  He went on to play for the Bengals, Redskins, Packers, and Saints.  For the price of a ticket, I got a bobblehead, autograph, and photo.  Not too bad.

Penn State running back and 1994 All-American Ki-Jana Carter

Nookie Monster!

State College Spikes second baseman Nick Dunn

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

Q&A – Fleer Tradition vs. Fleer Tradition

Question:  Hi Sports Card Info!  Great site!  I need some help.  Could you please tell me where this Ken Griffey, Jr. 1999 Fleer Tradition card is from?  It looks just like the base, but the card numbering is different?  It doesn’t match up with anything on the checklist.  Have I stumbled across a rare find?  Is there only six copies of this card?  Thanks.

Answer:  Good question.  That specific card and five others did not come out of the typical 1999 Fleer Tradition baseball set.  Spectra Star, a division of Toy Biz which was owned by Marvel at the time, made a series of six baseball card themed kid’s toy kites.  The kites resemble base cards from 1999 Fleer Tradition.  Each kite came packaged with an accompanying card.  You’re correct.  The only difference between the regular cards and the ones included with the kites is the card numbering.  Kites of Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey, Jr., Greg Maddux, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, and Mark McGwire were made.  Many of these kites were sold.  The “3 OF 6” refers to Ken Griffey, Jr. being #3 in the set of six.  It has nothing to do with the amount of copies printed.

Pin Highlight: 2017 MLB Little League Classic – Cardinals vs. Pirates – Baseball Pin

There is no doubt that one of the major highlights during last year’s Little League World Series was the Major League game that took place at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.  In nine innings the Pirates defeated the Cardinals 6-3.  It even got it’s very own Topps Now card.

Three different pins were made to celebrate this inaugural event.  The first two are fairly simple to find.  One features the MLB Little League Classic name with logos from both teams.  A second has Fredbird and the Pirate Parrot on it.  The third pin is what you see pictured above.  As you can probably tell, it has the MLB Little League Classic name, team logos, and is in the shape of a baseball.  Unlike the other two though, this pin was not available for sale over at Little League.  A majority of them were given out to game attendees.  Only Little League players and their families, plus any Lycoming County residents lucky enough to win a lottery were allowed to attend the game.  Not much of the general public made it in.  All pins are made by WinCraft.

Sports Card Info has been known to get me into certain events for free, but this wasn’t one of them.  So how did I get one?  For a short time Fanatics had them for sale.  The day after I purchased mine, Fanatics pulled them off the market.  Why?  I don’t know.  The next thing I saw were them being handed out on T.V.

The 2018 Little League World Series takes place August 16-26.  Little League recently unveiled the official logo for the 2018 games.  The Phillies will take on the Mets August 19 in the second MLB Little League Classic.

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.
 photo IMG_2997_zpsrytuh6ft.jpg

 photo IMG_3007_zpsx5bbghzf.jpg

 photo IMG_3005_zpsapanrwzw.jpg

 photo IMG_2996_zpswgsai07h.jpg

 photo IMG_3002_zps8swrrzu3.jpg

 photo IMG_2998_zpsc8eedbs9.jpg

RubberDucks pitcher Rob Kaminsky

 photo IMG_2999_zpszq9u229j.jpg

Kaminsky and catcher Jeremy Lucas

 photo IMG_3001_zpsle49msih.jpg

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.

 photo IMG_2967a_zpsn9pxaahm.jpg

 photo IMG_2955a_zpsyfn3l8oc.jpg

Buffalo Bisons

 photo IMG_2957a_zpsjbbdfafv.jpg

 photo IMG_2956a_zpsuanbf4sh.jpg

 photo IMG_2961a_zpsyjbrhdzq.jpg

Remember this dude from the Angels?

 photo IMG_2965a_zps0kfrhg6m.jpg

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

 photo IMG_2964a_zpswwk0i2jx.jpg

J.P. Crawford leading off 1st base

 photo IMG_2963a_zpsxweawskn.jpg

Darin Ruf

 photo IMG_2960a_zpsrfvmmbdo.jpg

J.P. Crawford