‘Reign Men’ – Dynasty Debate On Sunday at Yogi Berra Museum

Casey-Crystal-BallBaseball has always had supreme rulers. Even teams more known for their ineptitude – the St. Louis Browns and Chicago Cubs – once dominated America’s pastime.

As Casey Stengel said, you could look it up: The Browns won four straight pennants in the late 1880s and the pre-cursed Cubs won four pennants between 1906-10.

Of course, the Yankees, with 27 world championships, are widely acknowledged as baseball’s most dynastic franchise, beginning with their rush to greatness in the early 1920s.
But are baseball dynasties dead? If so, which team had the greatest?

An esteemed panel of baseball experts will debate “Reign Men” baseball’s best dynasties at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J., on Sunday, May 22 at 2 p.m.

The panel includes: Marty Appel, one of America’s most informed baseball historians and author of “Pinstripe Empire: From Before the Babe to After the Boss;” Hal Bock, a longtime Associated Press sportswriter and author of “The Chicago Cubs’ Last Dynasty;” Howard Megdal, editorial director of Excelle Sports and author of “The Cardinals Way”and Dan Schlossberg, author of 38 books, including “When the Braves Ruled the Diamond.”

Regular Museum admission entitles attendance for “Reign Men.” Each panelist’s most recent book will also be available for purchase and signed by the author. For more info: (973) 655-2378.

You Just Knew The Colon HR Would Be Today’s ToppsNow Image

Bartolo-HR-CardI’ll admit, it was the first thing I thought of when I saw Bartolo Colon’s home run and the hilarity that ensued.

Not surprisingly, his shot is the featured ToppsNow image of the day. Fans can buy the card for 24 hrs and have it shipped for arrival this week by going to Topps.com.

It is the second time he has been featured with the new product from MLB and Topps; others with multiple cards this year are Bryce Harper, Trevor Story and Mets teammate Neil Walker.

’86 Mets Hit Yogi Berra Museum In April

darling3s-1-webIt will be a yearlong celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the ’86 World Champion Mets. And this month, the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J., will celebrate with two huge pieces of that storied team with book signings.

On Thursday, Mookie Wilson and best-selling author Erik Sherman will be there from 6-7:30 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of Sherman’s new book, Kings of Queens: Life Beyond Baseball with the ’86 Mets.

Then on Thursday, April 21, Ron Darling will be at the Museum from 6-7:30 p.m. to sign copies of Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life.

Each book is $30 signed.

Call 973-655-2378 or visit http://www.yogiberramuseum.org for more details.

Topps Introduces Topps Now™ Baseball Cards With Cards Available The Day After A Game Is Played

royalsImagine your favorite player throwing a no-hitter, and then getting a card of that special moment the very next day. Starting April 4, baseball fans everywhere will get the opportunity to do so with a new product launch, TOPPS NOW™.

The Topps Company is proud to introduce TOPPS NOW, a Topps.com-exclusive that will depict the greatest moments and milestones from the 2016 Major League Baseball season almost as soon as they happen.  The physical cards will be available the very next day to purchase through Topps.com, but for just 24 hours, and will not be available for purchase again.

Today’s first sets include last night’s Royals World Series Trophy presentation, which Mets fans could probably do without seeing.

“TOPPS NOW was inspired by input from our passionate baseball fans,” said Clay Luraschi, Topps ’Vice President of Product Development. “Magical moments will be captured on baseball cards the very next day, giving fans everywhere a chance to own a piece of history almost immediately.”

TOPPS NOW cards will depict great achievements and performances throughout the 2016 season. If a player hits four home runs in a game or has a walk-off home run, baseball fans can expect to see those cards in the TOPPS NOW set the next day. TOPPS NOW combines the magic of baseball cards with the timeliness of a special moment to get cards into the hands of baseball fans and collectors in a way that has never been done before.

TOPPS NOW adds to an already great portfolio of Topps’ Major League Baseball-exclusive cards with a new card design. In addition, at the end of each card’s selling window, Topps will announce the number of cards that will be printed for each card.

Fans can also let Topps know every night what they think should be on a TOPPS NOW card through Topps’ social media accounts utilizing the hashtag #TOPPS NOW. Follow Topps on Twitter @toppscards, Instagram @toppssports and Facebook www.facebook.com/topps.

The Unauthorized History Of Baseball In 100-Odd Paintings

Oranges-unauthorized-history-baseball-dh-brandThe Skirball Cultural Center announces The Unauthorized History of Baseball in 100-Odd Paintings: The Art of Ben Sakoguchi, an exhibition of canvases by Southern California–based artist Ben Sakoguchi (b. 1938). Known for his singular blend of art, activism, and humor, Sakoguchi has been creating this body of work for more than a decade. In the colorful, captivating, and often provocative paintings, he explores how baseball, long referred to as America’s national pastime, reflects both the highs and lows of American culture. Drawing from his background as the son of a grocer and avid baseball fan, the artist juxtaposes the iconic imagery of vintage orange crate labels with whimsical, eccentric, and at times scathing portrayals of one of America’s most beloved sports.

Featuring more than 150 paintings, The Unauthorized History of Baseball in 100-Odd Paintings will be on view during baseball season, from April 7 through September 4, 2016. It is presented at the Skirball to complement the major exhibition Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American, which considers baseball as an intersection of sport, identity, race, and ethnicity.

“Ben Sakoguchi’s dynamic and thoughtful series serves as a kind of ‘people’s history’ of baseball,” says Robert Kirschner, Skirball Museum Director. “By shedding light on figures and communities who have been overlooked, forgotten, or misrepresented—including women athletes, immigrant and Native American players, and fallen sports heroes—Sakoguchi’s unique paintings counter the idealized notion of the game and highlight the contributions of marginalized populations to American culture.”

Fascinated by the graphic design of orange crate labels of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Sakoguchi has used their detailed, small format as a creative template. The labels’ romanticized vision of the California landscape has provided a playful visual language with which he can address serious themes. The orange crate label format is also a nod to his father, a Japanese immigrant who owned a grocery store. Though he and his family were incarcerated along with more than 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, the artist’s father was a great believer in the “American Dream”—and a dedicated fan of baseball.

At the Skirball, the canvases will be grouped into themes ranging from “High Jinks” and “Steroids” to “Segregated Baseball” and “Global Baseball.” Throughout the series, Sakoguchi illuminates the many challenges minority groups have faced, both on and off the field, while also satirizing some of the more absurd episodes in baseball history, from Pete Rose posing in underwear ads to players’ flamboyant hairstyles and mustaches.

Filled with complex imagery, the paintings are rich with enigmatic references and double meaning. Miss Call Brand, for example, depicts the groundbreaking Pam Postema, the first woman umpire to officiate a Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training game, under the words “Miss Call.” The pun refers, of course, to umpires’ “missed calls” during games, but more importantly to Postema’s gender and to the short-lived promise of her MLB career. Another painting, Minors Brand, depicts American Little League Baseball pitcher Mo’ne Davis, the first little league player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. Demonstrating Sakoguchi’s fluid yet pointed approach to history, the painting portrays Davis wearing the jersey of legendary American Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige, quite possibly the best pitcher ever to play the game. The exhibition will also introduce new works, including several portraying a Jewish “Dream Team” and a personal series devoted to Sakoguchi’s father.

Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame 2016 Ballot Includes Kevin Millar, Daniel Murphy, Eric Byrnes and Others

Daniel Murphy (Keith Allison/Flickr)

Daniel Murphy (Keith Allison/Flickr)

As the calendar approaches St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame (IABHOF) today announced the ten potential honorees whose names will be on the 2016 induction ballot. They include current and former players, managers, broadcasters, and baseball executives, while voting will be conducted by IABHOF inductees and a panel of baseball historians.

The winners will be announced on March 31st, and the induction ceremony will be held during the baseball season at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.), home of the IABHOF. The 2016 Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame ballot candidates are:
Current and Former Players
·         Kevin Millar: Member of 2004 Red Sox who helped end Boston’s 86-year World Series title drought
·         Daniel Murphy: Former Met whose post-season heroics in 2015 helped propel New York to its first trip to the World Series since 2000.
·         Eric Byrnes: Former member of the Oakland A’s and Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as MLB Network contributor.
·         Tom McCarthy: Play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies’ broadcasts.
·         Ed Coleman: Longtime WFAN correspondent for the New York Mets.
·         Dave Wills: Play-by-play announcer for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Legends/Hall of Famers
·         Andy Leonard: Recognized as the first native of Ireland (Co. Cavan) to play in the Major Leagues.
·         Joe McDonald: Longtime executive with the New York Mets.
·         Guy Gallagher: Visitors clubhouse manager for the Tampa Bay Rays and chief communications officer for MLB Clubhouse Managers Association.
·         Nicole McFadyen: Baltimore Orioles head groundskeeper, the second woman to ever hold such position in MLB.
“This year’s ballot includes two post-season legends (Millar and Murphy), three broadcasters who are still at the top of their game, and only the second woman to be a head groundskeeper in the Major Leagues,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s Pub, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia.
Results of the voting will be announced in April. The induction ceremonies will take place this summer at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.), home of the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. Voters include past inductees into the IABHOF and a distinguished panel of baseball historians.
The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame will also present its third annual Pete Caldera-Duke Castiglione “I Didn’t Know He Was Irish” Award, which goes to an honoree whose Irish roots are not widely known.
With the blessing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Foley’s, a popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires and fans, created the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize players, managers, executives, journalists, and entertainers of Irish descent. Inductees are chosen based on a combination of factors, including impact on the game, popularity on and off the field, contributions to society, connections to the Irish community, and, of course, ancestry.
The game of baseball has welcomed immigrants from its earliest days, when an estimated 30 percent of players claimed Irish heritage. Many of the game’s biggest stars at the turn of the 20th century were Irish immigrants or their descendants, including Michael “King” Kelly, Roger Connor (the home run king before Babe Ruth), Eddie Collins, Big Ed Walsh and managers Connie Mack and John McGraw. Today, major league teams regularly sign players born in Latin America, Japan, Canada, and elsewhere.
Shaun Clancy, an amateur baseball historian, created the Hall after learning about the rich heritage of Irish Americans during the sport’s infancy – a legacy overshadowed in recent years by other ethnicities. He decided to celebrate his roots and those who helped make the game great by creating a shrine to Irish Americans in baseball in 2008.


MLB Wacky Packages® to debut on March 9

WP-MetsMajor League Baseball and Wacky Packages® are joining forces for the first time.

MLB Wacky Packages is due out March 9 with loads of jokes and fun for baseball fans of all ages. MLB Wacky Packages will feature 90 base cards that parody all 30 MLB teams, MLB events, Minor League Baseball teams and ballpark foods in a comprehensive set that should get everyone laughing.

Along with the stickers that Wacky Packages have been known for since the 1960s, the product will also contain autograph cards from mascots such as Mr. Met and the Phillie Phanatic, and active baseball stars such as Houston Astros’ outfielder George Springer and Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal.

Wacky Packages will also have Stadium Seat Relics and Ticket Relics to round out the never-before-done release.

Baseball fans and collectors can find MLB Wacky Packages in hobby shops, Target, Wal-Mart, and Topps.com on March 9.

Yogi Berra Museum To Host Fastball Screening March 22

fastball-verlanderThe Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J., will host a special screening of the acclaimed documentary feature “Fastball,” on March 22 by award-winning director Jonathan Hock.

The 90-minute film is a remarkable journey into the science of baseball’s signature pitch, featuring amazing footage and observations from current MLB stars and at least 20 Hall of Famers.

In a speed and statistic-obsessed sport, Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, Goose Gossage, Derek Jeter and new Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman are among those discussing how the magic of baseball boils down to the 396 milliseconds it takes a 100 mph fastball to reach home plate.

“Fastball,” was first presented at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival by Hock, a 9-time Emmy Award-winner who is also known for his work in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.

Hock will do a Q&A after the screening, which begins at 7:30 p.m. To RSVP: call 973-655-2378.

Four CitiField Tosses Part Of Topps First Pitch Series 1

Kristaps_PorzingisThe popular First Pitch™ insert cards are back for 2016 Topps® Baseball Series 1. They depict celebrities and other notables who threw out ceremonial first pitches throughout the 2015 MLB season.

Four of those came at CitiField last year, with the Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis, soccer star Abby Wambach, former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and Triple Crown jockey Victor Espinoza all featured.

Last year’s debut of the First Pitch inserts found baseball fans chasing their favorite celebrities’ cards. Ceremonial first pitches are one of the most popular moments at baseball games with celebrities, past players, dignitaries and others showing up to take part in the festivities. The First Pitch cards record noteworthy moments for posterity and document great moments in baseball.

This year’s list of First Pitch cards includes 20 names with another set of notables coming in 2016 Topps Baseball Series 2 this summer.

Collect Topps to get your First Pitch cards, which hit stores today!

Topps celebrates 65 years of making baseball cards. Fans can find the newest Topps baseball cards in hobby shops, mass retailers and at Topps.com.

Check out the list of names on the First Pitch insert cards:

Abby Wambach, New York Mets®, Soccer Player
Gabrielle Giffords, New York Mets®, Politician
Don Cherry, Toronto Blue Jays®, Broadcaster
Mo’ne Davis, Boston Red Sox®, Pitcher
Evelyn Jones, Seattle Mariners™
Bree Morse, Angels®, Miss California
Jordan Spieth, Boston Red Sox®, Golfer
Kristaps Porzingis, New York Mets®, New York Basketball Draft Pick
Victor Espinoza, New York Mets®, Jockey
James Taylor, Boston Red Sox®, Singer
Bud Selig, Milwaukee Brewers™, Former MLB® Commissioner
LeVar Burton, Chicago White Sox®, Actor
Hayley Atwell, Kansas City Royals®, Actor
Bill Withers, Seattle Mariners™, Singer
Carrie Brownstein, Seattle Mariners™, Actor
Tony Hawk, San Diego Padres™, Skateboarder
IronE Singleton, Miami Marlins®, Actor
Rebekah Gregory, Houston Astros®
Johnny Knoxville, Los Angeles Dodgers®, Actor
Steve Aoki, Los Angeles Dodgers®, Musician

Severino Rookie Card Part Of Topps Series 1 For 2016

SeverinoYankees starter Luis Severino, who compiled a 5-3 record and 2.89 ERA (137 ERA+) in 11 starts in 2015, will be one of the featured rookies in the 2016 Topps baseball Series 1 set, releasing Wednesday.

Severino, who will turn 22 on February 20, fanned 56 and walked 22 in 62 1/3 major league innings, permitting just 7.7 hits per 9 innings.

Severino totaled 151 2/3 innings combined between Trenton (AA), Scranton/Wilkes Barre (AAA) and the Yankees, putting him on track for an approximate innings limit of 180, though today at the Topps offices he indicated he could go as many as 200.

Topps is celebrating 65 years in baseball. Series 1 is available at all local retailers and hobby shops.