Friday, November 27, 2015

Behind the Scenes: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Nashville Predators

                                                                                        (My photo of post-game presser prior to head coach Dave Hakstol's arrival.)

The November 27, 2015, Black Friday contest featured a matchup of coaches Dave Hakstol and Peter Laviolette, who famously led the orange and black from early in the 2009-10 season through the third game of the 2013-14 campaign.

Hakstol's Philadelphia Flyers entered the contest with a 7-10-5 record (19 points). Laviolette's Nashville Predators' mark was 12-6-3 (27 points).


Flyers starters: Goaltender Michal Neuvirth. First line: Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl. Top defensive pairing was Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto

Predators starters: Goaltender Pekka Rinne. First line: Calle Jarnkrok, Eric Nystrom and Gabriel Bourque. Top defensive pairing was Shea Weber and Roman Josi.

First period

Flip Forsberg opened the scoring for the Preds with his third tally of the season at 1:44. His short side shot was assisted by Mike Ribeiro and James Neal.

Del Zotto countered with his first goal of the season at four minutes into the game. His cut to his left and sent a laser over Rinne's left shoulder. Schenn and Giroux earned assists.

TOI Leaders were Gudas, Del Zotto, Weber, and Roman Josi.

Second period

Back and forth action is the best definition of what took place in this frame. In keeping with what can mostly be described as varied, lackluster play during the month, the Flyers exited the first period in a 1-1 tie.

The Predators seasonal offensive advantage hadn't factored into the game as the second intermission began.

Voracek's continued presence on the third line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris Vandevelde remains telling, of both the player and the team. His appearance on the second power play unit, with Matt Read and Michael Raffl, deepened that reality.

Third period

Colin McDonald scored his first NHL goal at 4:57, putting the Flyers ahead 2-1. Assists were offered by Evgeny Medvedev and Scott Laughton. The marker came on a short-side shot past Rinne off a rebound. Philadelphia had overtaken the Predators in shots (25-23) by this point in the game.

Laviolette pulled Rinne with just over a minute to go in the game. His forced strategy worked, as Mike Fisher lifted the puck over a fallen Neuvirth with 20 seconds showing on the clock until the final buzzer. Forsberg and Josi assisted on the game-tier.


The openly embraced 3-on-3 overtime ensued with each team taking game-ending chances through the first few minutes of action. But, a too-many-men on the ice penalty was assessed to the Preds with 2:20 to go.

Shayne 'Ghost' Ghostisbehere's power play goal won the game with 52 seconds remaining in OT. It was his third goal of the season, with assists to the temporarily reunited tandem of Giroux and Voracek.

Ghostisbehere later said, “It’s a fun ride right now and I don’t have any plans of getting off it. I mean I’ve never scored that many OT winners in my life so I mean it’s a surreal moment but I’m going to keep going and I’m looking forward to New York.”

After the game, Hakstol commented on how he felt his team played with the lead today. "We did a much better job I thought then we did a few nights ago. We were playing tonight, you always know on the bench when guys are talking about the right things and trying to do the right things, that’s a good step.”

Laviolette's remarks about chance totals and his goalie were familiar, based upon his post-game demeanor during his Philadelphia years. “We probably had 25 chances tonight. Quality chances. So there’s 20-25 good chances so there was Peks.  He played a good game in net. He made a back door save on a nice turnover. A couple of point plays chances and he made a save on Wilson’s rebound in tight. We had a lot of looks.”


The win could be a nice confidence builder for the Flyers during the holiday weekend.

'Ghost' is a clear difference-maker, whose play could enable him to remain on the squad indefinitely.

Saturday's game at Madison Square Garden calls for a quick turnaround. The 1:30PM ET start not only means a shortened period of reflection until the next puck drop. The Flyers' opponent leads the Metropolitan Division with a 16-4-2 record (34 points), ranks first in the National Hockey League in goals against and fifth in the League in goals scored. The Blue Shirts entered play on Friday tied for second place with the Dallas Stars for most points in the NHL. The Montreal Canadians' performance (17-4-2, 36 points) led the pack through the day that honors commerce in the United States.

Let's connect on Twitter @SeanyOBthrough Facebook, or on LinkedIn

Friday, November 13, 2015

Philadelphia Flyers: Topps hockey card mystery revealed

The 1970's Philadelphia Flyers were one of the most controversial sports teams of all-time. My elementary school friends, cousins and I followed the players by watching their games through the antennas that were connected to our TV sets, by playing street hockey and by collecting trading cards. No pack of Topps hockey cards that I ever opened was as memorable as the one that my elementary school buddies gave me in 1978. 

Chicken pox

No kid likes when those alien invaders, known as chicken pox, grotesquely pop out to announce their presence all over your body. Of course, you can't go to school when you get them because they are contagious. That was particularly bad because the entire foundation of our, non-family based, social lives was centered upon school. My buddies were all there, we had recess and some of the cute girls in my class even found me to be very entertaining. What more could anyone want?

The pack

I missed six straight days of school because of those chicken pox. That was highly unusual for me, as I rarely missed a day at 'work' back then. I loved that building that was withing walking distance in my neighborhood and all of the people that were in it. That feeling deepened as the years passed.    
My friends Kevin and Ed brought my assignments to my house at the end of each of those sick days, which was very cool. One day they also delivered a single pack of hockey cards with my homework. They told me that our other friends: Rick, Keith, Eddie and Dave had pooled some of their allowance money to buy it for me.
Along with some other cards, there were six Flyers cards in that pack, including: Bernie Parent, Reggie Leach, Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Jimmy Watson and Andre "Moose" Dupont.
The back of the pack's wrapper appeared to have been opened and resealed. So, I knew that my friends had actually bought multiple packs of cards and then created a specially loaded one just for me. Those six cards are nearing four decades old now. Whenever I take them out, I can see the faces of my hockey heroes and, most importantly, feel the friendship of my old school friends once more.

(I hold all copyrights to this article which originally appeared on Yahoo's Voices platform in 2011.)


Let's connect on Twitter @SeanyOBthrough Facebook, or on LinkedIn

Sunday, October 25, 2015

How to become a sports writer

          (My own image from inside the Philadelphia Flyers locker room at the Wells Fargo Center.)

As the game begins: Life is your perception of reality. You are mostly responsible for almost everything that happens in your adult life. Own your dreams. Work toward them every single day, in some way, even if that means that you are simply thinking forward. Always continue to make friends, at all stages of life. And, ALWAYS be a friend, which means that people don't need to ask for your help - you offer it, or simply give it, including to people that you don't even know. 

Many talented people strive to work in the world of sports. But, how does someone actually make that dream come true? For starters, consider adapting your goals.

My own background includes a degree in Communications, front office experience at the start of my professional career in the Philadelphia Phillies' farm system, and work as a 'stringer' back in the old 'newspaper is king' days. But, everyone doesn't need to have that specific experience in order to gain access to the world of professional sports.  

1. Make friends

Always treat everyone you meet with respect. That sounds simple, but can be hard to implement at every moment. However, we never know how far good impressions can go. 

I've had many experiences where someone I met voluntarily connected me to another person who became a sports' connection. 

2. Work smart and work hard

Natural intelligence, or past success, doesn't automatically equal future success. That 'strategy' relies on random chance.  

Work, work, work, work, work, work, and keep on working. Yes, you should make certain choices in the efforts that you pursue. But, stay focused, honest acknowledge if your goal(s) need to be adjusted based on realized outcomes, and progress will (not should) result in unexpected ways. 

3. Be resilient

I voluntarily left the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons organization because some people who were important in my personal life needed my help. I chose to move in order to help them, rather than allow those great people stand alone. I have never regretted that choice, as it was the right thing to do on every meaningful life level.

After making that choice I didn't drop my dream of working in professional sports. But, I did adapt it as the years passed. 

As time flowed I wrote for a newspaper and then, many years after that, adapted my print skills to the online world. Doing so allowed me to create new sports' contacts. 

I literally attempted to make connections with more than one thousand people since 2010, when I returned to writing about sports again. That approximate number isn't exaggerated, but represents efforts across many life 'platforms'. Doing so eventually led to the creation of business contacts with the Philadelphia Flyers. And with that, access was gained that allowed me to gain a media credential. 

Similar efforts have allowed me to interview current and former athletes, in various sports beyond hockey, and also to interview people who work outside of the sports' world. 

End Game: I ask that you re-read my introduction in order to reinforce all points made. So here it is, again: Life is your perception of reality. You are mostly responsible for almost everything that happens in your adult life. Own your dreams. Work toward them every single day, in some way, even if that means that you are simply thinking forward. Always continue to make friends, at all stages of life. And, ALWAYS be a friend, which means that people don't need to ask for your help - you offer it, or simply give it, including to people that you don't even know. 


Let's connect on Twitter @SeanyOB, through Facebook, or on LinkedIn.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Flashback Philadelphia Flyers' Feature: What if Ed Snider hadn't taken a risk?

The start of training camp provides an opportunity to revisit one of my classic hockey features...

Ed Snider traveled to see a sporting event with a friend nearly 50 years ago. That New York Rangers hockey game made such a positive impression on him that he later took a business risk. In so doing, the Philadelphia Flyers were born.

Risk and reward

Rewards aren't guaranteed in business, or in life. Snider used his free will when he decided to invest in a National Hockey League expansion franchise in the late 1960s, with no guarantee of success. If his team would have flopped, it might have gone the way of the Cleveland Barons. A hardcore reference that has been noted for all hockey aficionado's. 

Brains and talent

As the Flyers built their 1970s reputation and won back-to-back Stanley Cups against the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres, arenas around the League were filled to capacity along the way. Everyone wanted to see one of the world's greatest shows. 
Yes, the team hasn't won the Cup since then. But, it has gone to the last round six times since those fabled 1973-74 and 1974-75 seasons.

So, what if?

If Snider hadn't taken the risk, hockey may not have started in Philadelphia as soon as it did. Where's the evidence that any other person, who may have founded the franchise at any other point in time, would have made a go of it?

The sheer amount of media members that cover the team's home games indicate that there is more than a small, hardcore, contingent of Flyers fans in the region, as has been suggested over the years. It's likely a broader group, as evidenced by the amount of street and inline hockey programs that exploded in the 1980s and ice hockey programs that have been created at high schools across the surrounding region during the past two decades.

In other words, the base has grown since the fall of 1967. Also, the Reading Royals wouldn't exist if it weren't for the Flyers. And that ECHL hockey team, located in a small town over an hour from Philadelphia, attracts almost four thousand fans per game.

Loyalty counts

Don't forget that Snider built the CoreStates Center in 1996 (now known as the Wells Fargo Center) with almost total private funding. All sports facilities could be built without making the public become a partner through forced, back door, taxation.

There is no sense of entitlement within the Flyers organization. They have earned their way through Snider's example. His straightforward business approach is simply this: Work hard, don't be afraid to spend money and try to win every single season.

Flyers' fans are smart and have always recognized that their team consistently tries to succeed. And with that, loyalty will continue to reign.

(I hold all copyrights to this article which originally appeared on Yahoo's platform in 2011. Photo credit: cdn1.vox-cdn.)


Let's connect on Twitter @SeanyOBthrough Facebook, or on LinkedIn.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Reboot: An interview with Philadelphia Flyers' legend Bernie Parent

Spending a few hours with Philadelphia Flyers' legend Bernie Parent was well worth the trip to his office in New Jersey. The one-on-one conversation we had easily ranks among the most memorable interviews that I've had in my professional career, which dates back to 1990. Here's a full replay of an online feature that originally premiered in the fall of 2010...

Today, my philosophy has changed tremendously. Everything comes from what you think about. Whatever you are thinking, you are going to attract. When you are happy, good things will come to you, ” Bernard Marcel Parent.

A week prior to his participation in the Spectrum's demolition ceremonies, I had the chance to discuss hockey, business, and philosophy with Bernie Parent. In doing so, I learned about the man who was a steady rock on those Flyers 1970's Stanley Cup teams. The former goaltender's candor and warm demeanor revealed how he has transitioned from a Hall of Fame sports career to life after the game.

The last time I was in the Spectrum, I went down to the floor and stood where the holes for the net used to be. I was there for about 10 to15 minutes looking at the whole building. I relived the memories one last time. It was a beautiful thing,” Parent said.

Parent, who will be honored by the Flyers on December 8th at “Bernie Parent night”, has remained a member of the Flyers' family, serving as an ambassador for the team.

New book to be released

He also is the author of a forthcoming book, My Journey Through Fear and Risk, which was developed through his experiences, conversations, and motivational speeches that he has given since his playing career ended. The book will be available to corporations, schools, non-profits, and individuals. In it, he discusses life after hockey and how each person can develop a proper philosophy. It also contains a menu of 15 topics to select from which facilitates Parent's in-person presentations.

In addition to authoring a book, he has continued to represent a number of different corporations, and make public relations appearances around the country and in Canada.

Business requests can be made through his manager, Dean Smith, who can be contacted at:
856-988-0001 and through Parent's website.

When I talk with people, I tell them to find out what their purpose is. They need to find what they love to do and dedicate their lives to it. That's when you get involved in fear and risk. You may have to change everything in your life, but risk is a beautiful thing. That is when things happen. All successful people have taken risks,” Parent said.

Learning from the master

Parent's hockey career was partly inspired by Hall of Fame goaltender Jacques Plante, whose sister lived aside of his family home.

I was a shy kid, so when Plante would come to visit his sister I would always watch him. I can see in my mind exactly what his sister's house looked like, how he got out of his car, stood in front of the house smoking a cigar, and how he walked up the steps,” Parent fondly recalled.

My goal as a little leaguer was to get to the National Hockey League and then to win the Stanley Cup. When I was a kid I might have had 200 people telling me that I wasn't going to make it. They said I
wasn't big enough, or strong enough. But, when you have passion and are good enough, the obstacles fade away,” Parent said.

After playing in the junior leagues for the Niagara Falls Flyers, he was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the mid-1960's. Later he was selected in the 1967 NHL expansion draft by the Flyers and played in Philadelphia until he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1971. Their starting goalie at the time was none other than Jacques Plante.

When I was traded to Toronto, I had some doubts at first. That was a low point in my career because I wasn't looking at the right side of the coin. I was thinking about the Flyers not wanting me, rather than the fact that the Leaf's did want me. Plus, the person who I admired as a child, Plante, was their goalie. I learned a great lesson from that whole experience,” Parent said.

I was there (in Toronto) for two years. I watched Plante play from the bench. He was incredible! You don't want to copy someone, but take what they have an add it to your own style. So, one day, I said to him, 'Jacques, can you teach me?', Parent said.

In 1972, Parent took a risk and jumped to a rival league called the World Hockey Association. While playing for the Philadelphia Blazers during that 1972-73 season, he faced an average of 55 shots per game, but used that as an opportunity to apply what he had learned from Plante. When the Blazers moved to Vancouver at season's end, he decided to go back to the NHL. Toronto then traded his rights to the Flyers.

Fred Shero

Newspapers heralded his return as a move that could help the team to win the Cup in 1973-74.

The first time I met Fred Shero he came up to me and said that he believed in team work, but didn't know anything about goaltending, so I was on my own. As soon as he said that, I knew I had the right coach,” Parent recalled.

I got a standing ovation when I stepped onto the ice at the Spectrum during our first pre-season game that year. But, ten minutes into the game, the Rangers had scored eight goals against me. I heard a lot of boos and Freddy (Shero) pulled me out. That was my reintroduction to the city. But, when you think you have hit your lowest moments, it doesn't mean it's over. You are just being sent in a different direction,” Parent said.

A few weeks after that Rangers game, Shero had Parent start in goal for the regular season opener against Toronto. He shut them out 2-0. As we know, the Broad Street Bullies went on to famously win their first Stanley Cup that season and have “walked together forever”, just as Shero's locker room chalkboard message had encouraged them to do.

Parent earned many awards after his return to Philadelphia, including winning both the Vezina (an award given annually to the league's best goalie) and the Conn Smythe (an award given annually to the league's best playoff performance) trophies in 1973-74 and 1974-75.

Post-hockey career

A five-time All-Star, he was the toast of the town in the 1970's, adding another Cup win in 1974-75.
But, after a career-ending eye injury against the Rangers, in 1979, his life changed dramatically.

After retirement, the problem is that you can't perform in front of large crowds anymore. That is the biggest adjustment that you have to make. Money is separate adjustment,” Parent said.

He joined a self-help program that he credits with turning his life around.

In your greatest despair, you can have your greatest victory. As long as I was the hockey player, I had a purpose. Once that stopped, that purpose was gone. I went in circles. I wasn't happy and I hung around people who had a similar outlook. I have learned that you become what you attract. So, I like to share what I went through because I want to help people to learn through my experiences,” Parent said.

During that time period he also was a goaltending coach and scout for the Flyers. Neil Little, drafted on Parent's recommendation, went on to win two Calder Cups for the Flyers AHL affiliate and today is the Flyers worldwide goalie scout.

In 1998, he was willing to let a doctor perform a new procedure on his damaged right eye. The procedure worked, restoring his vision to 20/20.

Pelle Lindbergh

Thomas Tynander and Bill Meltzer's book Behind the White Mask, contains a sharply detailed description of Lindbergh's life, career, and the father-son type relationship that he had with Parent. We discussed the book and his remembrances of Lindbergh.

Pelle was here on Earth for a brief moment that was cut a little bit short. We are spiritual people and
I believe that when someone passes away they move onto a new place in their eternal life,” Parent reflected.

During the 1981-82 season, Lindbergh was struggling. When he was sent to the Flyers minor league team in Maine, Parent suggested that he go with him. Through his guidance, Lindbergh returned to the Flyers during that season. He went on to win the Vezina trophy in 1984-85, which Parent presented to him at the awards ceremony.

I opened the envelope and his name was listed as the winner. He came up on stage and gave me hug. It was a big moment,” Parent fondly recalled.

I was very grateful that I was a part of his life. A paradigm was passed from Plante, the master, to me and then I passed what I had learned on to Pelle. He had a lot of good qualities that could benefit us today,” Parent said of his former protege.

Recent pursuits

He has remained an avid hunter, fisherman, and golfer. He values family greatly, having two sons, a daughter, and six grandchildren.

It is a different phase that I'm going into now. I love children. When you watch a child, you are seeing happiness. Watch them for a half of an hour and you will learn a lot,” Parent said.

A few years ago one of Parent's sons gave him a popular DVD. He credits what he learned from it (along with it's related book) as helping him to gain a deeper understanding of life.

The Secret helped me to see that we attract good and the bad things in life by how we think. When you have a positive view of life, good things happen to you. The greatest power on Earth is the power to choose. Once you understand the process, you can create anything that you want,” Parent said.

Ed Snider

I believe that he is one of the best owners in professional sports and has built his own economy. He is wise enough to realize that he needs a team. He is involved with his company, but allows people to have confidence in themselves and lets his team perform. Back in 1967-68 (the team's first year) he was sitting at the kitchen table with his wife, trying to determine how they would meet payroll. Now, he is one of the most successful individuals in the Delaware Valley,” Parent said.

Flyers 2010-2011

I think this team has the whole package. They have a great coach (Peter Laviolette) who I really like. They have great forwards and great defenseman. They also have three good goalies, who understand the game. It's exciting because the Flyers have their deepest team in a long time. They aren't hoping to win, they know they can win. If they stay healthy, they have a good chance to win the whole thing,” Parent enthusiastically said.


I consider myself to be a wolf, because I like the freedom of choice. Choice is very, very important to me. A wolf works in packs. So, everyone doesn't have to be like me, because people all have different talents,” Parent said.

He has employed the same strategy in his current pursuits that he did when he studied Plante's goaltending techniques. He studied successful business people for five years, so that he could begin to build his own business pack.

Parent concluded by saying, “Material possessions, like us, will come and go. I am grateful for what I have been able to attract. Life is a wonderful journey.”


Growing up in the 1970's, I was naturally a Flyers fan and spent many great days playing street hockey with cousins and elementary school friends. My uncle created cool foam goalie pads that my cousin wore during our games in his garage. Every Sunday, while my Mom was making dinner, I would put my Bernie-style mask on and fend off shots from my Dad in our own basement rink.

After completing the interview, I began my journey back through the roads that I had traveled on a few hours earlier. As I did so, I could see in my memories that we all wanted to be who Bernie was back then. I also knew that I had just spoken with someone who enjoys being who he is today.

(Thank you to Dan Morroni, who is a custom tailor in the Philadelphia region.)
(Photo courtesy of Sean O'Brien.)
(My interview was initially provided to

Feel free to contact me if you feel that I can be of help to you, your family, or friends. 

I look forward to becoming friends on Facebook
Let's connect on LinkedIn and on Twitter @SeanyOB.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Enlighten your ego

I've always loved a blank page. 

Having the ability to fill an open space with ideas is exciting. Some people (including some writers) dread the thought of starting that first paragraph, chapter, story, book, or whatever. I've never faced that self-imposed block. 

Rationalizing reality

I also find it interesting that some people talk about the characters they create in fiction stories as though they were living human beings whose spirits they somehow channel through their minds, onto the page, and out into the world. (However we need to rationalize the processing of ideas that come from our individual life experiences and are transferred into written words, right?)

Writing is a method of talking by typing for me. Sometimes, it's also accomplished by pushing that old school pencil (or pen) across the page. 

Your talent comes from within you

Whatever stage you are at in your life, or career, be sure to keep one fact in mind: Your talent comes from within you. For some (including me) that means a balanced God-given, genetically received, and environmentally produced process. For others, it means something undefinable and vague.

Write, write, and then write some more. Through that process you'll learn if, or how, good you are. Depending upon how successful you are, public opinion will also serve to enlighten your ego along the way. 

(The image at the top of this post is via

Feel free to contact me if you feel that I can be of help to you, your family, or friends. 

I look forward to becoming friends on Facebook
Let's connect on LinkedIn and on Twitter @SeanyOB.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hunt Auctions to Conduct Sports Memorabilia Appraisal Fair at T-MOBILE ALL-STAR FANFEST

Hunt Auctions, the official auctioneer of the T-Mobile All-Star FanFest®, will offer its team of nationally recognized experts to conduct FREE appraisals of sports memorabilia on Friday, July 10th through Monday, July 13th from 9 a.m. through 8 p.m. at Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati, OH. Attendees can call ahead to schedule a private consultation at 610-524-0822, or email at

Each year the MLB All-Star FanFest appraisal fair generates interest among baseball fans to see what there memorabilia might be worth. Given the rich history of baseball in the Cincinnati region we are confident that many great and valuable baseball items might be discovered at this year’s event,” said David Hunt, President, Hunt Auctions.
At last year's T-Mobile All-Star FanFest®, Hunt Auctions appraised a 1973 Harmon Killebrew autographed Minnesota Twins professional model road jersey that sold for $7,000, and a Roberto Clemente professional model baseball bat c.1965-68 that was estimated for $7,500 - $10,000. More items included, a 1933 Goudey #149 Babe Ruth graded PSA 4 (VG/EX) estimated for ($2,000-$4,000), and a 1952 Topps #180 Charley Maxwell cream back graded PSA 8 (NM/MT) estimated ($500-$1,000) that sold for $3,461.00.

Hunt Auctions will conduct the complimentary appraisal fair for the 11th consecutive year as part of the T-MOBILE ALL-STAR FANFEST® leading up to the Live Auction on Tuesday, July 14th. A select grouping of items from Johnny Bench Collection will headline the live auction on July 14th. In addition to this collection, a 1960 Ted Williams All-Star Game bat, a collection of Negro League bronzes, numerous items related to the Cincinnati Reds® franchise and a variety of other valuable MLB memorabilia will all be offered to the collecting public.

Top items include Roy Campanella’s 1953 NL Most Valuable Player Award (Est. $175,000-$200,000), a 1953 Mickey Mantle All-Star Game professional model bat (Est. $75,000-$100,000), a 1923 New York Yankees World Championship pocket watch (Est. $40,000-$60,000), plus Johnny Bench’s 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1983 MLB All-Star Game Rings (Est. $5,000-$7,500 each). Other highlight items include a a 1914 Buck Herzog Cincinnati Reds presentational bat (Est. $25,000- $50,000), a 1971 Pete Rose Cincinnati reds professional road model jersey (Est. $20,000-$30,000), and much more. A complete list of auction items is available online at


Exton, Pennsylvania based Hunt Auctions has been a leader in the sports memorabilia auction industry for 23 years.  Numerous former players and their families have trusted their collections with Hunt Auctions including Ted Williams (HOF), Joe DiMaggio (HOF), Whitey Ford (HOF), Curt Flood, Leo Durocher (HOF), Robin Roberts (HOF), Earl Weaver (HOF), Commissioner Bowie Kuhn (HOF), Warren Spahn (HOF), Johnny Bench (HOF), Johnny Unitas (HOF), Clem Labine, Mickey Vernon, Jake Pitler, Thurman Munson, Roy Campanella (HOF),  Harmon Killebrew (HOF), Bill Mazeroski (HOF), Kent Tekulve, Steve Blass, Johnny Pesky, Charles “Kid” Nichols (HOF),  Jim Palmer (HOF),  Bucky Walters, Walter Johnson (HOF), Bill McKechnie (HOF), Willie Mosconi, Randall Cunningham, Joe Frazier and Norm Van Brocklin (HOF).  Hunt Auctions is also the Official Auction Company of Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and the Official Auctioneer of Major League Baseball T-Mobile All-Star FanFest®. Hunt Auctions has worked with numerous institutions to include: The National Football League, Philadelphia Phillies®, Pittsburgh Pirates®, Baltimore Orioles®, Boston Red Sox®, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Chicago Bulls, National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and Baseball Assistance Team.

(All information in this post was provided through Philadelphia-based Jenna Communications, which is a top media relations resource for small business owners and corporations.)
Let's connect on Twitter @SeanyOBthrough Facebook, or on LinkedIn

Second Annual George Bradley Vintage Base Ball Festival

Big Vision Foundation hosts Second Annual George Bradley Vintage Base Ball Festival

The second annual George Bradley Vintage Base Ball Festival, presented by Lehigh Valley Bat Works is set for June 27 and 28 at the BIG Vision Sports Complex in Leesport.

The festival, which will showcase Vintage Base Ball as it was played in the 19th Century is a celebration of the accomplishment of George Washington Bradley, a native of Reading, PA who threw the first no-hitter in Major League Baseball history on July 15, 1876. Bradley’s St. Louis Brown Stockings defeated the Hartford Dark Blues 2-0 to record the first no-hitter in Major League history. Bradley finished the 1876 season with a 45-19 record, 1.23 ERA and 16 shutouts, which is still a major league record today that he shares with Grover Cleveland Alexander.

The festival will feature Vintage Base Ball teams from Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland.

In addition to the Vintage games, there will also be a youth baseball and youth girl’s softball tournament taking place at the facility as well.

The weekend will feature great Vintage Base Ball, wonderful food and fantastic entertainment sponsored by the Reading Musical Foundation. Kent Courtney will be performing 19th Century acoustic music on Saturday, the Ringgold Band will be performing on Sunday and Robert Mouland, a traveling puppeteer will be performing on both days.

Renowned 19th Century Base Ball historian, Erik Miklich of Long Island, New York will be on hand for the entire weekend to give demos and explain how the game has evolved since its inception in the 19th Century.

Admission is only $5 per car each day. Gates open at 7:00 AM each day, with youth games starting at 8:00 AM and vintage games starting at 10:30 AM on Saturday and 11:30 AM on Sunday. Additional information regarding the festival can be obtained on the BIG Vision Foundation web site at

(All information in this post was provided through the Big Vision Foundation.)

Let's connect on Twitter @SeanyOBthrough Facebook, or on LinkedIn

BIG Day with Big Leaguers and Roberto Clemente, Jr. scheduled for the BIG Vision Sports Complex

Big Vision Foundation Honors Legacy of Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente, Jr., son of the late Hall of Fame baseball player, Roberto Clemente will be in Berks County on June 25, 2015 when the BIG Vision Foundation honors the legacy of his father by retiring number 21 at the BIG Vision Sports Complex in Leesport.

The number retirement event will be the culmination of an all day celebration that is sponsored by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and RC21X, a Pittsburgh based brain health testing company which is named in Clemente’s honor.

The day will start at 10:30 AM when the Major League Players Alumni Association hosts a free youth clinic which will run from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

Former Major League players that will be helping with the events throughout the day include, Shawn Barton, Rich Rodriguez, Bob Kaiser, Doug Clemens, Ed Kovac Sr., Derrick May, Charles Goggin, Thomas Donohue, Rick Krivda, Rich Surhoff, Dickie Noles, Garrett Stephenson, Jay Witasick, Howie Bedell and Andy Ashby.

Following the free youth clinic will be a free coaches clinic from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm, also conducted by the former Major League players.

The number retirement ceremony for Clemente will start 6:00 pm on Charlie Wagner Field, which is the Fenway Park replica at the BIG Vision Sports Complex. The evening will culminate with the “Legends Softball Game” at 6:35 PM, which will feature the former MLB players playing with local players on Wagner Field.

“We felt that it was important honor Clemente.” Said Dan Clouser, President of the BIG Vision Foundation. “His accomplishments both on and off the field were remarkable. Major League Baseball retired #42 for all of MLB for Jackie Robinson, we also have #42 retired and displayed on our fence here. Robinson and Clemente were both pioneers and great men of character as well. I don’t know if the MLB will ever retire #21 throughout all of baseball like they did with Jackie. I personally think that they should, but I also knew that we didn’t have to wait for the MLB to do it in order for us to do it, so we just went ahead and did it.”

“I am honored to be part of the ceremony for my father.” Clemente, Jr. added. “My father would be proud to be associated with such a great facility and organization.”

Roberto Clemente was a right fielder who played 18 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 through 1972. He was inducted posthumously to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, becoming the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be enshrined. His death established the precedent that as an alternate to the five year retirement period, a player deceased for at least 6 months is eligible for entry into the Hall of Fame.

Clemente was an All-Star for twelve seasons, National League (NL) Most Valuable Player one season, a NL batting champion four seasons, and a Gold Glove winner twelve seasons. In 1972, Clemente got his 3,000th major league hit in the very last plate appearance of his career during a regular season game. Clemente is the first Latin American and Caribbean player to win a World Series as a starter (1960), to receive a NL MVP Award (1966), and to receive a World Series MVP Award (1971).

He was involved in charity work in Puerto Rico and Latin American and Caribbean countries during the off seasons, often delivering baseball equipment and food to those in need. He died in an aviation accident on December 31, 1972, while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

(All information in this post was provided through the Big Vision Foundation.)

Let's connect on Twitter @SeanyOBthrough Facebook, or on LinkedIn

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte finally realizes major league dream

All hail Pat!
On June 6, 2015, Venditte made his major league debut for the Oakland Athletics. He threw two scoreless innings against the Boston Red Sox, yielding one hit and striking out a batter. The natural right-hander, used his left arm to get hitters out as well. He became the first pitcher since Greg Harris threw with his alternate arm (left) in one game during the last year of his career while a member of the Montreal Expos' relief corps in 1995.
And so, all those years of working with the originator of this experiment, his father, Pat Sr., has proven successful. All hail creative innovation and persistent belief in one's abilities. Only within the great game called baseball could something so unusually cool play out in a professional league.

Update as of 6/12/15: Due to a right shoulder strain, the A's put Venditte on the DL, retroactive to June 11. While he could still throw with his left arm, his ability to match left arm verses left-handed batter, etc., doesn't currently exist. So, the A's opted to give him time to recover and return when fully healthy.
(The remaining text originally appeared within my published feature on Yahoo's platform in 2011.)
There are many late-inning situations where a manager needs to use one of his trusted bullpen arms to get an opposing batter out. Strategy involving opposing hitters averages against a left, or right-handed, pitcher is naturally a part of the decision making process.
The New York Yankees have a farmhand who pitches for their Double-A Trenton Thunder team. He may never make the major leagues, but already has his own fanclub.
Of course there haven't been many minor leaguers, or major leaguers, who can throw with both arms.
A ticket to the show
The Yankees must believe that Venditte has the ability to make a major league roster, as they drafted him twice. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, we are not quite sure if one scout saw him throw left-handed and the other right-handed.

Nevertheless, the Bronx Bombers selected him in the forty-fifth round of the 2007 amateur draft and then again in the twentieth round of the 2008 amateur draft.
Special rule
According to baseball's rule book, an ambidextrous pitcher must pitch with the same hand during a hitters entire at-bat.
Without that directive, Venditte could delay a game for days simply by refusing to allow a batter to take the opposite side of the plate.
The only pitcher to throw with both arms?
Well most pitchers do throw with both arms. But, flipping the ball to first base with your glove hand during a hurried bunt play isn't what we are referring to.

Journeyman Greg Harris alternated arms during one game while pitching for the Boston Red Sox a few decades ago.
Unlike Venditte, Harris did not continue with his experiment.
Beyond a gimmick
Venditte's strategy is more than a gimmick.
He has a career ERA that is slightly above 2.00 over the course of four minor league seasons.
At 26, he isn't certain to see the inside of Yankee stadium. For that to happen he will need to take his specially made six-fingered glove to the Yankees Triple-A team in Scranton, Pa.
At the start of my career I worked at the stadium where he could play someday. At that time the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons were the Triple-A farm team of the Phillies. We never saw anyone like Venditte back then.
If he does make it to my old stomping grounds and is able to get enough International League hitters out with either, or both, arm(s) he just might get that call to the majors.
(Image, via ESPN, was taken while Venditte was with Nashville Sounds in the PCL earlier this season.)
Let's connect on Twitter @SeanyOBthrough Facebook, or on LinkedIn

Blog Archive