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 info@huntauctions.com.

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 www.huntauctions.com.


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.)
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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 www.BigVisionFoundation.org.

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

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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.)

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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.)
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