The event is sponsored by the Chicago Sun-Times and operated by Krause Publications.
* Wayne Gretzky has ended his connection with Upper Deck and started his own memorabilia company. He'll be selling pucks, sticks, autographs and whatever via direct mail, Channel Sports Marketing and The Shopping Channel (Canada's version of QVC).
* Jason Hufner, a reader, wanted to know if the A's ever had a practice facility in Haddon Township, N.J. He said he grew up there and recalled being told that the Babe Ruth League field where he played used to be the A's practice facility. Since Connie Mack was so frugal and owned his own ballpark in Philadelphia, I cannot imagine him springing for a practice field anyplace else. However, it is possible that he worked the team out - likely played exhibition games - in South Jersey on Sundays when Pennsylvania's oppressive blue laws prohibited Sunday baseball. At one point, history tells us, Mack actually threatened to move his club across the river permanently so that he could play baseball on Sunday, a day he was sure would draw lots of fans.
* Speaking of Mack, I can't imagine how the U.S. Postal Service could put out a set of 20 "Baseball Legends" stamps and skip the A's 50-year manager. But it did. The stamps are great, by the way, and do feature ex-A's Eddie Collins, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove and Mickey Cochrane. The Postal Service presented enlargements of each stamp to relatives of the A's players at the A's Society Museum in Hatboro on July 29. Hatboro postmaster Frank Stuhl and other reps of the Postal Service made it all happen. A's Society member Mike Fesnak has been working diligently on a Mack stamp for close to three years now. The sheet of 20 stamps goes for $6.60 at your neighborhood post office.
* A heavy-equipment operator from Phoenix, Joe Nowicki, has won the latest Upper Deck vintage jersey, being awarded a 1968 game-used Don Drysdale Dodger shirt valued at $11,500 as part of the seasonlong "Sweepstakes Giveaway." Still to be awarded are shirts belonging to Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and others.
* The NFL Experience, a fan event that has surrounded the Super Bowl for many years, will now hit the road and make stops in 22 cities over 25 weeks, starting Aug. 31 in St. Louis. Sony, adidas and Sports Illustrated will pony up the dollars to make the tour fly. Agent Leigh Steinberg is the event's lead investment partner and executive producer. Eric Holmlund, who has organized tours in the past for Ringling Bros. and Disney on Ice, will make sure that the NFL's tour is first-class all the way. The road show will feature all the things that made the Super Bowl show so exciting - autograph guests, interactive events, exhibits and the like. The target attendance per city is 25,000 to 40,000. No plans for a local stop, however.
* Fleer's new public relations director is Joshua Perlman, a native of Warminster, Pa., and an Arizona State graduate. Perlman worked for Fox Sports while in college and at Great Traditions, a hobby shop in Northeast Philly. He says he "used to be a big collector of baseball and basketball," and now part of his job will be to lure other "used-to-be" collectors back into the fold.
* Speaking of media types, I have to pay a well-deserved tribute on the passing of a dear friend. Bill South, who was a radio color man (to my play-by-play high school and college sportscasts) over about a dozen years in the late '70s, early '80s (on WIFI, WIBF, others), passed away on July 8. He was a native of Indiana and played against Oscar Robertson in high school. Bill had a big, deep voice and a wonderful sense of humor. In real life, he was a State Farm agent with a huge clientele in the Glenside area. Southie was a golfer and sponsored countless youth sports teams. We'll all miss him a lot.
* Ted Taylor has been a lifelong collector of baseball cards and sports memorabilia. He has run memorabilia shows in the area and written for various publications. Taylor is president of his own Abington, Pa.-area public relations/marketing firm.
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