Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Aged 1964 Cardinals' scorecard a keepsake

Bill Bishop's mom gave away his vast baseball card collection when he was in college many moons ago.
What she kept, though, was equally priceless.
It was his program and scorecard from the Oct. 4, 1964 St. Louis Cardinals 11-5 victory over the hapless New York Mets to clinch the National League pennant and vault the Redbirds into the World Series where they beat the New York Yankees in seven games.
Bishop was 16 when he went to that game and filled out the scorecard in ink.
It's brown with age and frayed around the edges, but it is a precious keepsake.
Suitable for framing, indeed.
The Cards' lineup contains names that are among baseball's royalty.
Centerfielder Curt Flood.
Leftfielder Lou Brock.
First baseman Bill White.
Third baseman Ken Boyer.
Shortstop Dick Groat.
Catcher Tim McCarver.
Rightfielder Mike Shannon.
Second baseman Dal Maxvill.
Pitcher Curt Simmons.
Maxvill was playing for Julian Javier, whose name is scratched out.
Penciled in for relief was the incomparable Bob Gibson, who pitched on practically no rest.
There were more names on the scorecard roster that still resonate, especially the pitchers.
Nelson Briles, Steve Carlton, Mike Cuellar, Ray Sadecki.
There's a bench player on there, too, the very first one on the numerical roster, whose name still makes you smile.
No. 9 Bob Uecker, catcher.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cooking for one not what is used to be

It's funny how quickly a married guy can revert back to his bachelor habits.
When it comes to dinner, that is.
Sherri left Sunday for a two-day bank conference in Orlando.
Before she left, though, she took me by the hand, opened the freezer and showed me a plethora of dinner possibilities for Sunday night and Monday night.
I do some of the cooking although my wife does most.
Good thing.
Weekend barbecues are my specialty.
Steak. Ribs. Yeah.
I've done the crock pot thing, too.
But my wife has always been around so I wasn't really on my own.
Until Sunday.
So I had pizza.
It was one of the possibilities in the freezer and one I knew well from my days as a bachelor.
I enjoyed it.
It was eating alone I didn't like.
Monday was a long day and didn't get home until well after 7 p.m.
I didn't even bother looking in the freezer this time.
I grabbed a can of chicken soup out of the pantry, heated it up, opened a sleeve of crackers and chowed down.
It was all right.
Can't wait until Sherri comes back.
That woman has spoiled me.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tillman teacher leaves a mighty legacy

No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.
The words are Abraham Lincoln’s. They also comprise a Chinese proverb and are attributed to the Knights of Pythagoras, as well.
Calvin Esaw lived by them.
The Tillman Elementary School teacher stood tall, indeed, to children who knew him, connected with him and loved him.
After 20 years in the classroom, that’s a lot of kids.
Sadly, a lot of breaking hearts, too.
Esaw drowned last Monday.
The 54-year-old father of three sons was fishing, something he truly loved, near Sarasota’s Ringling Causeway.
It was President’s Day, a day off from school.
How tragic.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Delaney scoring points as NBA Ambassador

Bob Delaney, Navy Admiral Hall Pittman with Afghan coaches.

Lakewood Ranch resident Bob Delaney just returned from Afghanistan where the NBA Cares Ambassador and an AAU coaching delegation worked with 150 Afghan coaches and administrators at the Afghan Olympic facility in Kabul. It was part of a sports diplomacy program designed to help develop community-based youth sports programs across Afghanistan."It was a tremendous experience," the former NBA referee said. "They were enthusiastic, appreciative and taught me a great deal. Their generosity was overwhelming."

Get a jump on St. Patrick’s Day at the Foundation for Dreams St. Patrick’s Day 5K/1-Mile Fun Walk March 17 in Palmetto’s Sutton Park. Registration is 7 a.m.For details call 941-746-5659. Or visit

Nate March is the Bradenton Marauders new radio broadcaster. The M’s open April 5 at McKechnie Field against Port St. Lucie.

Lakewood Ranch varsity cheer coach Melissa Koehlinger will hold a parents pre-tryout meeting 5:30 p.m. March 1 in the school library.
Call her at 941-727-6100, ext. 2103.

That wily ol’ stork just visited the Ferraro’s Pizza family. Mariana and Orlando Pacheco named son Orlando’s baby sister Giuliana.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Baseball card collector with old school values

Bob Singer held a fistful of baseball cards at Pirate City.
Must've been 100 of them.
Only a fraction of his collection.
"It must be in the millions," said the 57-year-old retired teacher, who started collecting them in the 1950s when he was a boy growing up in Ohio.
"I've collected everybody's," Singer said.
Got a lot of them autographed, too.
It's just more difficult to accomplish nowadays.
"Card dealers have hurt us," Singer said as other autograph enthusiasts with albums of cards hovered around the backstops. "Used to be you'd come out here and they'd sign, no problem.
"Now their question is -- are you a dealer? Or a collector? Are you going to take (the autographed baseball card) home and put it directly on eBay?"
Not Singer.
The only place his vast, valued baseball card collection is going is to his nieces and nephews.
He already gives some to them for good report cards.
"Maybe one day they'll be interested in the hobby," said Singer, who has no children of his own.
Whether they'll appreciate the effort he went through to get them autographed is another matter.
"If players want to sign, they'll do it before or after workouts," he said. "Don't bother them when they're going from field to field. Let them get their work done and hope they sign afterwards."
Singer is patient.
It's a beautiful day at Pirate City.
There's no place else he'd rather be.
"It's a relaxed atmosphere," Singer said. "It's fun, keeps you young and takes you back to when you were a kid."

Monday, February 20, 2012

From Palmetto Tiger to Baldham Boar?

The Baldham Boars.
That's the name of the ballclub Ryan Williams will be departing for shortly to begin training.
They're not a minor league team for some American League or National League organization.
They don't train in Arizona or California, either.
Not by a long shot.
You need a long trans-Atlantic plane ride to get there.
All the way to Munich, Germany.
What's up with that?
"I've never gotten baseball out of my system," said the 2003 Palmetto High School grad and former Tiger.
Williams had scouts looking at him as a University of Tampa outfielder before he injured a wrist his senior season.
That may have cooled some teams, but he never lost his passion for baseball.
After Williams got back from six months roaming New Zealand and other exotic locales in the Far East in 2009, he got a phone call from the Boars manager.
Turns out an old pal had played in Baldham and recommended him to the skipper, who kept his name handy.
Then when another American player bailed, the Boars boss called Williams and offered him a shot to play.
The club had done its due diligence on Williams, calling former coaches, etc., and decided to take a chance.
He said OK.
"I flew there and literally two days later I was playing," he said.
According to their website, the Boars are a third-division ballclub, which raises this question:
You mean Germany has a first- and second-division?
In baseball?
"It's soccer, soccer, soccer over there," Williams said. "Baseball is more like a curiosity thing. We play in front of 200 people one day and 10 the next."
Plus, they play weekends only, which gives him time to do what he also loves:
"Italy's only a four-hour drive," Williams said.
Sweden is another fave.
He ran with bulls in Pamplona, Spain, too.
"Intense," he called it.
How long will Williams play?
"Until I can't do it anymore," he said.
Oh, yeah.
The Baldham Boars' website said they need a catcher and second baseman.

Friday, February 17, 2012

School board should return to classroom

The teacher’s hands were full that January morning.
Her Exceptional Student Education class at Blackburn Elementary School had its share of distractions and interruptions as she patiently settled the kids down so I could read to them for Read Across Manatee.
Her calm was admirable.
The ESE teacher’s job isn’t easy, one few of us could do.
Or want to do.
You can’t pay a teacher like that enough.
I cannot imagine paying her less.
Yet that’s the predicament in which the ESE teacher and 2,800 of her Manatee County colleagues find themselves after a fractured school board voted 3-2 for a retroactive pay cut and furloughs at Wednesday’s contract impasse hearing.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Prine Elementary fifth-grader on a roll

Father Joe Connolly and Hayden Palino at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs.

It’s good to be Hayden Palino these days. He’s an honor roll fifth-grader at Prine Elementary, a fourth-year altar server at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs and a second-year Webelos in Cub Scout Pack 64 who just completed his "Parvuli Dei" (Children of God) award project from the Diocese of Venice.

That wily ol’ stork was just spotted on the horizon for Janey Mo and Pepi Ribley, who expect their first bundle of love late summer in Indianapolis.

United Way board members Bruce Body, Beth Bender and Tim Henning along with yours truly will be guest bartenders at Charity Bar Night, 6-9 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch.
Call United Way at 567-4085 for more details.

Read more Friday in Vin's People on

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chris Egler epitomized Manatee Spirit Award

If there was anybody who emulated Spirit of Manatee Awards on Wednesday it is Chris Egler.

He and wife Sue received a Volunteer Spirit honor and it was so appropriate.

That Egler was present epitomized his spirit.

A resilient spirit.

Just before Thanksgiving 2011, doctors gave him two weeks to live.

Egler had cancer.

Over the years, he and his wife had raised nearly $200,000 for needy children and families with fishing tournaments they organized, but his failing health has curtailed them.

That didn't stop the Eglers from volunteering at the Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival, working a booth selling raffle tickets and raising another $8,000 for children's charities.

"It's all about the kids," he said.

When the Eglers ascended the steps at the Bradenton Auditorium Wednesday, it was apparent to the audience Chris Egler, who is still being treated for cancer, was having difficulty.

Struggling with his emotions, he thanked all those who supported their charitable endeavors and that they would try to carry on the best they could, cancer or no.

You could've heard a pin drop in the room.

Monday, February 13, 2012

MTI Tour of Kitchens to whet appetites

You've heard of the Tour of Homes?

How about the Tour of Kitchens?

The Manatee Technical Institute Foundation's third annual Tour of Kitchens is 2-7 p.m. Feb. 26 and will include six attractive homes on Riverview Boulevard, where folks can sample delicious dishes prepared by renowned local chefs in each kitchen.

Among our town's participating restaurants are Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Euphemia Haye, Ortygia Restaurant, Pier 22, Riverhouse Reef & Grill and SOMA Diner.

Select wines will also be served.

The tour will conclude at the Manatee River Garden Club with coffee and dessert.

Not to be outdone by the restaurant chefs, gourmet desserts will be prepared by MTI's culinary arts students. Among the delectables, they'll include caramel-pecan fragipane galette, chocolate raspberry cheesecake, cherries jubilee with vanilla-bean ice cream, coconut macaroons, hazelnut mousse swans, mocha petite gateaux and tiramisu.

Complimentary trolley service will be provided from the Manatee River Garden Club to all stops on the tour.

Funds raised will help students with educational expenses to be able to compete nationally.

Tickets are $55 and must be purchased by Feb. 20 for mail delivery or by 3 p.m. Feb. 24 for pick up at MTI Main Campus. To purchase tickets, contact Heather Humphrey at Or call 751-7900, ext 2245.

For more details, visit

Friday, February 10, 2012

Driving, deafness along US 41

My hearing isn’t what it used to be, but this was ridiculous.
A few days ago I was driving north on US 41 and slowed for traffic, stopping at the light at 53rd Avenue West.
Moments later somebody’s sound system was pounding my pickup.
I couldn’t tell whether it was coming from the car in front of me or behind.
It was thundering.
The driver had to have been stone deaf.
Lord knows we all come across motorists whose wheels seem to be powered by subwoofer systems and they’re annoying.
This was overkill.
What brings it to mind is an ongoing Florida Supreme Court case involving a Clearwater attorney, then in his late 40s, who was pulled over and ticketed in 2007.
His car stereo was too loud, the officer said.
He was also playing a song by Justin Timberlake — definitely a violation for a grown man.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sugar 'Canes regain stride at nationals

The Manatee High School Sugar ‘Canes shined on Super Bowl Sunday.
Director Vicky Duquette’s dance team took ninth in the Universal Dance Association national high kick finals at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.
There were 36 teams in the prelims and 16 made the cut.
Led by captain Lauren Bellant, co-captain Breslyn Reiber, lieutenants Margarida Phelan and Rachel Schmitt and dance officer Emma Galati, the Sugar ‘Canes were Emily Barnes, Cierra Cydrus, Brianna DiTommaso, Darci Elfervig, Alessandra Krause, Elly Kretchman, Katherine Pace, Ellie Potter, Sarah Smith, Jennifer Walstad and Jenny Winchell.

Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, 7155 State Road 70 East, is hosting a "Be My Valentine ‘Blizzard’ Benefit" 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday in hopes of opening a lot of hearts around our community.
The owners are donating all proceeds to the families of Josh Rogers and Brett Wagner to help them defray the cost of the medical expenses incurred after the Lakewood Ranch seniors lost their lives in that tragic Christmas night crash.
For details, call Tracy Hirschauer at 941-751-4600 or Tracey Bodmer at 941-504-8297.

Visit for bullriding details on the Conley Buick/GMC SSBR Finals at the Manatee County Fairgrounds.
Gates open 5 p.m. tonight and 3 p.m. Saturday.

As if nearly two years of marriage haven’t taught me who calls the shots in our household, my wife, Sherri, was recently promoted at HomeBanc.
Can you say, "Madam vice-president?"

Read more Friday in Vin's People on

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

School project to spruce up Adams cemetery

If you see a lot of youngsters at the Major Adams Cemetery in Bradenton Saturday morning, take heart.

It's Steve Marshall’s Florida History class from the Manatee School of the Arts.

Starting at 10 a.m., students will start taking steps to clean up and record the historic cemetery.

Students and staff will map locations of grave plots and begin transcribing names and information of the people been buried there.

It's the upshot of a letter MSA student Krissy Pizzo sent Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, seeking input on the cemetery maintenance plan. Pizzo wanted to know what they could do to help preserve the historic cemetery.

Whitmore sent the letter to the City of Bradenton and got the ball rolling.

With assistance from public works department staffers Gary Kinder and Ricardo Ramos, Jeff Moates of the Florida Public Archaeology Network and Cathy Slusser, deputy director for historical resources for the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court’s Office, a cemetery documentation and community service project was formed. Parks and recreation staff will help direct the cleaning of headstones and markers using a cleaning agent designed for use in cemeteries.

It will be only the first of a series of visits to the cemetery to conduct the work necessary to document the several hundred headstones and markers.

New or Dew Cemetery was established in 1883 in what was the outskirts of the town of Manatee for the second generation of Manatee’s pioneer families. In 1892, additional land was purchased from Major Alden Adams resulting in the cemetery’s name change. At one time, Adams was the largest landowner in Manatee County possessing 300,000 acres.

Interested in more information about this worthwhile project?

Go to Or

Monday, February 6, 2012

Football's gone. Bring on baseball

Neighbors probably wondered late Sunday night what was I doing?

If they were still up.

The Super Bowl had been over maybe 15 minutes.

I went outside, sat in my driveway in front of my pickup truck and pulled out a screwdriver.

Off came my Philadelphia Eagles vanity plate.

On went my Phillies vanity plate.

Most of my other NFL stuff -- i.e., T-shirts, jerseys, ballcaps -- were shelved away over the last few weeks since the end of the regular season.

Only the vanity plate stayed.

Until Sunday night.

It's baseball season for me.

Yes, pitchers and catchers don't report officially until Feb. 15, but I'm ready.

Grabbed a Pirates spring training schedule at the recent national anthem auditions.

Cut out the Grapefruit League schedule from the Herald's Sunday sports section.

Got my baseball T-shirt collection all set.

Going to take off a week in March to catch some games.

Yeaaah, I'm ready for baseball.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bucs fans should treasure Super Bowl win

Ever been to a Super Bowl?
If so, good for you.
Especially if your team played in it and won.
Like Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ fans.
Seems like half of Bradenton flew to San Diego a decade ago when the Bucs stomped the Oakland Raiders, 48-21, in Super Bowl XXVII.
So what if Sports Illustrated ranked it as the worst Super Bowl.
It was a beautiful thing to watch around here.
I can still see R.J. Santarlas jumping for joy around the party room at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s on Manatee Avenue late that epic Sunday night.
And he’s only got one leg!
Worst ever Super Bowl?

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Star-Spangled Banner strikeout

One of the 72 talented folks at the national anthem auditions at McKechnie Field was Kelli Kennedy, a grant administrator for the Manatee County School District.
A gifted singer, she has performed the Star Spangled Banner flawlessly on numerous occasions in various venues.
Aaah, but midway through her rendition last Saturday Kelli suddenly drew a blank, stopped, then resumed singing.
“I will never make fun of anybody ever again for forgetting the words,” she said.

Speaking of McKechnie, don't forget tonight’s Manatee Hurricanes Baseball Steakout & Reunion 5-9 p.m. at the ol' ballpark.
Call head coach Dwayne Strong at 725-2293. Or Bruce Braithwaite at 720-9224.

And remember today’s annual Southeast Beast Feast, 2:30-8 p.m. at the school cafeteria to benefit Seminoles baseball.
Call head coach Dan Durrance at 741-3366, ext. 2217. Or email

Big ups to Deb Krowe, husband Bob, Team Shake Pit and the cast of characters who helped put on Monday night’s boffo celebration of the Manatee Hurricanes 2011 Class 7A state championship Hawkins Stadium’s Joe Kinnan Field.
Among those folks were Big John, Gary Kortzendorf, Pat Mowry, Mike Parrott, Tracey Vita, Mike Burnett and Jeff Hillcrest and groups like Affairs in the Air, Bradenton Fire Department, Gulf Coast Corvette Club, Manatee High’s culinary department, custodians, drum line and student council, Seafood Shack and U.S. Tent.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Great journey awaits these young men

One's supposed to be a cinch starter next fall.

Others got the full rides, but will have to compete for playing time.

Then there are the preferred walk-0ns. They face the biggest challenge.

No scholarship. No playing time, at least for awhile.

They'll be scout-teamers, the guys who run the opponent's plays against the varsity every week in practice.

Those are our community's young men, high school football stars, the majority of whom Wednesday got what will probably be their last moment in the spotlight for a long time on national signing day.

That's not a bad thing.

It's what they do out of the spotlight that will help or hinder them on their journey.

Whether that translates into playing time depends on several factors -- i.e., injury, maturation, coaching -- and it will be fascinating to follow over the next few years.

What's more important, though, is these young men complete their education.

A quaint notion, yes, but it's still the objective.

Sure, these kids harbor dreams of playing in the NFL one day.

Odds are that won't ever happen for them.

Getting a degree? Much more realistic.

We wish them luck.

Especially on fall Saturdays.