Monday, February 8, 2016

Friendly Encounters: Tammy Williams and Sheri Eggert Samson

Friendly Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.

Today I am featuring one of my favorite teams, one of my favorite team's fan and one of my favorite players.  That's a lot of goodness in one photo.
I fell in love with the Chicago bandits right from the start of my covering them.  They are a class organization, the players are outstanding athletes and the games are very entertaining.  I love going to the Ballpark and watching the Bandits.
Sheri Eggert Samson also loves the Bandits.  Actually, she has loved them longer and is arguably their biggest fan.  (I don't mind taking a backseat to Sheri on this one).  Sheri is so enthusiastic and passionate about her Bandits.  It is contagious.
She's not just a crazy Bandits fan.  She is a survivor.  She is one tough lady.  She has battled some health issues with dignity, grace and determination.  She is an inspiration to all, including the Bandits.  I know all of the players love her dearly.
In the picture below, she is with star shortstop Tammy Williams.  Tammy si a defensive whiz at short and an excellent hitter, too.  I love watching her play.
There is a lot of speculation about her status for the 2016 season.  It is generally assumed that if she plays, this will be her last season.  We all just hope that she does play.
I have seen Tammy and Sheri together many times.  I hope to see them together many more times this season.  More importantly, I am very happy that we all will see Sheri around the Ballpark.  The world (especially the Ballpark) is a much better place with her.
Sheri Eggert Samson and Tammy Williams in Rosemont, IL-June 2013.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cards That Never Were: Archie Manning 1977, 1984 & 1985

"Cards That Never Were" is a recurring series in which I create cards that were somehow not created when they should have been back in the day.  It is a concept I borrowed from too many others to mention, but I thank them all.
My Manning mancrushes have been well-documented.  It all started with Archie, the patriarch of the Manning clan.
Archie was drafted in 1971 out of Mississippi by the New Orleans Saints.  He played with the Saints from 1971 until midway through the 1982 season, when he was traded to the Houston Oilers (where he was a teammate with Oliver Luck, Andrew's fater).  Midway through the 1983 season, he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings, where he played through the 1984 season, before retiring.
Playing with the poor Saints teams, Manning endured many beatings and losses, while still playing at a star level.  In fact, in 1978, he was named the NFC Player of the Year by UPI despite the Saints going 7-9/
Manning had football cards from 1972-1976 and then from 1978 through 1983.  The 1977 omission was caused by him missing the entire 1976 season with shoulder surgery.  Still, I would have thought Topps would have given him a card, considering his star status.  Instead, the Saints had cards for quarterbacks Bobby Scott and Bobby Douglass.  I guess three quarterback cards would have been a bit much.
After being traded to the Vikings, Archie did not appear in a game with his new team in 1983.  In 1984, he threw for 545 yards, while backing up Tommy Kramer and Wade Wilson.  Topps did not give Archie a card for either year with the Vikings.
Thanks to the magic of PhotoShop and my odd need for such trivial things, I have corrected the oversights in Archie's card history.  I now present Archie's 1977, 1984 and 1985 cards that should have been.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Celebrity Jersey Cards #259 Megan Hanson & Austin Dillon

This is a weekly series in which I attempt to combine my lifelong passion for sports trading cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  Today, in honor of the Super Bowl, I feature the two participating teams.

Megan Hanson is a center-defensive lineman for the Legends Football League champ Seattle Mist.  She was named #15 on the Hottest 20 LFL Women (shouldn't there really be about a 50 way tie?).  For her Celebrity Jersey Card, she is sporting a #25 (Chris Harris?) jersey opf the Denver Broncos.  I like her style.  I like her team.  I pretty much like all about Megan.
North Carolina native Austin Dillon is a stock car racer.  He won Rookie of the Year in the Camping World Truck Series in 2010 and holds the record for most consecutive poles in the Nationwide Series with four.  For his Celebrity Jersey Card, Dillon is repping linebacker Luke Kuechly's #59.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Dana DeLorenzo at Days of the Dead Chicago 2015

Actress Dana DeLorenzo stars on tv's Ash vs. Evil Dead.  Previously, she had appeared on stage in "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" in Chicago, where she also did some work on Mancow's show.  How did I miss her during her Chicago days?
Dana was one of the coolest guests at Days of the Dead (or any convention).  She gladly talked and posed with people.  She even suggested extra pictures in funnier poses.  This is truly going above and beyond the call of duty for a celeb guest at a con.  The fans loved her for it, too.  She had one of the longest lines, but everyone was cool with the wait, because she made it worthwhile.
I have to admit, Dana wasn't on my radar prior to Days of the Dead, although I do recall seeing her in various roles now that I think back.  I do know I will be keeping an eye on her going forward.  Dana has gained a fan in me and I have gained a new actress to follow.
I love experiencing stuff like this at these conventions.  Days of the Dead is one of the best for meeting and interacting with celebrities like Dana!  I can't wait for the next Days event in Indy in June!  Maybe Dana will be there.  I can hope!
Dana DeLorenzo and me in Schaumburg, IL-November 2015.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Superman Jim Langer

Jim Langer went undrafted after his college football playing career.  He tried out for the Cleveland Browns in 1970, but did not make it.  Then the Miami Dolphins signed him as a free agent.
In Miami, he developed into a Hall of Fame center.  He played nine seasons for the Dolphins, before ending his career with two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.  He won two Super Bowls with Miami and was part of the undefeated 1972 team.
I always remember Langer from his early football cards.  He had his hair slicked back, but with a curl drooping down his forehead.  He reminded me of Superman and some said he played like the Man of Steel.
I had the pleasure of meeting Langer several years ago.  He was soft spoken and friendly.  He still looked like a tough dude.  Actually, he looked like an old rough football player.  I thanked him for the memories and told him about my Superman thoughts.  He politely laughed and thanked me.
His Dolphins were the first super team I ever remember.  While I was not particularly a fan of those teams, I respected what they accomplished.  I also always wished we had this "Superman" on our Chicago Bears.  
Jim Langer and me in Oaks, PA-October 2011.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Diamond Dallas Page at Wizard World

Diamond Dallas Page was a bit on the older side when he got into professional wrestling.  That did not stop him from climbing to the very top of the profession.  He was a multi-time Heavyweight champ and one of the bigger names during his peak years.
Now retired, Page is spending his time promoting DDP Yoga.  He isn't just a celebrity spokesperson.  This isn't just a celebrity workout tape.  This is the real deal.
At comic cons, I have seen page lift his leg straight up to where it is almost parallel to his upper torso.  I have seen him increase his heart rate with simple movements.  I have also seen him keep his heart rate at a normal pace while doing rigorous movements.  In short, I have seen him do things a man half his age would find troublesome.
Wrestling Hall of Famer Jake Roberts credits Page with saving his life.  Page took in Roberts and got him on the straight path,while using DDP Yoga.  Page has also worked with the troubled Scott Hall.
It's great to see Page succeed, but it is even better to see him helping others and it isn't just famous wrestlers.  A quick YouTube search will reveal other regular people Page has helped with DDP Yoga.
During his wrestling career, Page accomplished great things.  After his wrestling career, Page is accomplishing even better things!
Dallas Page and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2010.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bill Moseley at Days of the Dead Chicago 2015

Bill Moseley is a staple at horror cons, because not only has he built a great acting career, but he seems to especially shine in cult classic horror films.  Some examples are The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and The Devil's Rejects.
One of Moseley's more recent projects is a bit different though.  I wrote all about it at The Devil Dogs of Kilo Company.  This is a fascinating film created by Johngy's Beat favorite Bobby Easley.  It is completely entertaining, but completely different from anything I have ever seen.
Moseley, Kane Hodder and John Dugan provide the voices for the characters.  The "characters" are the really unique part.  They are seen as little green army men.  The movie is pieced together using the little green army men and other such props.  It sounds far-fetched (and I had my doubts), but it all worked wonderfully.
Mosely joined the others for a special screening at the Days of the Dead event in Chicago last year.  You could tell how proud they all were of this project and rightly so.  You could also see the rapport they had with each other, which had to help make this movie work so well.
I had the chance to talk briefly to Moseley after the screening.  He was every bit as enthused about the movie as he seemed at the screening.  He's a class act, too.
From my first meeting with Easley early last year to this last conversation with Moseley, this has been a great experience.  I look forward to seeing the public loving The Devil Dogs of Kilo Company as much as I did (and the rest of the screening audience, too).
Bill Moseley and me in Schaumburg, IL-November 2015.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Friendly Encounters: Richard Dent and Eric Katz

Friendly Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.

I met Eric Katz while he was an intern with the Chicago Bandits.  Eric worked with broadcaster Mike Knezevich.  He handled some interviews, as well as being Mike's broadcast partner.  I was impressed with his work all season.
Eric's status is up in the air for 2016.  I really hope he gets to work one more year with the Bandits.  I am hoping to use Eric on some Johngy's Beat projects and to join Eric and Mike in the broadcast booth again.
It was fun watching Eric develop on the job,  He's a young guy with a lot of talent and passion for what he does.  His future is bright, no matter what path he takes.  It is great to see the youth of today getting their feet planted as their careers start to develop.  I envy Eric for getting such an early start.  Despite an interest in writing, my first published piece came when I was 30+ and Johngy's Beat started when I was 40+.
I wish Eric a lot of luck along the way and I hope to see him around the ballpark this summer.  In the meantime, I leave this picture of Eric with Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Richard Dent.
Eric Katz and Richard Dent in Chicago, IL-December 2012.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Celebrity Jersey Cards #258 Leah Thompson & Cheryl Tiegs

This is a regular series in which I attempt to combine my lifelong passion for trading cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  I'm featuring beautiful women wearing Dodgers uniforms in an effort to remember summer time warmth!

Actress Lea Thompson was born in Rochester, Minnesota, but her acting career brought her to Hollywood.  The co-star of "Back to the Future" looks pretty pumped in her Dodgers jersey or is it because she knew she would land on a Celebrity Jersey Card?  Either way, I love the enthusiasm.
Supermodel Cheryl Tiegs was also born in Minnesota, but she found fame on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  Who can forget that iconic cover?  Tiegs stills looks great, even in a Dodgers jersey.  This Celebrity Jersey Card won't become a classic like her SI cover, but it still looks pretty good.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hart Fisher at Dark History Con

Hart D. Fisher is a comics book writer, horror crime author and publisher.  In 1992, he gained fame (good and bad) for the release of his comic book Jeffrey Dahmer: An Unauthorized Biography of a Serial Killer.
This launched Fisher to the spotlight, but also under the microscope.  He endured a lot of criticism for his work, but he defended it and stood tall throughout.  Fisher took criticism for his decision to do a comic book, but People magazine named Dahmer one of their Most Intriguing People of the Year without anywhere near the same negative response.
Fisher is an interesting person.  Having talked to him at length at the Dark History Con, I can assure you he is not a monster, nor a money-grabber.  He's a deep-thinking, sensitive man, who has suffered his own tragedies in life.
I'm not here to defend the controversial Dahmer comic.  That is a huge issue with too many layers to debate in this forum.  Is it information or sensationalization?  Should victims get part of the proceeds?  What about the feelings of the victims in general?
Fisher has his Amendment rights, but those rights do not guarantee him safety from negative responses.  For his part, he faced (and still faces) his detractors.  This whole situation is quite an interesting study.
Of course, Fisher has had his share of supporters, too.  Hero Illustrated named him "The Most Dangerous Man in Comics" and put him on their Top 100 Most Important People In The Comics Industry list.
Through his work, Fisher provokes thought and emotion.  He was a perfect fit for Dark History Con.  Both are about education, enlightenment and thought-provocation.  You don't have to be a fan necessarily to get something positive out of Fisher (or Dark History Con for that matter).
Fisher has done a lot of other stuff besides the Dahmer comic.  You can check out American Horrors to learn more about Fisher.
Hart Fisher and me in Champagne, IL-September 2015.