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Friday, June 29, 2012

In the Dirt With...Gale Sayers

When Gale Sayers was picked by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the NFL Draft in 1965, he was already a college football star.  His career at University of Kansas resulted in 2,675 yards rushing and 3,917 all-purpose yards gained, and a two-time selection as All-American.   Sayers possessed powerful athletic skill given his stature and his speed had earned him the nickname “The Kansas Comet.”  He was poised for greatness and that is exactly what George Halas expected.

Sayers didn’t disappoint.  In his rookie year with the Bears, he scored 22 touchdowns; six of them in the mud on December 12, 1965 against the San Francisco 49ers in a decisive 61-20 victory at Wrigley Field.  Halas was known for hating to play rookies and kept Sayers off the bench for the first two games, but once he put Sayers in on October 3, 1965, there was no mistaking that, in Sayers, Halas had a powerhouse.  In his regular season debut against the Green Bay Packers on October 3, 1965, Sayers made the only two Chicago touchdowns and had more yards rushing, receiving and returning than any other player on either team.  Two games later, on October 17th, Sayers would score an unbelievable four touchdowns, one on a 96 yard kickoff return.  In his rookie year, Sayers would score in all but one of the 12 games in which he played, earning Rookie of the Year honors.

In his next six seasons, Sayers would continue to shine in the NFL, winning four Pro Bowl invites, five All-Pro honors, and three Pro Bowl MVP honors.  He’s been named to both the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team.  He has long been considered one of college football’s greatest open field runners and is most definitely an NFL legend.  Sayers was named to both the College Football and Professional Football Halls of Fame, and is the youngest player ever inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Sayers will tell you he was just doing what he was supposed to do:  dedicating himself to his craft and giving his team his all.  Dedication, hard work, loyalty; these are just some of the many outstanding characteristics of Gale Sayers.  Love of God and family are two others.  If you asked him what made him so special, Sayers would tell you he is not at all special but that he was just doing his best and making the most with all of God’s blessings.

His strong ethic of hard work and dedication carried him beyond the football field.  While he is famous for his steadfast friendship with his former Bears’ teammate, the late Brian Piccolo, he also went on to coach, became a stockbroker, and eventually founded a successful technology services firm.

“To whom much is given, much is expected.”  In my conversations with Sayers and his wife of nearly 40 years, Ardie, I’ve learned that above all else, Sayers is grateful for all he has accomplished and achieved in his life, and both he and Ardie have a strong sense of social responsibility, believing giving back is not only important, but required of them.

Meeting Gale Sayers was, for me, a milestone moment.  The first book I ever purchased was the Scholastic version of Brian’s Song and I was impressed at the tender age of nine with the bond of friendship between Sayers and Piccolo.  I never forgot that lesson of loyalty and compassion and, as a 49-year old adult, was in awe of the man when I first met him.  Sayers is a quiet man, not prone to a whole lot of words, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have something to say.  On the contrary, Sayers is educated and well-versed in many areas, not the least of which is philanthropy and the importance of leading by example.

While working hard to build his very successful corporation, Sayers and his wife founded the Gale Sayers Center which endeavors to inspire, motivate, and educate the inner city youth of Chicago.  To fulfill that commitment, the center offers a strong educational after-school learning program serving adolescent children that includes computer classrooms, a public speaking program personally developed by Sayers, and a mentoring and motivational program utilizing the skills of some of the best business, civic and sports leaders to reach, motivate and inspire the children to achieve greatness.

In addition to his own foundation, Sayers also works closely with The Cradle Adoption Agency, and the Better Boys Foundation, among others.  He is also the author of three books.  His first book, an autobiography titled I Am Third was the catalyst to the book and movie Brian’s Song.  He also co-authored Papa Bear:  The Life and Legacy of George Halas with Jeff Davis, and Sayers:  My Life and Times with Fred Mitchell.  It is my great fortune to be writing his next book with him on football then and now.

AllStarInc is very fortunate to have Sayers as a client and we love working with him and his wife, Ardie.  He is currently appearing Wednesdays through Sundays at the Art of Music Store in the Mandalay Bay Mall in Las Vegas for the next few months.  This weekend, Sayers will be appearing at the Chicago Sun-Times Sports Collectibles Convention in Chicago, Illinois.  If you are in the area, please stop in to say hello and meet this legendary human being.
Copyright © 2012 Korinne M Jackman ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Gale Sayers appears Saturday, June 30th at the Chicago Sun-Times Sports Collectibles Convention, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, Illinois 60018 from Noon until 1:30 p.m.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cole Hamels and the NBA Draft...What to do? What to do?

Tough times call for tough decisions.  That's why the Phillies and Sixers need to consult with the good people at AllStarInc before doing ANYTHING!

While the euphoria surrounding the return of Chase Utley to the Phillies lineup was met with the reality of another tough loss Wednesday night, the future still looks bright for the boys in pinstripes.

How you may ask?

In addition to getting Utley back, you have Ryan Howard also looming on the horizon...whenever that may be.

Adding quality players to the mix also subtracts players of lesser quality.  It's a double win.

Meanwhile, the events of the past three months should prove to the Phillies brass the EXACT reason why they CANNOT trade Cole Hamels.

Two thirds of the "big three" have had injury and game struggles this year.  Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee have shown a human side of their career that we haven't seen before.  Whether it's injury or age or whatever other reason, it does magnify the incredible season Cole Hamels is having.

Cole just keeps getting better and better. 

If the team was not prepared to compete again anytime soon, I'd THINK about possibly dealing him for a mega prospect and star studded package.  But that's certainly not the case here.

Even if the Phillies don't get back to the playoffs this season, they will still be considered one of the favorites next year with the current cast (even all one year older).

I would anticipate Phils GM Ruben Amaro making a move very soon to bolster a bullpen that is as solid as the Titanic.  As the team gets more and more healthy, the club will take care of itself.

My best guess is that when you see the team start to play their NL East foes head to head in the coming weeks, you will see some serious gains in the standings.

Across the street from Citizens Bank Park, the Sixers management is huddling at the Wells Fargo Center trying to decide what to do at tonight's NBA draft.

Please...please...please...DO NOT trade for the Raptors' Bargnani or the Lakers' Gasol.  Stay the course...stay the course....keep adding young talented players to the mix and keep getting better and better.

Believe it or not, the Sixers are in a really great spot when it comes to tonight's NBA draft, but they could REALLY improve their spot by making a move.

I'm not looking for them to trade up at all though.  I'm hoping for them to acquire a second pick in the first round in about the same area that their own pick lies.

At this time, Doug Collins and his boys select with the 15th pick.  The thought process is that they desperately need to add a big man who can score, rebound, AND play defense.  What a concept, huh?

For what they need, having a pick at 15 can accomplish their objectives.

The problem is that many of the big men available at 15 are question marks, but COULD be big winners.

Why not double your chances of being successful and find a way to take a shot on TWO different players and hope that at least one winds up working out to be what you want?

How do we make this happen?  Well, (at the time this blog was written) Houston currently has the 12th, 16th, and 18th pick in the first round.  I seriously doubt Houston uses all three picks in this year's draft. The 16th and 18th picks would be great targets for capturing what I'm talking about.

If Chase Budinger (traded from Houston to Minnesota) can land you the 18th pick in a trade, then Andre Iguodala can certainly get you more than that.  Yes, I know the money owed Andre is more than what Budinger is due, but the talent level is different too.

I'm not sure Golden State (a team with 3 picks in the top 35) will deal the 7th pick overall, and I'm really not interested in pick #30 as an alternative.

I doubt the Sixers can package their two 2nd round picks to move up high enough to get a guy worth trading for, but I suppose they could also throw in a future 1st pick to make something happen if a team isn't interested in Iggy.

The guy I would like to see in a Sixers jersey is Perry Jones from Baylor.  Jones is a super athletic kid with a very big body.  The knock on Jones is that he sometimes doesn't play his hardest.  I leave that to Doug Collins and his Sixers teammates to fix.

Another big player who could be available is Jared Sullinger from Ohio State.  Sullinger's stock has dropped sharply from a year ago when he was talked about as a "National Player of the Year" kind of guy.

The knock on Jared is that he's not quite as athletic as the rest of the bunch and isn't as explosive as many others being considered in the first round.  He kind of reminds some people of Elton Brand.

In my mind, Sullinger is a future star.  The kid knows how to score and rebound.  He comes from a big conference and is ready to step into a big role.

If Sullinger drops to the middle of the first round, I would love to see the Sixers find a way to get both Jones and Sullinger.  If they can do that, they may have TWO studs on the front line for years to come.  Both are ready right now, unlike last year's pick of Nikola Vucevic who may still workout.

Ruben & phone is on and charged if there are any more questions.  Feel free to call anytime...well.... not after 10 PM and not before 10 AM,ok?

Friday, June 1, 2012

In the Dirt with...John Cappelletti

It still comes as a surprise to some people that John Cappelletti is the ONLY Heisman Trophy winner in Penn State University sports history.

How can that be possible?  All those great teams over all of those many years?  Surely somebody else has won a Heisman in Happy Valley?

Nope; just Cappy.

It's even harder to believe that the 40th anniversary of his winning the trophy in 1973 is quickly approaching. 

I have been very fortunate to have become close friends with John.  He's truly a genuine guy.  While Cappy is very proud of his many accomplishments, he's also a very humble person who is quick to talk about other players long before talking about himself.

He built his life after football on the west coast and he now resides a little over an hour north of San Diego.  This has always surprised me a teeny bit because I know how much "FAMILY" means to him.  And in a way, I guess that's why he's still out there.

While his parents and siblings have always lived outside Philly (his Mom still lives in Upper Darby), John was raising a family of his own during his playing days in Los Angeles and San Diego.  He told me often times that he "just didn't want to take the kids away from where they were growing up."

There were a couple of forks in the road that might have changed all of that and made things very different.

After winning the Heisman in 1973, John was eligible for the 1974 draft.  Before the 1973 season began, the Philadelphia Eagles had traded their 1974 first round pick to the LA Rams in a blockbuster trade for quarterback Roman Gabriel.  The Eagles also included other draft picks and players to get the 32 year old QB in hopes that Gabriel could turn a floundering franchise back into the correct direction.

Ironically, when the 11th selection came up in the '74 draft, the Rams used it to select John Cappelletti.  The Philadelphia suburb native COULD have been an Eagle had the team not traded for Roman Gabriel.

Coulda, shoulda, and woulda, I know...but there's more! 

In 1974, the NFL had some competition for fans and players in the United Football League.  Philadelphia had a franchise called the Philadelphia Bell.  The team made a HUGE pitch to Cappelletti to try and woo him away from the Rams and keep him home in Philly.  Despite offering almost twice what the Rams put on the table, the Bell lost out and Cappy went to the NFL.  That had to be a very difficult decision for a 21-year old fresh off the college gridiron.

It turns out that it was probably a wise move as the UFL folded half way through the 1975 season. 

Many people here in Philly aren't aware that John spent parts of NINE seasons in the NFL between his time with Los Angeles and San Diego.  With the possible exception of his last two years with San Diego, John was an extremely productive player and filled a role for his team nicely.

So while his professional history could have possibly been very different, his college history is something that is clearly etched in stone among the record books in State College, PA.

John Cappelletti (PSU '74) with ASI good friend, Lauren Henderson (PSU '12)
at an appearance at Carl's Cards and Collectibles in Havertown, PA
The greatest college player ever to play at Penn State?  It has to be the ONLY Heisman Trophy winner ever there.  Only one... and just one.  John Cappelletti.  That makes the debate pretty short, right?
Penn State Nittany Lions Heisman Trophy Award Winner and AllStarInc client, John Cappelletti, will be appearing at the TriStar Houston Show at the Reliant Center on Saturday, June 2nd from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  For autograph tickets and information contact J&T Sports through their email at or call 210-854-3347.

If you're from the Houston area or will be in the area, please stop by the show on Saturday and hello!

If you live in the Philadelphia area, please visit our good friend, Carl Henderson's store, Carl's Cards and Collectibles, for a great selection of sports memorabilia.  They are located at 22 West Eagle Road, Havertown, PA  19083.  For more information on their store, available collectibles and appearances, contact them at 610-789-4996 or visit their website at

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