Curt Schilling Interested In Ted Kennedy’s Senate Seat

Curt Schilling booking agent

Curt Schilling

Retired baseball star Curt Schilling announced last week that he’s potentially interested in filling the seat vacated by the death of Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. Schilling has a keen interest in politics – he campaigned for President Bush, rallied voters for former presidential candidate Jon McCain and told Boston radio station WRKO in 2007 that running for office is “something my wife and I have talked about a couple of times.”

It would interesting to see how Schilling would fare should he decide to run. He’s achieved folk hero status in New England for the way he pitched with an injured ankle in the 2004 World Series. But whether that popularity would carry over in a state that takes politics very seriously remains to be seen.

Athletes turning to politics after their playing careers isn’t anything new. Some have fared better than others. A few examples…

  • NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent, a seven-time Pro Bowler who held most major NFL receiving records when he retired in 1989. Largent served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1994 until 2002 and unsuccessfully ran for Oklahoma governor in 2002.
  • NBA Hall of Famer Bill Bradley. During his career, Bradley won two NBA titles with the New York Knicks and was also a three-time All-American at Princeton, where he was named the 1965 National Player the Year. Bradley served in the U.S. Senate for 18 years beginning in 1978. In 2000, the New Jersey senator unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination.
  • Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne. The legendary coach, who led Nebraska to three National Championships and retired with a record of 255-49-3, was elected to Congress in 2000 and served six years in the United States House of Representatives from Nebraska’s 3rd congressional district. He unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1996, a defeat which surprised quite a few people given Osborne’s tremendous popularity throughout Nebraska.
  • NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann, who was a key member of the three-time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970’s. He was a three-time Pro Bowler and was named MVP of Super Bowl X. In 2006, Swann unsuccessfully ran for Pennsylvania governor, losing to incumbent Ed Rendell by a 60-40 margin.
  • MLB Hall of Famer Jim Bunning, a 9-time All-Star who threw a perfect game in 1964. Bunning served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987  – 1999. He then moved over to the Senate, where he is currently the sixth oldest U.S. Senator. He recently announced he will not seek re-election.
  • Former quarterback Jack Kemp, who led the Buffalo Bills to the two AFL titles in the 1964 and 1965. Kemp was a member of Congress from 1971 – 1989, was Bob Dole’s running mate in the 1996 presidential election and unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Schilling, but I’m really looking forward to 2014, when NBA great Charles Barkley plans to run for governor in Alabama. If nothing else, I’m sure he’ll provide some interesting sound bites.

PFP is a top sports and celebrity booking agent for Curt Schilling, Steve Largent, Tom Osborne, Charles Barkley,  famous sports speakers, athlete appearances , political speakers and endorsements. For more information call 800.966.1380

Baseball: Why Do Old Timers Hate On Current Players?

MLB speakersWhen newly-inducted Hall of Famer Jim Rice stated last week at the Little League World Series that today’s players aren’t role models, he created front page news.

Said Rice, “”You see a Manny Ramirez, you see an A-Rod, you see Jeter….Guys that I played against and with, these guys you’re talking about cannot compare.”

Rice later claimed that he was misquoted, but the truth is that many former players don’t relate to today’s players. Why is that?

If you polled players who played in earlier decades (1950’s – 1970’s) and asked them what they think of today’s players, I know many of them would respond…

  1. Players don’t play hard
  2. Players don’t respect the game
  3. Players make too much money
  4. Players are ruining the game by using performance-enhancing drugs

Let’s take a look at each response…

1. Players Don’t Play Hard

There’s no denying that today’s players are in much better shape than they were in the past. The equipment and technology available to them  today is light years better than what it used to be. As a result, today’s players have a big advantage. I don’t necessarily believe they don’t work or play as hard – I just think the advantages they have today make it look easier. The one argument I can understand is when former pitchers talk about today’s pitchers. Do you think Bob Gibson respects today’s pitchers? In 1968, Gibson threw 28 complete games. Roy Halladay led the majors last year with 9 complete games.

2. Players Don’t Respect The History Of The Game

I believe there is some truth to this. One of the things that makes baseball so special is its ties to the past. However, I bet that if you quizzed current players about baseball history, many of them would fail. This point was brought home recently when Ryan Howard surpassed Ralph Kiner as the fastest player to hit 200 home runs. When asked about Kiner, Howard responded “Uh, he’s the guy whose record I broke. Not to be disrespectful or anything, but he was before my time.”

3. Players Make Too Much Money

It’s true that today’s players make more in a day than many old timers made in a season. Case in point…the highest paid player in 1972 was Hank Aaron with a salary of $200,000. The highest paid player in 2007 was Alex Rodriguez at $26 million.

4. The Use Of Performance-enhancing Drugs Is Ruining The Game

I do believe that baseball’s reputation has taken a hit with the steroid scandal. This era will always be known as the “Steroid Era”. If you look at the players who joined the 500 Home Run Club this decade – Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, Jim Thome, Frank Thomas, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield– all but Griffey Jr., Thome, Thomas and Sheffield have been accused of taking performance enhancing drugs. Could you blame members of the 500 Club like Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson and Ernie Banks if they feel a bit of resentment? The Club used to be the most exclusive club in baseball. Not anymore.

PFP Sports and Celebrity Talent Agency is a speakers bureau and top sports booking agent for MLB speakers, sports speakers, athlete appearances and endorsements. If you would like to find out how to hire MLB players for a speaking engagement, athlete appearance, endorsement, autograph signing or special event, call 800.966.1380

Eric Bruntlett Unassisted Triple Play (Video)

Is Eric Bruntlett’s unassisted triple play Sunday night the most amazing play ever?

Bruntlett’s game-ender may likely be just that.  Bruntlett’s play ended the game last night securing the Philadelphia Phillies’ 9-7 win over the New York Mets.

Bruntlett’s play became the 15th unassisted triple play in baseball history and the second game ender. Johnny Neun, the Detroit 1B, pulled off the last game-ender in 1927.

“I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know what to do,” Bruntlett said. “The ninth inning was wild. The whole game it seemed was strange.”

Eric Bruntlett unassisted triple play ends game against the Mets. Watch video

Out 1: He catches the ball, which eliminates the hitter.

Out 2: He steps on second base, which gets the guy running to third base out because he has to run back to second.

Out 3: He tags the runner coming from first base.

PFP Sports and celebrity Talent Agency is the leading booking agent when it comes to booking professional athletes and celebrities for speaking engagements, endorsements and appearances. For more information call 800.966.1380.

Jim Rice, Rickey Henderson Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

Rickey Henderson Jim Rice Baseball Hall of FamersWith the recent induction of Jim Rice and Ricky Henderson into the Baseball Hall of Fame, it’s timely to look ahead at candidates for the next couple of classes.

A player must be retired for a minimum of five years to be eligible for the Hall of Fame. In order to be elected, a player must be mentioned on at least 75% of the ballots.

Next year, eligible players include Roberto Alomar, Kevin Appier, Andy Ashby, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Shane Reynolds, Robin Ventura, and Todd Zeile.

The two who have the best chance of getting elected are Alomar and Larkin.

Roberto Alomar was a 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner and was arguably the best second baseman of his era. Over the course of a 17-year career, he batted .300 with 210 home runs,  474 stolen bases and 502 doubles.

Barry Larkin was a 12-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner and played his entire 19-year career for the Cincinnati Reds. The shortstop was also the 1995 NL MVP. If you compare Larkin’s stats to other Hall of fame shortstops, he holds up well. His batting average is higher than thirteen Hall of Famers and he hit more home runs than every Hall of Fame shortstop except Cal Ripken Jr, Robin Yount and Ernie Banks.

Two other interesting candidates are Edgar Martinez, who’s considered the greatest designated hitter ever (MLB has renamed the Designated Hitter Award the Edgar Martinez Award), and Fred McGriff, a five-time All-Star who hit 493 home runs, just shy of the 500 mark, which is normally a ticket to Cooperstown.

In 2011, eligible players are

Wilson Alvarez, Carlos Baerga, Jeff Bagwell, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, Cal Eldred, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Al Leiter, Tino Martinez, Raul Mondesi, Jose Offerman, John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Paul Quantrill, Steve Reed, Kirk Rueter, Rey Sanchez, Benito Santiago, B.J. Surhoff, Ugueth Urbina, Ismael Valdez, Larry Walker, and Dan Wilson.

The only lock is Jeff Bagwell, who played his entire 15-career with the Houston Astros and batted .297 with 449 home runs, 1,517 runs scored and 1,529 RBI. He also stole 202 bases, including two seasons of 30 or more. He won numerous awards, including Rookie of the Year (1991) and MVP (1994). He was a three-time Silver Slugger and one-time Gold Glove winner.

Rafael Palmeiro would have likely also been a lock if he wasn’t involved in the steroids controversy. You might also hear a few arguments for John Olerud and Larry Walker, but I don’t see them getting in.

The real controversy will be in 2013, when Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens become eligible. Whether the three of them should be inducted will be the subject of heated debate likely even more intense than the issue of whether Pete Rose belongs in the Hall.

PFP Sports and Celebrity Talent Agency is a speakers bureau and top booking agent for sports stars, athlete appearances, endorsements and celebrities. For more information call 800.966.1380

Delwyn Young’s Amazing Catch – Watch Video

Could The Pirates’ second baseman Delwyn Young’s catch be one of the best catches ever? What are the chances we’ll see another catch like this again?

Two Pittsburgh Pirates combined for an unbelievable catch during their recent game against the San Francisco Giants.

Delwyn Young Makes Incredible Catch.Watch video.

As Bombastic Sports describes it:

“The Giants Randy Winn hit a fly ball that avoided Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen’s glove and instead ricocheted off his foot. Second baseman Delwyn Young dived and snatched the errant ball out of the air with his bare hand before it could hit the turf.”

I just love baseball moments like these!

If you would like to find out how to hire Delwyn Young for a speaking engagement, appearance, endorsement, autograph signing or special event, request Delwyn Young booking agent information from PFP Sports and Celebrity Talent Agency. PFP is a top celebrity booking agent for baseball speakers, entertainers, sports speakers and celebrities. Call 800.966.1380

Baseball All Star Games Favorite Moments

baseball-all-star-2009

Of all the All-Star games, I enjoy watching baseball’s version the best. I’ve been fortunate to attend eight of the Mid-Summer Classics. It’s very exciting to see all of the current stars on the field at once.

Nothing will compare to last year’s All Star game in New York, which will go down in history as one of the all-time greats. First of all, anytime you have a big event in New York, it’s going to be special. Secondly, the night was filled with tributes to Yankee Stadium, which was being closed at season’s end to make room for the new ballpark next door. Lastly, the game was an absolute classic with the American League defeating the National League, 4-3, in 15 innings. The game took 4 hours, 50 minutes and was the longest All-Star Game in history.

Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball have attempted to make the game relevant by giving home-field advantage during the World Series to the winning league. Back in the day, the game was full of intensity and it really meant something to the winning players. Over time, the game’s importance diminished as it became more of a show than a game. You hear a lot of debate as to whether this is good or not. Personally, I think it would be more fair to give the team with the best record home-field advantage but I don’t have much of an issue since it’s brought a bit of intensity back to the game.

A few of my favorite moments from previous All-Star games…

1) In 1970, Pete Rose, playing at home in Cincinnati, attempted to score but had to get past catcher Ray Fosse. The ensuing collision not only helped solidify Rose’s reputation as “Charlie Hustle”, it had the unfortunate consequence of injuring Fosse’s shoulder. Rose was called safe at home and the National League won the thriller, 5 -4. Fosse went onto play nine more seasons but was never the same.

2) In 2001, Cal Ripken Jr. played in the last of his 19 All-Star games. The game was basically a Cal Ripken lovefest. In the third inning, Ripken made his first plate appearance and was greeted with a standing ovation. Ripken then homered off the first pitch from Chan Ho Park and ended up with All Star MVP honors.

3)  In 1999, baseball honored the All-Century Team prior to the game at Fenway Park, with such greats on-hand as Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, Bob Gibson and Johnny Bench. However, the highlight of the evening occurred when the great Ted Williams was driven out to home plate and threw out the first pitch with the help of Tony Gwynn.

Will this year’s game produce any classic moments? I can’t guarantee that. However, St. Louis is rolling out the red carpet and, at the very least, I’m sure the pre-game ceremony will produce a goose-bump moment or two. Plus, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is having one of the greatest years in the history of baseball, so I assume he’s going to be a big part of the game and broadcast.

PFP Sports and Celebrity Booking Agency is a speakers bureau and top booking agent for sports stars, athlete appearances, endorsements and celebrities. For more information call 800.966.1380

Is Bo Jackson The Greatest Two Sport Star?

Bo Jackson Motivational Speaker

Bo Jackson

I recently did an event with Bo Jackson, which brought back fond memories of watching this great athlete compete. Bo was the classic two-sport star, a near impossible feat given the fact that just a handful of professional athletes have accomplished it successfully. Nike immortalized Bo with its “Bo Knows” campaign in 1989, which showed him excelling in a variety of sports, including tennis, golf, luge, auto racing and even playing blues music with Bo Diddley.

Bo’s legend started in college. In 1985, he won the Heisman Trophy while at Auburn and is considered one of the greatest players ever to play college football. In 2007, he ranked #8 on ESPN’s list of the Top 25 Players In College Football History. During his career at Auburn, he rushed for 4,303 yards, which puts him fourth all-time in rushing yards in the SEC behind Herschel Walker. Bo went on to play football for the Oakland Raiders and baseball for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and California Angels. He was the first player selected to All-Star teams in two sports.

I grew up in Memphis and recall going to see Bo play for the Memphis Chicks, the Royals AA affiliate. He was a man among boys and made the game look easy. I wasn’t at the game, but as legend has it, Bo hit a towering home run over the left field fence that not only cleared the ballpark but also the executive offices and a grove of trees. Some estimates put the distance at 600 feet!

Another play I’ll never forget was a Monday Night Football game in 1987 when he ran over Seattle Seahawks linebacker Brian Bosworth on his way to a MNF-record 221 rushing performance.

And still another famous “Bo Moment” happened in 1990 against the Baltimore Orioles when he performed his famous “wall run”, which occurred when he caught a ball just a couple of yards away from the wall. As he caught the ball at full speed, Bo looked up and noticed the wall and began to run up the wall, one leg reaching higher as he ascended. He ran along the wall almost parallel to the ground and ultimately came down with the ball.

Unfortunately, Bo suffered a hip injury during a NFL playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals in 1991. The injury ended his football career and seriously threatened his baseball career. Following surgery and rehabilitation on his injured hip, it was discovered that he had avascular necrosis. This caused deterioration of the femoral head, ultimately requiring that the hip be replaced. Bo played another couple of baseball seasons but lost much of the speed that made his so good.

Today, Bo lives in the Chicago area and is a busy motivational sports speaker and successful businessmen. He’s part-owner of a bank and sports facility.

If you would like to find out how to hire Bo Jackson for a speaking engagement, appearance, endorsement, autograph signing or special event, request Bo Jackson booking agent information from PFP Sports and Celebrity Talent Agency. PFP is a top celebrity and sports booking agent for athletes, sports stars, celebrities and corporate entertainment.

Will Steriod Scandal Affect Baseball Hall of Fame Chances?

Manny Ramirez’s recent failed drug test was just another black-eye for baseball, a sport that can’t seem to distance itself from the performance-enhancing drug scandal.

The interesting thing about Manny Ramirez is that he has a reputation for being among the hardest workers in baseball. Teammates tell stories about how Manny is among the first in the weight room. If he’s indeed the greatest right-handed hitter of our generation, why did Manny need to take a banned substance? I’m told the substance he took helps players recover faster, which no doubt is a big advantage to players in the their mid to late 30’s. But is it worth losing more than $7 million in salary and having your legacy tarnished forever?

One of the main attributes that makes baseball so special is its ties to the past. In no other sport do people compare the present and past like they do with baseball. So how can this era  of the power hitter and unprecedented home runs ever be compared to the past? It can’t. It will be interesting to see how people look at this era 50 years from now. I have a feeling they won’t look at it very favorably.

My guess is that many of this era’s “greats” like Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez and Roger Clemens won’t get elected to the Hall of Fame, at least not on the first ballot and likely not for a number of years after if at all. If you had an isolated incident with one or two players, that would be one thing. But when you have many of the elite players either testing positive or being linked to performance enhancing drugs, there’s no way to look past it. Also, because the most hallowed record in sports – the all-time home run record – has fallen to a person suspected of taking a banned substance (Barry Bonds) and may very well fall to another person who’s already admitted taking steroids (A-Rod), many baseball fans believe the game has been tarnished forever.

Can you really mention Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds in the same sentence? I know it doesn’t sound right to me. I expect that history will view this era almost as a separate part of baseball history. There’s just no way you can compare the great players of today with those of the past. It’s not an even playing field.

I used to love to discuss the most intimidating pitchers of all-time – Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale among them.  I was a huge fan of Clemens. He was one of the few baseball players I would pay to watch. I loved his intensity, fiery demeanor and how he instilled fear in batters. But ever since his steroids controversy, he no longer belongs in the same discussion.

I know many people talk about putting an asterisk next to the records that have been broken during this era. That’s not going to happen. But by denying those who cheated access to the hallowed grounds of Coopertown, that will in some small way show even more respect to the greats  of the past who played the game the right way.

Jonathan Wexler is the booking agent for PFP Sports and Celebrity Talent Agency