A special fundraiser has given birth to the first-ever all-Italian American baseball card set.
The rich history of Italian Americans in Major League Baseball is told for the first time in new 100-card set made from original oil paitings.
The cards celebrate not only the greatest names like Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Ernie Lombardi and Yogi Berra, but also popular figures as Tony Conigliaro, Rocky Colavito, John Franco, Lee Mazzilli, Joe Pepitone, Mike Scioscia, Joe Girardi and Terry Francona.
The cards are a product of the National Ethnic Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Order of Sons of Italy in America, with sets available for a $49 donation to the Sons of Italy Foundation, a 501 ( c )3 charitable foundation.
Only 10,000 sets have been produced, and each card features original oil portraits of the subjects by a team of artists supervised by the acclaimed George Kotsovos.
In addition to a full color portrait on the front, the cards feature biographical information and lifetime statistics on the back. The five-color printing process includes metallic gold foil on 16- gauge stock, heavily coated with a UV inhibitor to prevent fading. The cards are packaged and shrink wrapped in a 5 ¾” x 7” x 1 ½” gift box.
The 100 subjects selected for the set were researched and selected by originally by consensus of various experts and the with valued comments from the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, as well as individual baseball historians. Included aside from players are former Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti, umpire Babe Pinelli, Arizona Diamondbacks founding owner Jerry Colangelo, and legendary Atlanta pitching coach Leo Mazzone, featured on his first ever card apart from minor league cards.
Also receiving his “first card” is Lewis Pessano “Buttercup” Dickerson, who broke into the major leagues in 1878 with the Cincinnati Red Stockings, making him the first Italian-American in the game.
Other familiar names are Dom and Vince DiMaggio, Bobby Valentine, Steve Sax, Vic Raschi, Dave Righetti, Jason Giambi, Sal Maglie, Frank Malzone, Gary Gaetti, Carl Furillo, Frank Crosetti, Jack Clark, Rick Cerone, Bernie Carbo, Dolph Camilli, Mark Belanger, Sal Bando, Johnny Antonelli and Barry Zito. And what set would be complete without collector’s favorite Don Mossi!?
The cards are not sold commercially, and are available through the National Ethnic Heritage Foundation website. The donation is acknowledged with a fully tax deductible receipt from Order Sons of Italy Foundation. Discounts are available for three or more sets.
NEHF, a 501(c)3 corporation was established in August 2008 with a mission to educate the North American public about the cultural contributions made to the United States and Canada by the diverse ethnic and religious groups that power the engines or growth and knowledge. The Foundation collects and disseminates this knowledge through print and electronic media. Their goal is not just tolerance, but total acceptance of the minority by the majority.