JerseyMan Magazine V12N4

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George Anastasia’s

MOB SCENE

Fran Dunphy BY DEI LYNAM

South Jersey Farmers

®

Volume 12 • Number 4 – $3.95

Philadelphia Eagles head coach

Nick Sirianni SEEKING PERFECTION

INSIDE INTRODUCING

Kevin Reilly CATCHING UP WITH

Trent Cole NEW FLYERS COACH

John Tortorella

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PUBLISHER

FROM JerseyMan Magazine THE VOLUME 12 • NUMBER 4 ____________________________________________________________________________________ BY KEN DUNEK

Ken Dunek Publisher ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Ashley Dunek

Kicking off our football issue

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WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME two new members to the JerseyMan/PhillyMan stable of writing contributors. I’ve known Kevin Reilly since my days with the Eagles in the early 80s. I noticed this gregarious one-armed guy bouncing around as a visitor in the locker room and wondered what his story was.

As you will read in his first column, he was a fine linebacker for the Birds in the early 70s, and then caught a bad break when his left arm, shoulder, and four ribs had to be removed because of a desmoid tumor that ended his playing career.

EDITOR George Brinkerhoff ART DIRECTOR Steve Iannarelli CONTRIBUTING WRITERS George Anastasia, Jan L. Apple, Michael Bradley, George Brinkerhoff, Sam Carchidi, Alexandra Dunek, Mark Eckel, Robert Kennedy, Sam Kraft, Dei Lynam, Anthony Mongeluzo, Kevin Reilly, Chloe Senatore, Kurt Smith, Dave Spadaro Event Coordinator & Administrative Assistant Alexandra Dunek

In true championship style, Kevin didn’t let this health setback defeat him, and has gone on to great professional success as a businessman, motivational speaker, broadcaster, and author. He will write a column moving forward, and we are beyond pleased.

Website & Digital Coordinator Jamie Dunek

His book titled “Tackling Life” is a must-read for all.

Advertising 856-912-4007

The second member I’d like to welcome is also part of the Eagles family.

Printing Alcom Printing, Harleysville, Pa.

Dave Spadaro has had a prominent role as a spokesperson for the Birds since he joined the organization in 1997. He has won a local Emmy for his work on the “Inside the Eagles” television show in 2018 and is a main contributor on the Eagles’ website philadelphiaeagles.com. Dave’s insider access will bring our readers insightful information on the Eagles and their quest for another Super Bowl title. As always, I am humbled that quality professionals like Kevin, Dave, and all of our great writers put their names and writing reputations on our pages. Welcome to JerseyMan/PhillyMan fellas as we kick off the October 2022 football issue! Read Dave Spadaro’s article on head coach Nick Sirianni as he embarks on his second season in charge of the Eagles on page 40.

Editorial gbrinkerhoff@jerseymanmagazine.com

Controller Rose M. Balcavage Sales Associates Ashley Dunek, Jamie Dunek, Terri Dunek, Allison Farcus, JP Lutz Intern Chloe Senatore JerseyMan/PhillyMan Advisory Board Peter Cordua (Chairman). . . HBK CPAs & Consultants Bill Emerson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Emerson Group Jerry Flanagan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J Dog Brands Damien Ghee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TD Bank Bob Hoey. . . . . . . . . . . . . Janney Montgomery Scott Kristi Howell. . Burlington Co. Chamber of Commerce Ed Hutchinson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hutchinson Robert Kennedy. . . . . . . . . . The Kennedy Companies Doug MacGray . . . . . . . . . Stonecrop Wealth Advisors Anthony Mongeluzo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PCS Charlie Muracco. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CLM Advisors Ryan Regina. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Big Sky Enterprises Scott Tanker . . . . . . . . . . . Tanker Business Solutions Joe Tredinnick. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cornerstone Bank Les Vail. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Workplace HCM Jim Wujcik. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Santander Bank

“You can learn a line from a win and a book from a defeat.” – Paul Brown JerseyMan Magazine/PhillyMan Magazine, products of a partnership between Ken Dunek, Anthony Mongeluzo, and Alcom Printing Group, are published by New Opportunity Publishing, LLC, with offices at 5 Perina Boulevard Cherry Hill, NJ 08003. Copyright 2022.

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INSIDE

“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” – Vince Lombardi

JerseyMan Magazine VOLUME 12 • NUMBER 4

ON THE COVER

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Eagles head coach

NICK SIRIANNI

FRAN DUNPHY

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by DEI LYNAM

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THE DREAM CONTINUES by KEVIN REILLY

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FARM FRESH SOUTH JERSEY FARMERS REINVENT THEIR PRODUCT OFFERINGS

46 CATCHING UP WITH

TRENT COLE

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JOHN TORTORELLA by SAM CARCHIDI

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COLLECTORS AND SONS APP FOR SPORTS CARD COLLECTORS CALLED COLLX

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PHILLY SPORTS HALL OF FAME

COLUMNS

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1 2 J O T T I N G S • 2 0 G E O R G E A N A S T A S I A ’ S M O B S C E N E • 30 GET FIT 70 THE CIGAR GUY • 76 TECH TIME • 78 THE WINE MAN

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JOTTINGS

“Success isn’t owned, it is leased.

And rent is due every day.” ______________________________________________________________________________ – J.J. Watt

BY GEORGE BRINKERHOFF

Football, 130 Years Ago: “Spirited,” indeed!

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OOTBALL ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED as a game played between northeastern colleges in the mid to late 1800’s. Then, according to the The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, “Post-graduate football had its beginnings generally with teams representing organizations from other sports, such as two bicycle clubs, the Century Wheelmen and the Park Avenue Wheelmen.” The first all-professional team wouldn’t form until 1901, as

the Philadelphia Football Club. So, just what was this post-graduate era of football like? The following article recounts a game played between the two Wheelmen clubs in 1892, and through some priceless verbiage, captures the evident savagery of the clash and the admirable toughness of the men involved amid the mounting carnage of the event, (which ended tied at zero!)

The Century and Park Avenue Wheelmen engage in a spirited game of football, Philadelphia, PA, 1892. CYCLERS AS KICKERS Great Football Game Between Century and Park Avenue SLUGGING AND DIRTY PLAYING No-one Killed, but Several Wounded. Good Blood Spilled and Bad Blood Made – Bicycle Spokes. For a full hour yesterday the football teams of the Century and Park Avenue Wheelmen punched, kicked, bit, gouged and did everything else connected with the game of football except score. The struggle took place on the Philadelphia ball grounds and was one of the toughest contests ever witnessed there. The Park Avenue team outweighed the Century, and yet did not seem to possess as much muscular strength as their opponents, and while the Park avenue men were playing the first game in which they ever lined up they seemed to play better together at critical points of the game than the wearers of the cardinal and orange. The game was advertised to start at 3 o’clock, but the three or four hundred spectators were kept waiting nearly an hour before time was called. A particular feature of the contest was that while it was a most vicious one, in which slugging predominated, each side denies having done any

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punching. Another peculiarity was that while the referee and umpire acted impartially throughout the game each side claimed that the former cheated for the other side and that the latter was no good to either side. In the first half the ball was hardly in play before the Century men had gotten it into Park Avenue’s territory. In one of the first struggles Highley, P. A. W.’s right half, was stunned. His comrades claimed Century’s quarterback, Allen, fell on him with both knees, driving them clear through Highley’s body, but there were no holes in the latter to prove this assertion, and Allen claimed that he was 100 yards away sitting quietly on the grass when the accident occurred. Park avenue fought gamely, but little by little Century forced the ball toward the goal, and had it not been for the crooked work of the referee they claim they would have made a touchdown. The Park Avenue men claim the referee favored the other side at this point and that the ball was really theirs. Back the ball went into the field, where the Park Avenue men, taking renewed courage made a hard fight and got the ball a little beyond the centre of the field. During this struggle the game was enlivened by the knocking out one

after another of the three Calvers, who seemed to have the lives of cats, and after having the life half knocked out of them came up smiling to continue the struggle. Right end Oakford, had a dose of hard luck, a kick or punch on the back of the neck sending him to the bench, and Megins took his place. The first half closed with the ball in the possession of the Century men. A good long run by Century’s full back, Wood, in this half was a feature of the play. In the second half the playing, if anything, was harder, and Park Avenue made a gallant struggle. Both sides played a centre rushing game – running around the ends being neglected. After being in play about five minutes Captain Griffiths [sic] got the ball and made a grand dash for the line. After a run of 50 yards he was sent to the earth and in the pile on of the two teams one or two of the Calvers were smashed up pretty badly and Mattheys, Century’s left tackle, was also knocked out. The dashing of a bucket of water over the men brought them out all right, and when play was resumed Park Avenue formed a turtle-back and forced the Century men back some 25 yards. Captain Ludlam got the ball, and, rushing around the end, was making a bee line for Century’s goal when he

was sent onto his nose. In the struggle for the ball Century’s quarter-back Allen was knocked senseless with a kick in the jaw. The struggle was resumed and continued till Kendrick, P. A. W.’s centre, was thrown in the mud, and after he had pulled out from under the struggling mass it took several minutes to get the mud and dirt out of his mouth, nose and eyes in order that he might breathe and see. Tucker, century’s right half, got the ball in the next rush and made a good run before he was spilled. When the men crushed together Century’s left half-back was knocked senseless and had to be taken from the field, Substitute Drasher taking his place. The half ended with the ball in the grasp of a Century man. Near the end of the first half, when Oakford was disabled, Park Avenue wanted to substitute Osgood, Cornell’s half-back, who was elected a member of the club last week, but President Bunnell would not consent, as considerable money was staked on the game, having been bet with the understanding that the teams should be as originally placed.”

The Philadelphia Record, November 20, 1882, as it appears on Explorepahistory.com.


The Mouse Who Played Football

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OMETIMES INSPIRATION COMES IN THE LITTLEST PACKAGES. And sometimes adults need reminders of childhood’s lessons. In “The Mouse Who Played Football” former Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook and television sportscaster Lesley Van Arsdall present us with the heartwarming tale of an undersized mouse named “Brian” who defies everyone’s expectations about his small size to go on and do some very big things! (Hmm, I wonder who might have inspired this!) Accompanied by a series of exceedingly charming illustrations (by Mr. Tom), Brian’s life unfolds as he confronts Westbrook Van Arsdall many challenges along the way and attains one goal after another. We watch as he becomes more confident in his abilities at every stage and comes to understand and see his “shortcomings,” not as a limitation, but rather as his most valuable asset. Here’s how the book came to be from Temple University Press: After spending hours reading to her kids, Lesley Van Arsdall wanted to write a children’s book to inspire her children and teach kids valuable lessons about hard work and perseverance.

“I’m so proud to have this book,” said Van Arsdall, co-author of “The Mouse Who Played Football” and former CBS3 sports anchor. “I well up at the end, I mean, I’ve read this thing a million times and I just love it. I love the message and I just love what it says to kids.” Incidentally, half of the profits will go to nonprofits dedicated to helping children. This modest and meaningful children’s book should be on every Eagles fan’s gift list.

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Kelly green is back!

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Photo: store.philadelphiaeagles.com

TTENTION! The Eagles are bringing back their fondly remembered and much loved Kelly green unis for 2023! That’s right, the Philadelphia Eagles have responded to public pressure and are bringing back their popular but little used color scheme, which hasn’t been officially seen in these parts in a long time. This specific throwback uniform color scheme is from the Randall Cunningham era (right) and was the team’s home jersey from 1985 to 1995 on the field. After utilizing the Midnight green for the last 25 years, Jeffrey Lurie has had a change of heart and, realizing how widely popular they are, put into motion what became a two-year process due to NFL rules to get the Eagles better suited. Though they’ll only be wearing them on a few occasions next year, the Birds always seemed to fly a bit higher with them on. The uniform lineup for 2023 is midnight green at home, white on the road, a black outfit as one alternate and the throwback Kelly green as a second alternate uniform.



What we read. The Ravaged

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by Norman Reedus

he Ravaged is a book about three middle(ish) class American people trying to find themselves in life. And not in the ‘hippie-ish’ finding oneself way, but more of the bildungsroman kind of way. Written by The Walking Dead star, Norman Reedus (right), this story is an easy read that keeps you entertained. While it might be a little bit surface-level and a tad overly descriptive at times, Reedus gives us a novel with three different storylines about altogether average people with the types of lives that don’t always get on to the page. The kind of people and circumstances encountered in this book feel like people the reader could really see themselves interacting with, from trashy waitresses and old friends to scruffy bartenders. One of the main characters, the “gear-head” motorcycle mechanic, Hunter, is a thirty-something-year-old Marine veteran who discovers his father died in a mysterious fire, prompting him to embark on a cross-country road trip with his friends from North Carolina to California, to get his affairs in order. Another storyline follows Jack, a wealthy businessman who realizes he wasted his whole life working while neglecting his family. Jack, a sixty-year-old, overweight man, decides to take a spontaneous journey to South America to see what life is like for people who have to fight for everything they have, every day. Lastly, Anne is a young, 17-year-old girl, born into an abusive, poor family in small-town Tennessee. When she gets fed up with her home life, she decides to become a train hopper with her friends. Throughout her story, she sees more of the USA than ever before and discovers more about life than she ever thought possible. A relatively short, 283 page novel with three separate storylines makes for a quick and easy read that ends up being a refreshing story about life in middle America. While you can tell this is Reedus’ debut novel, the not entirely fleshed-out writing is made up for with the interesting storylines that might hit closer to home than expected. – Chloe Senatore 16



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MOB SCENE

_______________________________________________________________________________ BY GEORGE ANASTASIA

Tale of the Tape

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HEY TALK TOO MUCH. Except for the guy in Florida. That’s the takeaway from the latest federal prosecution of the Philadelphia branch of Cosa Nostra, arguably the most recorded Mafia family in America. The case, which has resulted in a slew of guilty pleas, was built in large part around secretly recorded conversations by mob informant Anthony Persiano back in 2015. So incriminating are the conversations that all the major defendants, including mob leaders Steven Mazzone and Domenic Grande and drug dealer Joseph “Joey Electric” Servidio, have opted to plead out rather than go to trial. Mazzone and Grande are scheduled to be sentenced next month. While many of the tapes are incriminating, the most embarrassing is the one Persiano recorded while wearing a body wire to his own mob initiation ceremony in October 2015. Among other things, that tape picked up Mazzone describing some of the dos and don’ts of the organization and pushing for a greater mob presence in Atlantic City, once a stronghold of the Philadelphia crime family. Federal prosecutors say Mazzone, as underboss of the crime family, “oversaw the activities of criminal associates…and profited from their crimes.” Gambling, loansharking, extortion and narcotics trafficking were detailed in the indictment, although Mazzone and his brother Sonny, another defendant in the case, were not charged with drug offenses. In many ways, the investigation is a continuation of the dismantling of the Philadelphia crime family that began with a series of high-profile racketeering cases in the late 1980s. Testimony from mobsters who became cooperating witnesses and tapes from hightech electronic surveillance helped the feds establish nearly air-tight cases. Audio recordings are devastating pieces of evidence. Juries are mesmerized by the conversations, listening to what sounds like

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real-life episodes of The Godfather or The Sopranos. More important from a prosecutor’s perspective, it’s impossible for a defense attorney to cross-examine a tape. A defendant’s own words go unchallenged and help build the case against him. Mazzone

The tape picked up Mazzone describing some of the dos and don’ts of the organization and pushing for a greater mob presence in Atlantic City. It is a pattern that has been repeated in cities throughout the United States. In Philadelphia, it has been writ large. On two different occasions, the feds have been able to record secret, and once sacrosanct, Mafia initiation ceremonies. The late George Fresolone, a Newark-based gangster who was part of the

Philadelphia organization, wore a body wire to his own making ceremony back in 1990. Persiano repeated the feat while working for the feds in the current case. Other cases, which played out after Fresolone but before Persiano, included the twoyear bugging on the law office of Salvatore Avena that resulted in hundreds of tapes used in the prosecution of mob boss John Stanfa and most of his associates and the year-long undercover investigation built around bodywire tapes made by the late Ron Previte that targeted mob boss Joey Merlino along with Mazzone and nearly a dozen others. Merlino, now living in the Boca Raton area but still identified as the head of the Philadelphia mob, has been picked up on tape several times. His words, however, have seldom been used against him. He is taciturn and when he does speak, he is circumspect in what he says. In the Previte investigation, for example, prosecutors alleged that Merlino had given Big Ron the okay to pursue a cocaine deal in Boston. But Merlino’s words on tapes played in court were so vague that his lawyer was able to argue that the discussion was not about cocaine, but rather a stolen tractortrailer load of frozen shrimp. Merlino beat the drug rap in that case. In fact, most of the tapes on which he has been recorded are less than definitive when it comes to criminality. That can’t be said for other members of the organization.

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HE CURRENT CASE includes tapes of Servidio explaining why he deals drugs (the money) and Grande detailing how ill-gotten gains are distributed (everyone has to kick up). And then there is Mazzone offering a primer on mob life and advocating the push into Atlantic City. “Nobody break this chain,” Mazzone was recorded telling the new members following the initiation ceremony in which they were told they all served under the same flag. “You



know what I’m talking about?” With that, everyone shouted “La Famiglia!” according to an FBI document. From there Mazzone went on to talk about Atlantic City, the casino resort town that the Philadelphia mob once controlled but that was now a city where independent bookmakers and loan sharks were operating. “Got to get a hold back on Atlantic City, buddy!” Mazzone said as the Persiano tapes were rolling. “That’s what I want. That’s what I want. We have to get that back… I don’t want nobody just glomming our f***ing shit. You know what I mean? You understand what I’m saying? “ That’s not the way things should be, Mazzone explained, before adding, “we’re still street guys. Let’s face it… We’re f***ed, we’re gangsters. I mean, you know, I’m not going to let no sucker take that.” With Mazzone’s guilty plea and those of every other major defendant in the case, the making ceremony tape now gets put on a shelf. It’s in federal storage, so to speak, but is available if the feds bring another racketeering case that targets the organization. Several other wiseguys whose voices are heard on that tape have not been charged but remain on the FBI’s radar.

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HETHER THERE IS ANOTHER racketeering case in the cards for the Philadelphia mob is an open question. The consensus in law enforcement and underworld circles is it’s unlikely unless authorities can develop enough evidence to add three or four of the still unsolved mob murders to a new indictment. The murders of Raymond “Long John” Martorano, Ronnie Turchi and John Casasanto remain open investigations but with the passage of time, gathering enough evidence to bring charges becomes problematic. Mazzone served more than eight years following his conviction in the Previte case back in 2001. It appears he’ll be behind bars again by the new year. Grande, considered the next generation of South Philadelphia wiseguy, will be heading off to jail for the first time. Servidio is now a three-time convicted drug dealer and is already serving a federal sentence for a New Jersey conviction also built around Persiano’s tapes. Merlino, who was nowhere near the making ceremony or any of the other recordings, will continue to bask in the Florida sunshine while the others serve their time. Twice while living in Florida following his release from prison in 2012, federal investigators made a run at the charismatic, 22

60-year-old mob leader. Nicholas “Nicky Skins” Stefanelli paid a visit shortly after Merlino was released from prison but those conversations, which have never been made public, apparently offered little in the way of criminality. FBI informant JR Rubeo got close to Merlino a few years ago while wearing a body wire. But the New York mob associate played fast and loose with those tapes, at one point erasing recordings on his own. He was a witness against Merlino in an aborted racketeering case that ended with Merlino’s guilty plea to minor gambling charges. Rubeo, who moved in mob circles in New York and Florida, described Merlino as a typical mob boss always interested in money. “They’re all the same,” Rubeo once said while describing how most of the high ranking wiseguys with whom he dealt always grabbed for a piece of his action. The difference, he said, was that “Joey makes you feel good while he’s doing it.” That’s part of Merlino’s underworld charm. It’s one of the reasons he has beaten several murder and racketeering cases that could have sent him away for life. The other is that while many of his South Philadelphia associates talk too much, Merlino knows when to keep his mouth shut. n


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DEI LYNAM

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Fran Dunphy: One of their own

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Penn and Temple considered Dunphy one of their own during his years walking their respective sidelines, Lasalle is where Dunphy learned valuable life lessons and built his remarkable character. “When challenges confront you, what do you do with them? Do you accept them? In my case, I did,” Dunphy said. “I had a chance to serve. The Christian Brothers taught me well many years ago, saying, if you have an opportunity to serve, then do so. To come back to La Salle means something to me. My job is to do my best and talk to my players daily. If they are doing great, that’s terrific. If they aren’t doing great, how will we fix that? It is a great challenge, one that I accept, and one that I appreciate for everyone at La Salle thinking I can do a good job.” Dunphy does not know precisely what the upcoming season holds, but he knows that

La Salle University has much to offer a young person wanting to join the Explorers family. “This is a great university. There is not a lot of self-importance in what we do,” Dunphy said. “That’s not how we roll. We just work hard. We grab our lunch pails and hard hats and come to work every day. There is no sense of entitlement; we will work at it. How good are we going to be? I don’t know that because I don’t know what the landscape of college basketball will look like if we are standing here in five years. The game is changing. Life is changing. We have to change around it and adapt to it.” One of the changes significantly impacting college basketball is the transfer portal. There was a time when players wanting to change universities would have to sit out a year. In today’s climate, they are eligible to play immediately at their new school. This past spring, the Photo LaSalle University

HE LAST TIME the LaSalle men’s basketball team reached the NCAA tournament was in 2013. They were a 13-seed who advanced to the Sweet 16. Tyrone Garland’s Southwest Philly floater with 2.5 seconds remaining gave the Explorers a 76-74 lead over Ole Miss. The two-point advantage remained as time expired. The program has had just one winning record in the nine following seasons. When the school decided to relieve Ashley Howard of his head coaching duties this past spring after four seasons, a monster challenge was staring at them. Who could put the Explorers back on the basketball map? The answer was one of their own. “Fran Dunphy was our number one candidate,” Greg Webster said. Webster, like Dunphy, played basketball at LaSalle and remains an active alumnus. “First, he is a La Salle guy with deep La Salle roots. He played there, coached there, and then you add his accomplishments. It is pretty remarkable what he did at Penn and what he did at Temple. I think he was coach of the year four times when he coached the Owls. That’s the coaches voting for coach of the year. That is a group of highclassed coaches, and to be recognized that way - his resume speaks for itself.” Listening to Webster speak, it becomes apparent why his alma mater targeted Dunphy as the 20th head coach in La Salle men’s basketball history. But why would a soon-to-be 74-year-old man want to attempt to resurrect the struggling program on West Olney Avenue? “It is actually my fourth stint at La Salle,” Dunphy explained. “Some were at La Salle College, and now La Salle University. La Salle gave me a chance as a student-athlete in 1966. They gave me a chance in 1979 to be an assistant coach. Then I came back in 1985-86 to coach with Lefty Ervin and for two more years as an assistant with Speedy Morris. And now I am back again.” La Salle is home to Dunphy. And while

Dunphy


Explorers lost their top two scorers and leading rebounder from a year ago to the transfer portal. “We lost some guys; that’s the way life is,” Dunphy said. “Those guys that have left us deserve that opportunity that they have taken advantage of, but we are going to get others to come in and take their spots, and hopefully, we will do great work.” Two such replacements are the Drame twins, Hassan and Fousseyni. The brothers from West Africa were juniors on last year’s NCAA tournament Cinderella team, St. Peter’s College. The Peacocks, as a 15-seed, had a remarkable run to the Elite Eight before losing to North Carolina. The twins were critical to the team’s success, displaying tremendous energy, spirited defense, and rebounding tenacity. They have all the characteristics Dunphy is looking for in his team’s student-athletes. In his 17 years at Penn, Dunphy only had four losing seasons; when he was in charge of the Temple Owls, that happened just twice across 13 seasons. The track record is there. Good days lie ahead for the La Salle basketball community. “I would love to tell you what a genius I am as a coach,” Dunphy said with a smile. “But the reality is I am just a regular Joe trying to do the best job I can.” n

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Where We Eat

La Esperanza

BY CHLOE SENATORE

Lindenwold, NJ

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Photos Chloe Senatore

F YOU’RE WILLING to trade in your regular Miller Light and football game for a Corona and soccer match for an evening, La Esperanza is the place to do it – and it’s worth the sacrifice. La Esperanza is a bright pink building located off of the White Horse Pike in Lindenwold, NJ. Owned and operated by the Cordova family for years, this restaurant has some of the best Mexican and Hispanic food you can find in our area, and you don’t even have to cross the bridge into Philly to get it. The lively atmosphere offers classic options to die for like your usual tacos and burritos (which are heavenly). I had mine with the melt-in-your-mouth al pastor (marinated pork). Insert heart eyes emoji. If you’re feeling adventurous, however, they also have some delicious, authentic Hispanic dishes like their marinated steak dish, Bistec a la Mexicana, or their slow-cooked-then-fried pork dish, the Carnitas de Puerco. Yum. The guacamole is made fresh for every individual order, served in a molcajete bowl, and all I have to say is, “Wow, just wow!” La Esperanza’s guacamole might just be the best I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve had a lot of ‘guac and chips’ moments in my life. Oh, and they even make their tortilla chips in-house. Did I mention this place is authentic? If you weren’t already convinced, La Esperanza has also won numerous awards, including over ten “Best of South Jersey” awards in the Courier Post, a “Best of Philly” winner, and named to the “Philly Hot List.” With a setting like a bright pink exterior and colorful flags, pinatas, and beautiful decorations on the inside, it feels like Cinco de Mayo every time you walk in. The bar also serves an incredible collection of top-notch Tequilas, if that’s your thing. And by the way, if you’re into margaritas, La Esperanza has an entire list of homemade margs to choose from, which is pretty much nonnegotiable. Their “Fresh Margarita” is unbelievable and if you’re one of the lucky ones that doesn’t think cilantro tastes like soap, I highly recommend the Fresh Cilantro Lime margarita. The next time you’re in the mood for Mexican, this South Jersey spot is a hidden gem that you have to check out. ¡Salud! n



KEVIN REILLY

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The Dream Continues

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game tied at 10 to 10, I go out on the field with the field goal team. Our kicker, Tom Dempsey, would attempt a 45-yard field goal to win the game. Dallas coach, Tom Landry, calls a double time out, to ice our kicker Dempsey. During the time-out, Dempsey grabs each guy in the huddle by the facemasks, and says, “You get the block, I’ll get the kick.” And the dream continues… Photo: kevinreilly52.com

VER SINCE I WAS 10 YEARS OLD, I used to dream of being a professional athlete. In the early 1960s, before there were 600 channels on TV and the internet, it was not unusual to find me playing all by myself in the backyard. I would pretend to make the winning shot for the Philadelphia 76ers, while also calling the winning shot out loud as if I was Al Meltzer. Pretending was another way of dreaming and regardless of the odds, I made this a secret goal. And the journey began… At all-boys high school, Salesianum, I played football, basketball, and baseball, and was captain of the football and basketball teams. After mulling over 12 college football scholarships, I chose Villanova, where I was Co-Captain my Senior year. During my four years of college, I had little interest in anything but weightlifting, getting good grades to stay eligible, staying healthy, and gaining weight in anticipation of getting drafted into the NFL. The dream continued…. I was the 130th player drafted in the 1973 NFL draft by the 1972 unbeaten Miami Dolphins, who won the 1973 Super Bowl. I was the last guy released by the Dolphins the following year, but I knew that I had 12 weeks of practice, great coaching, and seven preseason games I played that had made me a much better player. And as disappointed as I was that day, and as coach Don Shula told me the news, he also said, “You didn’t just get released from the Pottstown Firebirds, you got released by the world champions, and you can play in this league, and you’ll be signed by another team within three weeks.” And the dream continued…. I was signed as a free agent with my hometown team, the Philadelphia Eagles. I became a backup linebacker to Bill Bergey, and I played on all the Eagle’s special teams. And so, the dream continues…. On Monday night, September 23rd, 1974, the Philadelphia Eagles played the heavily favored Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football. With four seconds on the clock and the

Former Steeler Rocky Bleier challenged me that day to not listen to any naysayers on what I couldn’t or shouldn’t do. I got the block, along with nine other guys, and as I looked up from the pile-up on the turf of Veterans Stadium, I watched the football sail through the uprights! As we are jumping on each other to a raucous crowd in the stands, I can’t help but think of that 10-yearold boy in his backyard and his dream coming true. Fast-forward four years, to 1979. I woke

up in Sloan-Kettering hospital, after two days in ICU, missing my left shoulder, left arm, and four ribs due to a rare but potentially deadly tumor, called Desmoid. And the dream collapses…. A 29-year-old with three kids, ages two, one, and an infant, and I don’t know if the team of surgeons got all of the tumor, and I won’t know its remission status for ten years. To me, that was a depressing mental jail sentence. Down the tubes, I went, mentally, as these questions haunted me: Will the tumor kill me? Will I ever be able to go back to work again as a sales executive at Xerox? Will I ever be able to play golf and get back to running 5k races again? And on and on, the negative list continued in my head, until, at my lowest point, I received a phone call. It was from former Steeler, Rocky Bleier, who incredibly enough, had returned to the Steelers after being injured in Vietnam by shrapnel from a grenade that destroyed his knee. Doctors had told him his return to football was impossible. Yet, after two intense years of surgeries and excruciating PT sessions, Rocky not only returned to the Steelers but had accumulated four Super Bowl rings and was a major contributor in all four wins. We talked for an hour, and he vigorously challenged me that day to not listen to any naysayers on what I couldn’t or shouldn’t do. He told me my new goal was to be the best one-arm person I could be, mentally and physically. He ended our conversation with this quote: “Experts built the Titanic, and amateurs built the Ark.” The lesson that I learned that day was this: one good positive person who took the time to care enough to motivate me that day changed my whole life. At 71, I still golf, run in 5K’s, lift weights, drive a car, tie my tie, tie my shoes, etc., etc. ….

Y

ES, THE DREAM CONTINUES, but it’s taking a different path. I promised Rocky, and my God that day, that I would pay it forward on any opportunity that I


get. And guess what? It’s been one of the most fulfilling things that I do in my life. I genuinely get joy out of helping others, and I also believe that there are many more good people in this world than bad. But a lot of good people are reluctant to get involved these days, because of the crazy world we live in. Many people will tell you that they are just not comfortable reaching out to those in need or distress, and my quick reply back to them is this: comfort can be dangerous. “Comfort provides a floor, but also a ceiling,” (quote from Trevor Noah). So I tell them to get out of their comfort zone and take a risk. Here are a few easy starters: • Listen more intently to the person who is talking to you. Listening is the most tremendous respect that we can give to any human being. • Greet people with a smile and a cheery hello. • Congratulate someone in writing on an honor or accomplishment that they achieved. The smallest deed is better than the grandest intention and going forward remember this: “The only thing we take with us when we die, is what we give to others.” (Cardinal Charles of Chicago)! n

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GET FIT

For more guidance, follow Alexandra, NASM Certified

______________________________________________________________________________________________ Personal Trainer on Instagram at @TipsfromAFitChick BY ALEXANDRA DUNEK

Small Changes, Big Rewards If you are strength training, let me help you make a few changes you might be overlooking. Even small ones can make a big difference. 1. Elevate Your Squats If you’re having trouble performing a regular squat, try elevating your heels by putting two 5 lb. plates underneath. This will allow you to squat deeper. It’s great for people who have limited ankle and hip mobility and it also reduces stress on the lower back.

2. Avoid Weight Swing Do you find yourself swinging the weight during bicep curls or back rows? You may be lifting heavier this way, but you aren’t performing the exercise correctly. Avoid using momentum to swing the load and instead use a lighter weight and control your form through the full range of motion.

3. Prioritize Protein Do you work out, but don’t look like you work out? You might need to prioritize your protein better. You should be getting one gram of protein per pound of body weight. Try tracking your intake for a couple

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of weeks using a free app such as MyFitnessPal or MyMacros+. This will give you a better idea of how much protein you might be missing out on.

4. Proper Footwear The type of shoe you wear for strength training (in particular, lower body) will be different from the average running sneaker. Flat shoes offer more stability and are an ideal choice.

5. Film Yourself Don’t be afraid to film some of your exercises. Oftentimes, people perform a squat or deadlift, and they will twist their head to check out their form in the mirror next to them, which takes your spine out of a neutral position. Avoid a potential injury by setting your phone to record yourself if you need to see how you are performing an exercise. n



Farm Fresh South Jersey Farmers Reinvent Their Product Offerings BY JAN L. APPLE

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Think vine-ripe tomatoes, sweet corn on the cob, plump blueberries. Think New Jersey, aka the Garden State. In recent years, a number of South Jersey farmers, once thriving on dairy production, have reinvented their offerings with beef, pork, poultry and eggs. And people are seizing the opportunity to buy quality products and freezing their purchases for ready consumption. Although the practice of raising beef and livestock has existed for years, COVID-19 and supermarket shortages spurred consumers to explore alternative ways to secure food for their families. Right here in our own backyard, some of the farms in operation for three and four generations have switched gears from not only raising animals like cattle, hogs and chickens – but transformed their efforts into USDA-approved meats that are sold directly to consumers throughout the tri-state region (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware) and beyond.

Medford Cattle Farms

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Sickler’s Circle View Farm shopsicklerscircleview.com rachel@shopsicklerscircleview.com David and Rachel Sickler are the proud owners of Sickler’s Circle View Farm in Monroeville. The Salem County farm houses a retail store where their beef, pork and eggs are sold. They also keep products on hand from neighboring farms, like poultry, mushrooms and barbeque sauce, to name a few. It’s a way to support their close-knit South Jersey farming community. David Sickler, 33, a fourth-generation farmer, always dreamed of perpetuating the family tradition. That has become a reality as the couple’s sons, Leighton, 3, and Wyatt, 15 months, are integral to daily operations. “They carry small buckets and ride along in the tractors,” said Rachel Sickler, 30. The couple married in 2017, and their passion for regenerative agriculture and soil conservation became a driving force for moving the farm in new directions. “It’s about good stewardship of our land,” explained Rachel Sickler. “We have a no-till system for all our crops. There is no plowing; we don’t disturb the microbes in the soil.” Although Rachel Sickler did not grow up farming, she always loved animals. “I had horses and worked on local farms,” she said. “In the back of my mind, I always thought that I would have a farm one day.” In 2015, Rachel Sickler earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She then worked full-time in a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at a medical facility. In 2016, the Sicklers attended the annual Pennsylvania Association for Agriculture (PASA) conference, which served as an inspiration for marketing their meats to the public. “We started with a small herd of over 40 Black Angus cattle,” said Rachel Sickler. “We now have over 100 cattle, 100 pigs and 260 laying hens.” The Sicklers had been selling their meats for years, but in 2019, they launched a website and began offering individual cuts, in addition to larger shares of beef and pork: a quarter, half and a whole. “It takes almost two years to grow a steer (male cow) to be sold,” said Rachel Sickler. The cows, she explained, are taken to a USDA facility in Pennsylvania where the meat is processed, cut, packaged, vacuum sealed and frozen. It’s then sent back to the farm for direct sale to customers. Fast forward to March 2020 when businesses began shutting down. The Sicklers closed their farm store and transitioned to online ordering and pick-up. Rachel Sickler recalls 85 cars coming through their driveway on March 34

“We now have over 100 cattle, 100 pigs and 260 laying hens.”

The Sickler family

20 of that year. The farm store has since reopened, and demand continues to soar. Rachel Sickler left her nursing job at the end of 2020 to focus solely on farming.

Medford Cattle Farms medfordcattlefarms.com info@medfordcattlefarms.com Medford Cattle Farms is a joint effort between Mill Creek Organic Farm and The Jennings Farm. Chad Muckenfuss, owner of Mill Creek Organic Farm, is a third-generation farmer. The 45-year-old resides in the same Medford house where his grandparents lived. He and

his wife, Kate, and children, Emma, 14, and Alex, 12, care for the self-sustaining 130-acre farm. The 24/7 lifestyle is a labor of love for the family, complete with a one-acre vegetable garden that produces tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, string beans, and squash. Mike Yekenchick, 47, was not raised on a farm but is self-taught in animal husbandry and caring for the land. He and his wife, Steph, became so passionate about farming that they purchased The Jennings Farm in Medford in 2021 where they now reside. His daughter, Vivian, 16, and Steph’s daughter, Gab, 13, are integral to the daily operations. Muckenfuss, who is director of sales for a Mount Laurel IT company, explained that his family farm always raised animals – includ-



Farm fresh eggs from Medford Cattle Farms

ing keeping a couple of cattle on hand. Yet the production of beef to sell to the public was not an initial plan. That changed over a year ago when he had the opportunity to purchase a herd of 20 cattle. Chad and Kate Muckenfuss, together with business partners Mike and Stephanie Yekenchick, Rob and Cordy Baffic

and Jeff Yekenchick, merged their resources to create Medford Cattle Farms. The group recently purchased another herd of cows from North Jersey. According to Muckenfuss, people are starting to be more aware of where their food comes from. He explained that much of the

ground beef sold in supermarkets is imported from cattle in Argentina and Brazil. “People are interested in getting a better quality of meat while supporting local,” said Muckenfuss, elaborating that their cattle are grass-fed. In addition, they practice sustainable farming that preserves and protects the land. An online business, they sell subscription boxes through their website that are shipped to customers throughout the region. The boxes are tailored to individual tastes. For those who grill, there’s a box with steaks and burger patties. Customers who smoke their meat may prefer the option with brisket, short ribs and roasts. “The response has been overwhelming,” said Muckenfuss. “We’re actually having difficulty keeping up with the demand. People love the flavor. The comment we hear most often is ‘your beef actually tastes like beef.’” Muckenfuss explained that their cows grow at their own pace, maturing anywhere from 18-24 months. They are then taken to a USDA processing facility where the meat is dry aged for two to three weeks, cut, packaged, frozen and vacuum sealed. “It can be kept in the freezer from 8 to 12 months,” he said. “All of our cattle are pasture raised and finished,” continued Muckenfuss. “They are moved from one pasture to another, eating the



The Wainwright family

best grasses and nutrients. They are completely non-GMO by default.” Non-GMO is defined as “not genetically modified.” The farm also sells fresh eggs from freerange chickens. Those are not shipped; they can be pre-ordered for pick-up. They’ll be offering pork products starting in March 2023. Muckenfuss explained that their five breeds of chickens lay different colored eggs: blue, green, white, and brown. He underscored the dramatic taste difference between farm fresh and those sold in supermarkets. “In a store, the eggs might be two to four weeks old,” he said. “Farm fresh are a few days to a week. If you crack open the eggs and compare the yolks, ours are much darker in color, almost orange.”

Clover Valley Farm clovervalleyfarm.com info@clovervalleyfarm.com Meet Danielle and Fred Wainwright III, owners and operators of Clover Valley Farm in Southampton. The couple have been selling beef in bulk directly to customers since 2012. Fred Wainwright is a fourth-generation farmer. Although Danielle Wainwright was not raised 38

on a farm, she always dreamed of being a dairy farmer. “I switched gears from dairy to beef,” explained the 38-year-old who holds a bachelor’s degree in dairy science. Fred Wainwright is a CPA. The couple raises Angus and Wagyu cattle, which are grain and grass finished. Wagyu cattle, explained Danielle Wainwright, are a much sought-after Japanese breed known for their “marbling” throughout their cuts, and considered a delicacy. “We are a cow/calf farm,” said Danielle Wainwright. “Cows are giving birth on the farm. We grow the herd, and our steers are raised for our beef program.” The Wainwrights recently began offering individual cuts of meat which are sold at a Southampton farmer’s market six days a week. Their bulk beef orders: a whole, a half or a quarter can be ordered via email and through their website. The quality and taste of their meat has been described by customers as “phenomenal.” They previously sold poultry and will offer this again in the spring of 2023. The Wainwrights, who have two sons: Fred IV, 4, and Sawyer, almost 3, have the unique distinction of also being animal nutritionists. They formulate feed for their livestock. “The mix is a vegetarian feed that has no hormones

“I am passionate about promoting agriculture and showing the kids where their food comes from.” or antibiotics,” said Danielle Wainwright. They work with large-scale dairy farmers and homesteaders to establish feeding programs. They also help homesteaders with layout and overall management. Danielle Wainwright noted that since the onset of COVID, there’s been an increased interest in farming and the purchase of livestock. Danielle Wainwright is one of two Burlington County representatives who serves on the New Jersey Farm Bureau’s Women’s Leadership Committee. She visits classrooms throughout the state to promote and educate about agriculture. She often brings along a baby calf (when visiting local schools) and reads a book to children. “I am passionate about promoting agriculture and showing the kids where their food comes from,” she said. n


11.3.22

Unmasking


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Photo courtesy Philadelphia Eagles


Philadelphia Eagles head coach

Nick Sirianni SEEKING PERFECTION

BY DAVE SPADARO

Here is Nick Sirianni standing in the auditorium of the NovaCare Complex addressing his Philadelphia Eagles with a story about Pablo Casals, known as one of the great 20th-century cellists. And if you’re wondering how in the world Sirianni can engage NFL players with a world-renowned cellist, well, you’re not alone. “Nick always has a story and somehow it ends up making sense,” wide receiver Josh Pascal says. “It’s one of his great ways of connecting with the players. It’s a gift, really.” In this instance, Sirianni tells the Eagles players – this group of mostly Gen Z young men with a millennial or two thrown in there – of Casals’ obsession with perfection, how a career that lasted more than five decades at the very top of his profession happened because Casals dedicated himself every day to perfection. He was never satisfied. He never stopped working.

“And that’s why he was the best ever,” Sirianni says, excited as always. “He was always practicing, always trying to make himself better. Every day, he was obsessed with just making himself a little bit better and that’s always my message to the players. It goes back to that ‘one percent better every day’ idea. That’s what we’re trying to do here. Every day you work on the fundamentals. You improve one part of your game. “I’ve always believed that if you do that, you’re going to be very pleased with your game.” Sirianni has always believed it because he’s lived a lifetime in the coaching world. His father was a high school head coach when Sirianni was a kid growing up in Jamestown, New York and so many of his family vacations and time spent with “Pops” revolved around the game of football. Both of Sirianni’s brothers have coached and, clearly, his entire world has been about the sport. A standout who played wide receiver collegiate-

ly at Mount Union, Sirianni, you might say, was born to be a coach at some point in time. Now he’s reached the highest level and in his second season in Philadelphia is generally regarded as one of the game’s brightest young minds. You know that Sirianni in his first year with the Eagles took a team that started the season 2-5 and won seven of the final 10 games in 2021 to reach the playoffs. A coach who talked about “planting the seeds to success” – another one of his stories that was heavily scrutinized and, indeed, mocked, in the media – is firmly in control of his locker room. He’s won them over with his stories, with his commitment to them, with his program and with his vision. “You never know when you have a new head coach. You want to give him a chance to show you what he’s got and what he’s going to do,” veteran defensive end Brandon Graham says. “With Nick, the first thing we saw was his energy. He’s always upbeat, he’s always looking to make it fun for us. He’ll 41


work us hard, but he just has a way of being there with us. “Last year was rough, man. I got hurt early so I was working on my comeback. I stayed around the team and helped as much as I could, so it was a different deal for me. Seeing how he kept everybody together and that we made it to the playoffs, man, that was something. We all believe in Nick and what he’s doing. We’re just picking up where we left off and it’s only going to get better now.” The Eagles have positioned themselves to take the next step in 2022. A huge offseason included trading for wide receiver A.J. Brown, signing edge rusher and South Jersey native Haason Reddick, cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Kyzir White in free agency and drafting defensive tackle Jordan Davis, center Cam Jurgens and linebacker Nakobe Dean. The talent level of the roster has improved substantially, and everyone feels the rise in optimism among the fans and in the region.

Sirianni, for his part, is keeping it all in perspective. Even though he’s only 40 years of age, Sirianni has been in the NFL since 2009 working his way up the coaching ladder – he was an offensive quality control coach, then a wide receivers coach, then a quarterbacks coach, and for three seasons in Indianapolis, an offensive coordinator. The man is a lifer, so to say he is in his element is an understatement. “Every day is a new one and I relish every opportunity,” he says. “I love competition and there is nothing more competitive than being in the NFL and being challenged. To win those games, you have to be at your best every day of the week before that. You have to win on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and so on. You have to work on the details. You can’t let the details slip, even a little bit. If you excuse those details, you’re going to find out on game day that you’re way behind, and in this league, you can’t afford to be even a step behind.

“We listen and we absorb what he’s saying. He’s trying to make us better as individuals and as a team and that’s the bottom line.” – Eagles TE Dallas Goedert

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“I try not to be complicated for the guys. I think I’m very clear with my messaging and I think they understand that and respond to that. I know that when I sat in that seat as a player at Mount Union, I wanted to hear the truth from my coaches. I wanted them to be clear with what they wanted from me. Then it’s my responsibility to go out and do it.”

In “Year Two” of the Nick Sirianni era,

the Eagles have an offense that appears, on paper, to be loaded. Jalen Hurts is back for his second season as the full-time starting quarterback, and he’s bolstered by potentially the most talented wide receiver duo in Eagles history in Brown and 2021 No. 1 draft pick DeVonta Smith. The running game, with a large assist from Hurts’ multi-dimensional skills, led the NFL last season. The offensive line is intact and expected to be among the very best in the league. Adding all of those pieces in the offseason


Photos courtesy Philadelphia Eagles

“I love competition and there is nothing more competitive than being in the NFL.”

plus the return of Graham boosts a defense that expects to be more capable of dictating to offenses. The kicking game is solid, headed by the Pro Bowl foot of Jake Elliott. So, where are the Eagles headed in 2022? The players are waiting for Sirianni to address the future, maybe the part about not getting ahead of yourself, staying in the moment, not listening to the outside hype. “We haven’t heard one about that yet, but yeah, he has a lot of stories. Sometimes you say, ‘How much of this is really true?’ but I think Coach backs it up,” tight end Dallas Goedert says. “I do think they have an impact. We listen and we absorb what he’s saying. He’s trying to make us better as individuals and as a team and that’s the bottom line. That’s what you want from your head coach, so I know I’m all in when he’s standing up there talking. He loves to talk. He loves to tell the stories. And I think he does it because he feels it will help us, so how can you argue with that?” n

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Catching up with

Photos courtesy Philadelphia Eagles

Trent Cole BY MARK ECKEL

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E

ven a casual Philadelphia Eagles fan can tell you the team’s all-time sack leader is Reggie White, right?

How many can tell you who is second to White on the team’s all-time sack list? No, it’s not Clyde Simmons, White’s passrush partner in the late 80s into the 90s. It’s not Hugh Douglas, or Brandon Graham, either. The answer is Trent Cole, the team’s 2005 fifth-round draft pick out of Cincinnati, who recorded 85 1/2 of his career 90 1/2 sacks as an Eagle from 2005-2014. Cole, who was named to the All-Rookie team in 2005, the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009 and was All-Pro in 2009, is also among the Eagles leaders in tackles for a loss, with 124 of his career 133, and forced fumbles, with 19 of his career 21. How impressive is 90 1/2-133-21 for a defensive end? Consider these comparisons: Douglas, in the same 10 years went 80-64-13. Graham, in 12 years and counting, is at 59-105-19. The Eagles will acknowledge Cole’s accomplishments later this season when he will go into the team’s Hall of Fame along with Douglas at halftime of the team’s November 27th Sunday night game against the Green Bay Packers. Six years after he finished his career in Indianapolis, with the Colts, JerseyMan Magazine caught up with arguably the most underrated player in Eagles history. He’s still living in Mullica Hill, New Jersey with his wife Paige, their three children, six-year-old Teigan, four-yearold Sutton and two-year-old Trent III and a fourth on the way. And he’s still an avid outdoorsman, a skill he’s taken to another level while also running a grain farm on his property in South Jersey. JerseyMan: Do you ever look back at your career and realize what you did and where you rank among some of the all-time greats? Trent Cole: It’s hard for me to look back because I was never a stat guy. I’ve had people tell me. But I was the kind of guy that lived by, ‘What could I do tomorrow?’ I was always in competition with myself, not anyone else, myself. I’m also humble about that stuff. I have friends and teammates tell me all of that and it’s nice to hear it. But I never paid attention to any of it, especially when I was playing. Now, it is nice to hear all of that.

JM: Do you feel you were underrated? That a lot of people don’t know just how good you were? TC: I think everyone knew how good I was. It just wasn’t put out there. But [teams] knew. I was getting doubled-teamed and triple-teamed. I was getting triple-teamed, I’m telling you. When other players tell you, after the game, ‘They were keying on you the whole game,’ they knew. JM: You were really durable during your career. You only missed five games in 12 years. That’s pretty remarkable.

TC: That comes from going 100 miles per hour every play. I always kept moving, kept my feet moving. If you get caught standing around a pile, you know what happens. That’s when injury happens. I was always going to be on the bottom of the pile or on top of the pile, not standing around. JM: It had to be more than just that. You had to keep yourself right, stay in shape, watch your diet, all of that. TC: I did. I was big on active recovery. If I did get hurt, I wasn’t going to let it keep me out. 47


“I just always wanted to be a good teammate and lead by example.” JM: The Eagles are going to honor you in November, putting you into their Hall of Fame. What does that mean to you?

Photo courtesy Philadelphia Eagles

TC: It’s awesome. It’s a great feeling. I just always wanted to be a good teammate and lead by example. I just wanted people to understand me, but it’s not really for them to understand me. I just wanted to set a good example and lead by example. But I can’t be more appreciative of the Eagles and of the Eagles fans. JM: You’re going in with Hugh Douglas. Wasn’t Hugh a mentor for you when you first came into the league? TC: I’ll never forget. He was the guy who told me, ‘You got it, you got it, man.’ He would always get on me about using my hands. He

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Photo BlitzTV

would tell me I had to use my hands more and he was 100 percent spot on. JM: You go back a ways with Hugh. TC: You won’t believe this, but I was the ball boy at his college [Central State in Ohio]. From my house, I could see the football field. It was in the middle of nowhere. It was a country school, and I was a country kid. But my mom was the cheerleading coach, so I was able to go over there. And I was the ball boy. JM: What’s your fondest moment or memory? Is there anything that stands out above the rest? TC: I’ll never forget that game against the Giants (in 2010) when DeSean [Jackson] brought the punt back for a touchdown to win the game. That was crazy. And then getting to the [NFC] championship game [in 2008], even though we lost [to Arizona]. I played my heart out in that game. I never played harder in my life.

bine. I was first round all day, all day. Then I got sick and couldn’t participate. My weight dropped to around 230. Fortunately, the Eagles still took a chance on me, even though they didn’t see me. JM: Did you use that as any extra motivation? TC: I was a man on fire. Something was in me to drive me and make something out of it. I was always going to go as far as I could.

JM: Take me back to your draft, you slipped to the fifth round. What happened there? You were sick, or hurt, right?

JM: You came out of the University of Cincinnati. What was it like for you to watch those Bearcats get some national recognition last fall and be in the college football playoffs?

TC: I had pneumonia during the Combine and almost died. I was 260 pounds, running a 4.5 [in the 40] getting ready for the Com-

TC: It was a big thrill. We came a long way. We’re up there now. And I think we’re there to stay. We’ve always had guys come out and

play well, a lot of lower-round picks, too. But now the school is getting recognized. JM: You were always an avid hunter and outdoorsman when you played. Now, you have a TV show, Blitz Outdoors, on the Sportsman Channel. How did that happen? TC: I grew up hunting and watching shows about hunting on television. I started thinking about that and thought, ‘We can do this.’ I got to the NFL and had some change in my pocket, I got my friends and we started filming us. We got some cameras and we started filming our hunts. It got bigger and bigger and now we have a staff. It became a production company. Now we’re on national television. JM: You played your last two years in Indianapolis, with the Colts, which is closer to where you grew up in Ohio. But you came back to live in New Jersey. I guess you liked it here? TC: I love it. People complain about the high taxes and whatever, but I love it. I love living here in Jersey, South Jersey. I love South Jersey. It’s a great place to raise your family. I thought about going home, but my wife wanted to stay and I’m glad we did. Like I said, it’s a great place for a family. And it reminds me a lot of being back home. n

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Photo courtesy Zack Hill/Flyers

PROFILE

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Torts Reform Flyers Try to Rebound Under Fiery New Coach BY SAM CARCHIDI

John Tortorella really missed coaching. How much? Well, he left a job as an ESPN hockey analyst to become the head coach of a Philadelphia Flyers team that finished with the second-worst record in franchise history last season, a team that did little in the offseason to improve its fate. Tortorella likes the challenge. He was desperate to get back behind a bench, desperate to get back to his element. “Missed it terribly,” he said. Surprisingly, he said becoming the Flyers’ coach had been on his mind for almost two decades. In one sense, he picked a bad time for his wish to come true. The team looks mediocre at best, as does the farm system. Then again, the Flyers would be hardpressed to repeat last year’s 61-point disaster,

a season in which they had an inordinate amount of injuries to key players, such as Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, and Ryan Ellis. “It’s a great challenge to get the organization back on the right rail,” said Tortorella, who signed a four-year deal that pays him $4 million per season. “And as I’ve said from the get-go, it’s always been an organization that I’ve respected. We had some wars with them.” Before being hired by the Flyers, Tortorella was a head coach with Tampa Bay, the New York Rangers, Vancouver, and Columbus, compiling a 673-541-37-13 record over 20 seasons. He won a Stanley Cup with Tampa in 2004, had some very good seasons with the Rangers, and molded the Blue Jackets into a playoff contender despite a so-so roster. So there is hope for the Flyers. “I just want to be part of something and try to get some success,” said Tortorella, a two-time Coach of the Year who is the second-winningest American-born coach in NHL history. “I want to develop some of the youth of the team and try to get us to play

the right way as a team.” That didn’t happen last year when the Flyers were near or at the bottom of the league in goals scored (2.56 per game, 31st out of 32 teams) and goals allowed (3.59; 27th). They were last in the NHL on the power play (12.6%; 32nd) and 26th on the penalty kill (75.7% success rate). “We have a lot of work to do,” Tortorella said. With little cap space, the Flyers made few off-season moves. Their biggest addition was defenseman Tony DeAngelo, who is expected to quarterback the power play. The Flyers, who open their season Oct. 13 against visiting New Jersey, need Couturier and Hayes to rebound from injuries. (Couturier was out indefinitely in training camp after re-injuring his back.) It would also help immensely if some of the young players like Owen Tippett, Morgan Frost, Wade Allison, Noah Cates, Tanner Laczynski, and Cam York blossomed. Tortorella, a Boston native, said “developing a team concept and a structure that they 53


Photo courtesy Zack Hill/Flyers

understand” is foremost on his mind. “I just want to see growth. I don’t want to miss any steps as far as building that growth until you get to a kind of crescendo of just total belief in what we’re doing; total belief in who we are. That’s a process.” Tortorella, 64, is the oldest new coach in Flyers history. He said this will be the last stop in his coaching career. He is a paradox of sorts. On the bench and in the locker room, he is fiery and outspoken, someone who is demanding and, at times, sarcastic – especially with the media, though he seems to have mellowed a bit.

O

FF THE ICE, he is a dog and horse lover, and someone who is deeply philanthropic. Tortorella and his wife, Christine, have four dogs (pit bull mixes that were rescued) and three horses. “We’re like a traveling circus,” he said. He and his wife recently purchased a farm in South Jersey to raise the animals. The man they call “Torts” said he sometimes wonders what is more important to him and his family – hockey or animals. He and his wife started the John and Christine Tortorella Foundation for Giving Back. The mission: improve the lives of children

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and animals and protect the environment. The foundation promotes animal rights and has found homes for numerous rescue and foster dogs. Tortorella is especially fond of pit bulls, or “pitties,” as he calls them. “I know they have kind of a [bad] connotation for what kind of animal they are,” he said. “We kind of focus on those types of

‘‘

Our group is going to show up every day and try to do it the right way – and give you effort.”


dogs because they’re stuck in shelters all over the world. They’re such great animals. We as people screw things up.”

T

ORTORELLA IS EAGER to identify with the fans, many of whom are disillusioned by the Flyers’ decade of futility. They have won one playoff series over the last ten years. That has left the fans bitter. “And they probably have a right to be,” he said. He wants the Flyers’ on-ice demeanor to emulate the people in the blue-collar city. “We’re going to try to join with the city and have the identity of the city – a hardworking group, an honest group,” he said. “Our group is going to show up every day and try to do it the right way – and give you effort,” he said. “That’s something we can control.” His ex-players say he can get under their skin, but it’s because he cares and is trying to light a fire and bring out the best in them. “He’s a character. He’s demanding. Mentally, he’ll tear you down to nothing, then he’ll build [you and] everybody up,” Scott Hartnell, a former Flyer who played for Tortorella in Columbus, said on a Nasty Knuckles podcast. “It’s like you’re a piece of the puzzle here and a piece there.” Hartnell called Tortorella a “maniac” at one point. Seconds later, he said he was “one of my favorite coaches. I have a lot of respect for him – just the way he turned us around so quickly.” If he turns the Flyers from the NHL’s second-worst Eastern Conference team into a playoff spot, well, he might win his third Coach of the Year award. That said, Tortorella, the 23rd coach in the Flyers’ history, is known to get the most out of his players. His Columbus teams weren’t overly talented but made the playoffs four straight times at one point. Tom Sestito, another former Flyers winger who played for Tortorella in Columbus, is a believer in the coach. “Torts will be loved by his players in Philly,” Sestito said. “I played for a few of the top coaches in the NHL, and he is the best by far. You always will know where you stand with him.” He called Tortorella a “players’ coach” and said he “doesn’t care if you’re a firstline guy or a fourth-line guy. He treats everyone the same. Everyone has a role with him and knows where you stand. If you’re doing your part, you’re going to be on great terms with him.” Let the Torts era begin. n 55


Collectors and Sons Photos courtesy Ted Mann

Ted Mann with son Charlie

There is a new app available for sports card collectors that solves a decades-old problem…finding out how much your sports cards are worth. It’s called CollX, and the idea was hatched by a ten-year-old. 56

BY KURT SMITH


And as any sportscard collector knows, finding the true value of cards is a pretty overwhelming problem.

THE WONDERFUL THING

about young children is that no matter how overwhelming a problem is, they always see a simple solution. And as any sportscard collector knows, finding the true value of cards is a pretty overwhelming problem. Ted Mann, a former journalist, has just started his fourth technology company using visual search technology. It’s an app called CollX, and it’s an idea that is so obvious that adults need kids to help us see it. Fortunately, Ted has just such a visionary living under his roof…his ten-year-old son Charlie, who saw how his father’s technical skills could make the world a better place. The CollX app does the most important thing apps do…it saves collectors lots of time. With CollX, you can dig out that dusty collection of sports cards from your attic, scan each card, and instantly see its approximate worth. (Incidentally, if your cards are worth anything, hopefully, you’ve been wise enough not to let them collect dust.) No more poring through Beckett or Tuff Stuff guides, no more hauling your collection to a broker, no more countless hours on eBay. Ted and Charlie tried all those things with their collections until Charlie suggested a better idea. Ted gives all the credit where it’s due. “When I was a kid, I ran into the same problem that Charlie had. Tuff Stuff magazine, listings and prices, I also used Beckett back then, looking things up manually. “But the Beckett Guide has become like a phone book. It’s super thick. It’s really, really tough and time-consuming to look these things up, and even when you do, I was

finding that the prices in the Beckett Guide, probably the minute they’re published, are out of date. “We found some apps where you could look up cards, but they were really expensive, high-value cards, which sad to say, did not fit the description of my collection or Charlie’s. “We tried one thing after another, and finally Charlie’s like, “Dad, can you just build me something that would do this?” Cue the light bulb. ________________________________________

CHILDLIKE VISION

works because adults can’t believe some things can be easy, like finding the actual value of a Cal Ripken Jr. rookie card. As a result, many of us let valuable memorabilia collect dust in the attic. Charlie provided the inspiration, but, as Jersey native Thomas Edison informed us, genius is 99% perspiration. Ted is well aware of this, and he’s been putting in the sweat. CollX is all about making a difficult and tedious process easy…but developing the app itself has been anything but an easy process. It’s not the easiest to market research, for one. “It’s easy to go and ask people around town, ‘Do you have any cards?’ ‘Yes.’ Do you know what they’re worth? ‘No.’ Have you ever sold a card on eBay? ‘No.’ Why not? ‘I don’t know what they’re worth.’ “It definitely gave me optimism that there was something big here. But understanding how big a market it is was a challenge. We did assess that basically, thanks to eBay and other marketplaces. The current market size is about 5.4 billion. “But what about all those people that have

Image Recognition – The Key to CollX Ted Mann is an expert at image recognition, a remarkable technology that CollX employs to determine what sports card it’s looking at. His son, of course, was aware of this when he suggested the idea of using it for sports cards. “What we’re doing with CollX is a specific breed of image recognition that is sometimes called reverse image search, or reference image matching, where we have an existing reference image of a card. We’re trying to match the picture of the card that somebody’s taken on their smartphone to an image in our database. “Think about it almost like matching fingerprints…when you’re matching a fingerprint, you don’t necessarily need to match everything about the fingerprint. You’re looking for the little variations that kind of define it. We kind of do the same thing. We have a deep learning model that is trained to identify specific features within each card image, and then we’re just trying to match up one-to-one. “Imagine if the trading card itself was a QR code. And you’re basically just identifying that and matching that to an existing one in the database to get that one-to-one match.” The explanation of the technology obviously goes much deeper, but Ted’s happy to take care of that for you so you and your son can scan your cards. 57


Photo courtesy Ted Mann

never sold on eBay? Could you get them to do it? Could you get them reacquainted with their cards and back into the hobby? “We actually had to conduct a pretty big omnibus study to get a sense of that…just this afternoon, another news outlet called New Street published the findings of our research. The big takeaway was that there are about 85 million American adults that own trading cards.

58

“It’s a huge 33% of the population, and yet none of them, or I should say a small percentage of them, have ever transacted on any kind of market like eBay. The thing blocking them isn’t necessarily getting the cards graded or having access to a place to sell them. There are still a lot of card stores, there are a lot of online sites. It was simply not knowing what the cards are worth, and not having a good

way to figure that out. “If we can help solve that problem, then this huge addressable market can be unlocked.” There is also the sheer number of collector’s cards…the CollX database features 20 million and most definitely counting. It’s an ongoing process, Mann says. No kidding. “We still don’t have every card by a long shot. There are a few cards in my collection that I still can’t scan into CollX, because we haven’t gotten those images or gotten that data into our database yet.” Spoken like a true entrepreneur…20 million is nowhere near enough. Just how, exactly, does a database of 20 million sportscards get constructed? “We found a number of sites online, all publicly available sites, that have checklists. In the trading card world, you can build the set, right? And there’s a list of every card in that set. We started building those checklists and then populating all the images for all the cards in those checklists. “We started with baseball and then we added football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, wrestling. Soon we’re gonna add trading card games like Pokémon.” Mann says that they have also developed what he believes is a generally accurate algo-


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rithm for determining each card’s worth. “We’ve built up a ton of pricing data, most of which is coming from other auction sites. Again, publicly available and all readily searchable, eBay being the biggest. We’re taking all of those transactions and mapping those back into the individual cards.” An arduous task, undoubtedly. But the CollX app keeps improving, and its usage keeps growing. ________________________________________

DURING OUR INTERVIEW with Mann,

The Collector’s Community Ted and Charlie and partner David Grzybowski recently attended a sportscard event in Atlantic City, where they were quite well received…and encouraged. “I met probably a thousand people at the national in person who just really love the app. A couple of them came to me with a laundry list of features they’d love to see, which is great too.” Photo courtesy Ted Mann

a counter sitting on a nearby shelf occasionally made clicking noises and changed the number it was displaying. This counter, Mann explained, shows the number of people using the app at a given time. At that moment, the number was 232,408 and growing. There are plenty of curious collectors out there. But Mann and Son’s E-Z Sportscard Valuation Service has bigger plans…not just helping users find the worth of their cards, but also facilitating the sale process if they are inclined, and ultimately monetizing the app through commissions. “We’re a very early business,” Mann says. “We aren’t charging for the app. We know there are already users reaching out to other users to buy their cards…we see that hap-

pening in big numbers. We’re going to help them do that better, so we’ve created a number of tools. “The first big tool is our deals feature, where you can negotiate on multiple cards. You can create a deal with a bundle of cards and negotiate on the lot. We’ll facilitate checkout and generate shipping labels, to ship the cards via the postal service. “We want to help people make a lot of money on their collections. But the thing I think is really unique is, on CollX, you actually see what the buyer and the seller both have in their collections. That enables us to say, here are the areas where you have a shared interest. If you really like the Phillies, Bryce Harper, we’re gonna surface those cards from my collection. When you add something from my collection, now here are a few other suggestions of other cards you might be interested in. “We can build those recommendation systems in a really personalized way, and I think it creates a better experience.” ________________________________________

THERE ARE FEW

better opportunities for fathers to tell their sons about athletes of their era than when leafing through a collection of sports cards. Imagine building a business around it with your son. Charlie Mann

Incidentally, the audience for JerseyMan might find CollX right up their alley. “There’s a high overlap rate of entrepreneurs and card collecting,” Ted says. “It’s actually kind of a funny, it’s how a lot of them got started. I guess myself included.” To Mann, the enthusiasm for CollX is an opportunity to improve things in the app, such as the accuracy of pricing, which has limits coming from auction sites where prices can vary. “A lot of our data relies on eBay transactions and a lot of eBay transactions are bogus, we’ve learned. So, when those happen, just helping us kind of prune those out. We’re actually gonna have an app update pretty shortly that gives some of that functionality so that our users can help us with that. “We’ve done our best to come up with ways to average the prices or estimate the prices if needed. But the truth is we need help and we have 232,000 users, many of whom don’t mind putting in a little bit of extra effort to help us.” Entrepreneurs who listen should be valued. CollX’s customer service is already an improvement over both of the TV providers in my area.

60


The Honus Wagner Card As every baseball card collector knows, the T206 Honus Wagner card is the most valuable baseball card in history. In August of 2021, the card sold for a whopping $6.6 million. Why is it so valuable? According to Wikipedia, in 1912 Wagner was asked permission by the American Tobacco Company, who manufactured baseball cards at the time, to have his visage included on a card. Wagner refused for reasons that still aren’t clear today, with theories ranging from his not wanting to advertise tobacco to kids to his being a tough negotiator who demanded greater compensation. As a result, just 50 to 200 Honus Wagner cards were produced, and given his stature on a baseball field, this almost immediately made the card valuable. Ted Mann well knows the value of scarcity in collecting. It was unintentional in the American Tobacco Company’s case (then again, maybe it wasn’t), but Mann says that card trading companies do intentionally create scarcity. “The manufacturers of these cards create small print runs for certain cards. They’ll say, there are only ten of these cards. It’s like your golden ticket. Goldin Auctions sold, I think, a one-of-one Mike Trout rookie card for like $5 million. There’s only one of them, so that creates demand.” Mann doesn’t believe a Honus Wagner card will be scanned on CollX. He stresses that the app is more for “the rest of us.” “I don’t think we’ll see a lot of $7 million Honus Wagner cards scanned in the collection. As much as I’d love to cater to the high end of the market and have them see the value on the app, I think it’s really kind of the rest of us, the long tail of the collecting hobby that we’re really appealing to.” The value of some cards brings to mind a potential problem that Mann is also working to address: potential forgeries. “It’s difficult. Forge[d] cards [are] a tough thing to identify with just a picture, especially if they’re pretty much identical. Obviously, you wanna take a picture of the card and if for some reason you do receive a fake and you’re able to see that, you can report that. And we would not release the payment to the seller if they were peddling fake cards. “I think there’s definitely some things that we can do to double verify it. But we will protect the buyer and make sure that they get the cards they paid for.” Something to remember just in case you find yourself seeing a Limited Edition Honus Wagner card for sale.

is getting a solid grounding in both…even if he still gets more stoked about interviewing Rickey Henderson, which he did at a recent sportscard event. Charlie is obviously not old enough to remember baseball’s greatest base thief, but as Ted says, he knows plenty about him. “He was super excited to talk to him because that was one of the cards that he pulled out and he was like, ‘Dad, is this one worth anything?’ I was like, ‘That might actually be the most valuable card in my collection. It’s his rookie card. Let’s go try and figure that out. “And sure enough, it was one of the more valuable cards. So, when Charlie got to inter-

view him, he shared that story. Rickey was really nice. I was really impressed with him.” “I love getting to do this with Charlie,” Ted continues proudly. “It’s been a great way for us to bond and connect, and it’s not just us. I’ve noticed and seen and heard from countless users on the app that it’s been the same thing for them. Just fathers and sons, getting to bond over collecting cards and to do this together. I think for Charlie that was super gratifying too. To see it wasn’t just him that had this problem. “And he’s helping all these people.” Sometimes, the kids really do have the answers.. n 61


F O T R A E H THE

S T R O P S PHILLY

Photos courtesy Keith Baldwin

BY MICHAEL BRADLEY

A

nybody who met Eagles legend Tommy McDonald knew that the late Eagles wide receiver loved to interact with fans or just about anybody else in the world. McDonald was a five-time Pro Bowler and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And in 2005, he was part of the second class enshrined in the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. 62

After the ceremony, McDonald greeted autograph seekers and others with his trademark kinetic energy and broad smile. As the line moved along, Steve Tallant was surprised at one of the people hoping to get something signed. “There, waiting in line patiently to get McDonald’s autograph for his father was [former Villanova University basketball coach] Jay Wright,” says Tallant, the Philly Hall’s VP. “It was a case of celebrities meeting celebrities.” What began as an article in The Inquirer wondering why a great sports town like Phila-

delphia didn’t have a sports hall of fame has become a centerpiece of the city’s vivid athletic history and has for nearly a decade celebrated the greatest players, coaches, teams, media members, contributors and even venues that make Philadelphia’s sports history so unique. Under the careful and passionate direction of Ken Avallon, the Hall gains more attention every year as it honors the greats and harbors hope of one day having a permanent home worthy of its remarkable enshrinees. “Frank Fitzpatrick wrote the article asking why we didn’t have a sports hall of fame, and


Photos courtesy Keith Baldwin

63


Ken said, ‘That’s a really good idea,’” Tallant says. It is. Avallon went through the formal process of establishing the Hall and securing 501(c)(3) status for it. Bylaws were established, and Avallon established intentions of making the Hall a permanent history museum at some point in the future. Although that remains a dream still, there have been 18 classes of Philly sports heroes inducted, and in November, a group of 16 luminaries and the 1983 NBA champion Sixers team will gain admittance. The criteria for induction are fairly direct. Great athletes who grew up in the city and its surrounding area and those who were born elsewhere and distinguished themselves as all-time greats are eligible, and over the course of the last century-plus, there have been plenty of worthy candidates. “We have 18 different sports represented,” Tallant says. “It’s a wide range outside of the ‘big four.’” Anyone can submit a nomination, and the final voting is done by the eight-member Hall Board, as well as every living inductee, representatives from the major pro franchises in the city and the athletic directors at the Big Five schools. Tallant estimates that about 250 ballots go out every year, and about 175 are returned. Any nominee receiving 75 percent

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of the vote is automatically inducted, and the Hall’s Selection Committee finishes out the class. This year’s automatic inductees are Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, former Villanova basketball coach Rollie Massimino and longtime NFL referee Art McNally. “We are cognizant of honoring the city’s broad sports history,” Tallant says. “We went back to the early 1900s to induct some people.”

I

t happens every time. Whenever Keith Baldwin guides someone through the collection of Philadelphia sports memorabilia at his Spike’s Trophies store in northeast Philadelphia, he hears the stories. “They tell you about their lives growing up fans,” he says. “The thread of Philadelphia sports continues through their lives.” Since 2013, when it lost its lease at a property in Northern Liberties, the Hall of Fame has displayed its vast and rare collection of memorabilia at Spike’s, which Baldwin co-owns and at which he has worked – these days as Chief Relationship Officer and Majority Partner – for more than 45 years. Since Spike’s provided the awards for the Hall, Baldwin had a relationship with Avallon, and when the Hall needed a spot for its headquarters, Baldwin stepped up.

“We had just gotten into our new building [on Grant Avenue, near the Northeast Philly Airport], and we offered them free space,” Baldwin says. “We have been part of the Philadelphia sports community for a long time, and we have a great appreciation for Philadelphia sports. We wanted to help, and we had the space, so we lent it to Kenny.” Today, “between 3-5,000 square feet” of Spike’s property is filled with artifacts, and the walls are lined with the names of those who have been inducted. The Philadelphia A’s Historical Society is also housed at Spike’s. The collection is truly remarkable, and different pieces rotate in and out. For instance, there is the giant Phillies hat that sat on Billy Penn’s head atop City Hall during the team’s run to the 1980 World Series title. There is the original scoreboard from the Saint Joseph’s Fieldhouse. Visitors can see a basket from the Palestra and a hockey dasher board from the Spectrum. Part of the centerfield fence and some artificial turf from Veterans Stadium are on display, and there are video boards that provide some highlights and information about inductees. In conjunction with Mural Arts Philadelphia, there is a “City of Champions” mural on the outside wall of Spike’s that celebrates more



than 100 years of title-winning teams. There is also a Super Bowl mural on an exterior wall. And those who want to spend a bit of time viewing the works of art can do so while sitting on bullpen seats from The Vet. Because so many people come to Spike’s to see the memorabilia, Baldwin gets a chance to connect with folks from all over. Earlier this year, a young boy – “nine or ten years old,” Baldwin says – came up from Florida to undergo treatment at Shriner’s Hospital. His mother told Baldwin that he was a big Philadelphia sports fan, so he gave the youngster a tour of the Hall’s section of Spike’s. He gave him an Eagles mug with his name on it and then had a question. “I asked if he wanted to come back to the [induction] banquet,” Baldwin says. “We’re going to fly him up. You should have seen the thrill in his eyes.” While Baldwin and Spike’s continue to provide visitors with a truly unique experience, Avallon and his fellow Hall executives are thinking bigger. Spike’s is a fabulous spot for the Hall to show off its collection, but the ultimate goal is a dedicated museum that can allow for a full experience for fans and visitors. It’s a lofty aspiration, and it will require significant fundraising and the cultivation of sponsors. For a while, late Flyers owner Ed Snider appeared to be a potential benefactor, but his death ended the possibility. Now, the Hall’s executives are looking at the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation for help locating a potential site. The annual enshrinement event brings out plenty of big hitters in the city’s business and sports community and provides ample networking opportunities. But progress is slow. Tallant estimates a 25,000-square foot property is necessary to house the museum and the Hall’s offices. “To do it right ten years ago, that would have cost between $25-30 million,” Tallant says. “I would say that’s doubled. We need to have money for the museum and for reserve capital. A well-executed, immersive experience will cost about $50 million.” There have been other efforts that have fallen short, most notably former Flyers exec Lou Scheinfeld’s Museum of Sport, for which he had secured a location near the Jetro parking lot in south Philadelphia. That project has lost momentum, but the Hall crew hopes its dream can become a reality. “To fundraise, we need an executive board in place to reach out to donors,” Tallant says. While there may not be a full-time physical museum for the Hall, it lives on at Spike’s and in every class of inductees which helps keep Philadelphia’s great sports history alive. n 66



LegacyClub A social club

where business happens

We are proud to introduce you to our private business network n Do you want to expand your network in Philadelphia and South Jersey?

nD o you want to create powerful connections with other business professionals in the area?

n Do you want to attend exclusive networking events once a month at local venues? LEGACY CLUB SPOTLIGHT

Nichole MCH Photography

The Legacy Club has given me the opportunity to expand my network and create valuable relationships. I started my career early 2021 and joined Legacy Club shortly after because of all the great things that I had heard. I was overwhelmed by the truly inspiring, kind, and generous people that I’ve met throughout my time in the Legacy Club. Everyone that I met was willing to go out of their way to help me succeed. This is truly a group of amazing connectors. Whether you are in the early stages of your career or seasoned in your profession, this group has a lot to offer. Thank you, JerseyMan, for bringing me amazing relationships and opportunities since day one. – Devin Bender, PCH Technologies, Member since 2021

To learn more about the Legacy Club contact Ken at: ken@jerseymanmagazine.com or call 856.912.4007 68


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THE CIGAR GUY ______________________________________________________________________________________________ BY SAM KRAFT

Sponsored by The

Smoking Dog

Sancho Panza - Extra Fuerte

G

ENERAL CIGAR COMPANY is one of the largest manufacturers of cigars and pipe tobacco. This juggernaut was founded in 1906 and produces such notable brands as Cohiba, Macanudo, CAO, and Punch. Planted squarely in tradition, General Cigars have decided to disrupt tradition and team up with one of the more eccentric personalities in the industry, Matt Booth. Matt Booth has collaborated on many cigars including the Caldwell’s Hit and Run, and the Los Statos Deluxe from Scandinavian Tobacco Group. Now he has been tasked with re-releasing General’s Sancho Panza cigars, one of the oldest cigars in the industry. Booth has redesigned the logo and completely reimagined the blend. Booth is no stranger to reinventing brands. He recently relaunched his own company, Room 101, in 2017. Matt Booth’s goal is to be at the forefront of change in the industry. He wants to adapt to the modern

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General Cigars

cigar smoker’s palate and appeal. That’s exactly what he did with this new Sancho Panza series. The Sancho Panza is a box-pressed Honduran cigar. It has Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, as well as a Honduran wrapper. Bold lettering decorates the front of the box, and on the back, it reads “Reimagined by the leering eye of Matt Booth and Conspiracy Studies”.

O

N THE FIRST PUFF, the cigar tastes like sweet cedar and apple. It’s light but distinct. After lighting the cigar, it releases more intense flavors of chartreuse liqueur and bitter wood. The first-third finishes with notes of orange rind. It tastes like an old-fashioned cocktail. Once the cigar reaches its second-third, more umami flavors are noticeable. There’s a distinct toffee taste as well as more wood. The cigar finishes on a more flavorful and intense meaty note. The Sancho Panza was meant to surprise, and it did just that. It shares the name of its predecessor, but not much else. Sancho Panza continues to be a full-bodied cigar, but it is no longer one-note. It’s dynamic and dimensional. An affordable cigar for the modern smoker. n





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TECH TIME

Have any tech ideas you want to talk about? Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@PCS_AnthonyM) or email me any time at Anthony@helpmepcs.com.

_______________________________________________________________________________ BY ANTHONY MONGELUZO

Protect Yourself! Cyber attacks are on the rise Next Generation Anti-Virus… the basic stuff doesn’t cut it.

T

HE TRADITIONAL ANTIVIRUS has lost its effectiveness as operating systems, software, computer networks, and digital threats have become more sophisticated. The rapid growth of threats is continuous. Moreover, it includes new malware and variations of the same family, which makes a signaturebased approach ineffective because it cannot quickly keep up with the growth. The next-generation antivirus (NGAV) differs from traditional antivirus solutions by incorporating many extra features, such as the ability to learn the endpoint’s behavior in which the solution is installed, plus identifying any anomalous behavior without querying a signature database or vaccines. In addition, improved environment analysis and unknown threat detection techniques enable greater efficiency without consuming computing power or requiring frequent update downloads. In addition to its focus on digital threat prevention, NGAV also protects the system against zero-day exploits (wherever the files have PDF, DOC, and DOCX extensions, as well as executables) to handle malicious code and infect the endpoint. The traditional antivirus does not easily detect this type of attack.

Multifactor Authentication Banks, financial institutions, Facebook, Google and many other companies you utilize offer for FREE the ability to utilize multi-factor authentication. Many people choose NOT to turn this on because they feel it is inconvenient or too difficult. I would strongly advise you to turn on this service whenever and wherever possible. It is one of the most basic yet most effective ways to protect yourself. I receive calls from folks who had their Facebook account taken over by a hacker or their e-mail compromised. Multi-Factor authentication would have prevented these scenarios. There are many other tools and tips I can give you to protect yourself, but these two are the most effective and inexpensive. It’s a jungle out there; protect yourself! n 76



THE WINE MAN _______________________________________________________________________________

For comments, questions, suggestions and/or feedback, contact Robert Kennedy at rkj@Kennedy-companies.com.

BY ROBERT KENNEDY

The Wine Club

H

OW MANY TIMES have we gone to a wine or liquor store only to be mesmerized by the many wine choices we have in front of us? Not sure if I should choose a cab, pinot or chard, right? What is the best pairing for tonight’s dinner? What should I bring to my friend’s dinner party? To make matters worse, what is my price point, and what quality will be available for what I want to spend? This could be a very daunting and difficult dilemma. Perhaps an alternative to the “deer in the headlights” look at that wine store would be to consider joining a wine club. Yes, a wine club. Unbeknown to most, there are many very good wine clubs at varying different quality and price points to fit all budgets. And it’s a convenient way to keep most stocked throughout the year right from the comfort of your home. For some of the high quality, but very

Perhaps an alternative to the “deer in the headlights” look at that wine store would be to consider joining a wine club. Yes, a wine club.

78

low wine producers in Napa Valley, a wine club is the only way for these wineries to assure planning and sales that match production. Otherwise, it becomes extremely difficult to plan, produce, market and sell all of the wines that are made, even those producing 500-1,000 cases annually. More importantly, many of these small producers don’t sell directly to wine and liquor stores and/or to restaurants, so the only way to get out the word is to sell through a wine club. Away from the valley, there are other means of procuring good wines through wine clubs. One of the best known is through the Wall Street Journal wine club. Once joined, the WSJ club, or WSJwine as it’s called, sends out a case of wine each quarter. Like most other wine clubs, WSJwine (Online at WSJwine. com) will mix and match, tailored to a particular palate. Given time and history, many

of these clubs know what choices are made, and they will make recommendations on what has been enjoyed in the past. Many of these wines are highly rated by well-known critics, and some are considered “undervalued.” So, rather than take time to drive to your local wine store, gawking at so many wine choices that you enter into a state of confusion, a very reasonable alternative is to join a reputable wine club, either through the many west coast boutique wineries or through independent wine clubs such as the WSJwine. It takes the guessing out of choices, gives reliable quarterly wine deliveries, provides some very highly graded, quality wines at price points that won’t break the bank, and is spot on with those wines you enjoy the most. And oh, by the way, you can’t beat the convenience of a case delivered right to your front door. Cheers! n