Bob Wilber grew up aspiring to follow in his father’s baseball footsteps, and while he was able to secure a full college scholarship and later spend parts of six years in professional ball, as a player, coach, and scout, his mother’s writing, communications, and public relations skills were what eventually defined his career. After a successful and adventurous sports-marketing trek through the sports-apparel business, agency work, and professional indoor soccer, he saw his first drag race as he closed in on his 40th birthday. Little did he know that he’d go on to spend 20 consecutive years as a team manager and PR representative for Del Worsham and then Tim Wilkerson, two of the most popular Funny Car drivers on the NHRA tour. At the conclusion of the 2015 season, Bob ended his drag racing run in order to take on an important personal assignment. Over the course of 2016 he wrote his autobiography, entitled “Bats, Balls, & Burnouts” and submitted it to the publisher in early February. It was released in late May, 2017 and is available on Amazon.com and other major online book retailers, in both printed and digital formats.

Welcome Guest Blogger Tara Wellman
Nov 15, 2011   //   by bwilber

On this installment of Bob On Baseball, we welcome another fine young writer who is striving to make her mark in sports. I met Tara Wellman at the U.S. Nationals, one of the biggest drag races in the world, when I was busy handling my “real job” as Team Manager for Tim Wilkerson’s NHRA Funny Car team. Tara was “dragged” (pun intended) to the race by a friend who was already a fan. Within minutes of meeting her, our mutual love of baseball became the topic and the sheer determination I could see in her eyes impressed me. I immediately knew that this young lady was focused on career success, and nothing I’ve seen or heard from her since has diminished that assessment.

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Welcome Guest Blogger Coral Rae Marshall
Oct 19, 2011   //   by bwilber

Today, here at Bob On Baseball, we welcome another guest blogger to our ranks. Coral Marshall is a graduate student in Sport Management at California State University – Long Beach. She did her undergrad work at the University of California – San Diego, where she studied Communications and Russian & Soviet Studies. He passions include all things baseball, communication theory, Russian literature, studying new media, and reading by the pool (her words!)

Coral is a wonderful example of exactly the type of person The Perfect Game Foundation looks to assist, as she aims to find her place and make her mark on the business side of our great national pastime. Her succinct interpretation of how legends and heroes are born is first-rate, and a fine read.

Enjoy!

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The Unscientific Way To Pick A Bat
Jul 27, 2011   //   by bwilber

Hanging on the wall, here in my home office, are two baseball bats. One is somewhat famous, the other nearly anonymous. As you can see, they straddle a framed copy of Baseball Magazine, from 1953, and the catcher in the cover photo is my father.

His bat hangs to the left, but it’s not just any Louisville Slugger and it’s not just any Del Wilber autographed model. This very bat is the one he used on August 27, 1951 at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, while playing against the Cincinnati Reds. On that very night, Big Del achieved something so outstanding we have named this charity in reference to his accomplishment. He came to bat three times, took three swings, and hit three solo home runs, accounting for all of the scoring in the Phillies’ 3-0 win over the Reds. It’s a special bat.

Big Del had his Louisville Slugger designed to fit his needs, and since the bat was specifically cut and weighted to his exact preference, Hillerich & Bradsby designated it as the W15 model.

The bat on the right is one of mine, and one of only two Bob Wilber autographed bats left on the planet. It’s a U1 model, originally designed for some other player, but at some point in my young career I picked one up and liked the feel of it. I therefore, for better or for worse, stuck with the U1 until my fleeting minor league career was over. I blame the U1.

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A Hero Gone…
May 18, 2011   //   by bwilber

The headline atop the column written by Tom Powers, the fine sportswriter for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, said it succinctly and perfectly: “It Just Got Harder To Find An Old-Fashioned Sports Hero”

On Tuesday, May 17, we lost Harmon Killebrew and the world is a slightly emptier place, left with less class and grace than it had when Harmon was with us. True, he was a magnificent ballplayer who rightfully earned a place in Cooperstown, but any person who ever had the chance to be near him knew he was far more than that, and the hollow pang of mourning is not so much for the loss of a Hall Of Fame slugger, but more for the loss of a truly great human being. Harmon the man was far more important than Harmon the slugger.

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Welcome Bert Blyleven!
May 6, 2011   //   by bwilber

Hi everyone…  Today we have such a special guest blogger I’m not even sure how to state the honor of it accurately. Let’s see…  I’m wondering many times have I written the line “Our guest blogger today will be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame this July.”  Using both hands and our guest blogger’s “California math” I come up with the grand total of “this is the first time I’ve ever written that sentence.”  And trust me, I’ve written a lot of sentences.

I present to you our Advisory Council member, Bert Blyleven. He has supplied this first-hand account of his recent trip to Cooperstown for his Hall of Fame orientation, and it’s a terrific inside view of what must be one of the great thrills any athlete can experience.  Enjoy!

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