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Rare 1955 Mickey Mantle baseball card found in pack opening at national convention

Fortune was in the cards for a bookbinder from Maryland on Saturday night. 

Chris Rothe paid $500 to take a random spot in a drawing for an unopened, 20-card cello pack of 1955 Bowman baseball cards at the National Sports Collectors on Friday. 

>> Read more trending news

Rothe was assigned the No. 19 slot and won a near-pristine Mickey Mantle card, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

Pack owner Leighton Sheldon, who bought the rare pack at last year’s convention from a longtime dealer, decided to sell spots for his new venture, VintageBreaks.com, charging $500 per slot. While the price was steep, the entire cello pack was valued at $10,000 and every slot was taken, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

On center stage at the convention, Sheldon yelled when he saw the Mantle, which is card No. 202 in the 1955 Bowman set.

“My eyes bulged out of my head,” Sheldon told ESPN.

The card was graded a 9 out of a possible 10 on Saturday by Professional Sports Authenticator, a card and memorabilia grading service.

It is only the eighth 1955 Bowman card of Mantle ever graded 9 by PSA, and the first in more than 20 years. Only three have ever been rated a 10 by the grading service, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

Rothe, who was working as a third-generation bookbinder in Maryland, decided to check the video of the pack opening when he discovered he had won the Mantle card.

"My friend told me my face went pale white when I saw it," Rothe told ESPN. "I was weak in the knees."

Sheldon said he already heard from a collector who offered $50,000 for Rothe’s card, ESPN reported.

Rothe told ESPN he was going the sell the card, but did not say whether he had accepted the $50,000 offer, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

"I have the card in a (PSA graded) 3," Rothe told ESPN. "That's good enough. I'll use the money to get a (Roberto) Clemente rookie and maybe get a lower-graded Mantle rookie."

Bowman, a card company based out of Philadelphia, was the main player in the baseball card industry until it was bought out by Topps in 1956. The 1955 set was the company’s final baseball card set until it was revived by Topps in 1989.

Nike decides not to renew deal with Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston

Nike has decided not to renew its endorsement deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, a company official told ESPN on Friday.

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Winston’s contract with the apparel company expired before the NFL announced the quarterback’s suspension for the first three games of the 2018 season. The NFL handed down the suspension -- for violating the league’s personal conduct policy -- after Winston was accused of groping a female Uber driver in 2016, ESPN reported.

After originally denying that the incident took place, Winston apologized after the suspension was announced in late June, ESPN reported.

Winston won the Heisman Trophy in 2013 while leading Florida State University to a national title. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL draft.

Calls to Winston's marketing agent, Russ Spielman, were not returned Friday, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

Trump takes shot at LeBron James on Twitter

Update Aug. 4, 2018 11:52 p.m. EDT: Referenced in President Donald Trump’s tweet denigrating Lebron James, Michael Jordan is showing support for James. 

“I support LJ,” Jordan’s spokesperson told Yahoo Sports. “He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”

Update Aug. 4, 2018 3:52 p.m. EDT: First lady Melania Trump issued a statement in support of LeBron James Saturday, in response to President Trump’s late-night tweet attacking the basketball star.

The statement regarding President Donald Trump’s late-night tweets about James was prompted on social media, as the hashtag #BeBest trended on social media -- referring to the First Lady’s anti-cyber bullying campaign, according to the Washington Post.

In the statement, Melania Trump said James is “working to do good things” and she would be open to visiting James’ new I Promise School in Akron, Ohio.

Below is the full statement from Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump's spokesperson, from CNBC:

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today. As you know, Mrs. Trump has traveled the country and world talking to children about their well-being, healthy living, and the importance of responsible online behavior with her Be Best initiative. Her platform centers around visiting organizations, hospitals and schools, and she would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron.”

Original Story: President Donald Trump attempted a slam-dunk Friday night on NBA icon LeBron James, taking a swipe at the intelligence of the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

>> Read more trending news 

Referencing an interview CNN’s Don Lemon did with James about the I Promise School for at-risk students, the president tweeted that James “was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon.”

“He made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!” Trump tweeted, making a reference to NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.

Lemon did the interview with James on Monday, when the NBA all-star launched the elementary school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. 

“Sports has never been something that divides people," James said to Lemon. "It's always been something that brings someone together."

>> LeBron James opens I Promise School in Ohio

However, James said he believed Trump was “using sports to kind of divide us.” Lemon asked James what he would say to the president if he was sitting in front of him.

“I wouldn’t sit across from him,” James said. “I’d sit across from Barack (Obama), though.”

The ball has been in James’ court before. In September he called Trump a “bum” for rescinding his White House invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

"Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up!" James tweeted at the time.

James had not responded to Trump’s tweet as of early Saturday.

Lefty's right moves: Phil Mickelson dances in shirt commercial

Lefty showed he had the right moves as he hawked long-sleeved shirts.

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PGA Tour star Phil Mickelson appeared in a commercial for Mizzen+Main that first ran Thursday, and the three-time Masters champion took some awkward dance steps while avoiding golf balls that whizzed past him.

Mickelson, who also owns five major titles and 43 victories on the PGA Tour, got down to do “The Worm” to finish off the 30-second commercial.

Mickelson, 48, began wearing the long-sleeved shirts at the Players Championship in May and signed an endorsement deal with Mizzen+Main, ESPN reported.

"I'll do private (lessons) for the right price," Mickelson joked after shooting a 66 Thursday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, which put him four shots behind first-round leader Ian Poulter. 

Mickelson said while it was “fun to laugh at yourself,” it was a tough chore to shoot the commercial because “it was a lot of work just to get those moves out of me."

Mickelson said he shot the commercial a month ago near his San Diego home and it took about an hour to produce, ESPN reported.

"Obviously, it's not the thing I'm most comfortable doing," Mickelson said. "But then (Mickelson’s wife) Amy said, 'You should just tell them that you know how to do The Worm.' After she said that, it was over, we were doing it.”

Pro wrestler Kane wins mayoral election in Tennessee

Glenn Jacobs won his biggest match Thursday night, as the man who wrestled professionally as Kane won the Knox County mayoral race in Tennessee, The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported.

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Jacobs, 50, a small business owner who ran as a Republican, defeated Democrat Linda Haney. With 100 percent of the 89 precincts reporting, Jacobs held a 66-34 percent advantage over Haney with nearly 80,000 ballots cast, WATE reported.

“This professional wrestler got into a no-holds-barred, last-man-standing match, and when the bell rung, he was victorious," Jacobs told supporters. "We were victorious."

Jacobs grew up in Missouri and earned an English degree at Truman State University, the News-Sentinel reported. An injury while playing football pointed him toward professional wrestling, where the 6-foot-8, 300-pounder starred as the younger brother of World Wrestling Entertainment star The Undertaker.

In May, he defeated Knox County Commissioner Brad Anders by 23 votes to win the Republican nomination, the News-Sentinel reported.

Jacobs and his wife run an insurance and real estate company in Tennessee, ESPN reported. He takes over his new post on Sept. 1, and has not ruled out a return to the ring for a special appearance, ESPN reported. 

Hall of Fame Game 2018: What time, what channel, how to watch Bears vs. Ravens in NFL preseason opener

The 2018 NFL preseason officially starts Thursday, August 2 with the Hall of Fame game between the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears. 

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The Hall of Fame game will be broadcast on NBC at 8 p.m. at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

Oddsmakers are projecting a low-score, but tight game, Forbes reported

The Ravens are a 2.5-point favorite to win the first preseason game.

The 2018 Hall of Fame class will officially be inducted Thursday, WJZ reported. The class includes legends Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Randy Moss, among others.

Jerry Lawler overwhelmed with support after son Brian Christopher's death

Jerry Lawler spoke for the first time Monday as the investigation continues into the death of his son, former professional wrestler Brian Christopher Lawler

>> Watch the news report here

Jerry Lawler told WHBQ over the phone that he was with his son during his final moments in the hospital. 

>> On Fox13Memphis.com: Sheriff's office had no indication Brian Lawler was suicidal, statement says

He said he rushed back to Memphis, Tennessee, from North Carolina on Sunday morning after getting the word that his son was in the hospital.

He spent hours at Regional One with family and friends around his son’s bed.

He said it was not easy, but he said he was “glad to hold his son’s hand when his heart stopped beating around 3:30 p.m.”

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2018

Lawler said his family has been so appreciative of the support from friends and fans. He said they have heard from thousands of people. 

Lawler told WHBQ that the visitation and funeral service will be Friday at Hope Church on Walnut Grove Road. The visitation starts at noon and the service will begin at 2 p.m. CDT.

He was the son of wrestling royalty, but Brian Christopher Lawler blazed a path of his own.

The younger Lawler wrestled professionally for years under the nickname "Grand Master Sexay."

He was confident, flamboyant and loved to put on a show. People in the wrestling community nationwide shared stories online. 

>> Read more trending news 

One professional wrestler recounted the time his brother asked to dance with Brian. After the match, the man wrote, “Brian pulled my brother in the ring to do the word. Such an awesome memory.” 

The wrestler Rikishi took to Instagram to say he will miss Brian’s infectious smile, laugh and “his passion to entertain each and every person he came in contact with.” 

Brian Lawler had several run-ins with the law since 2009. He was charged earlier this month with his third DUI offense and evading arrest. 

The Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office said they had no indication that he was suicidal.

>> On Fox13Memphis.com: Brian Christopher Lawler, Jerry Lawler's son, dies at Memphis hospital

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, he was found hanging in his cell and never recovered after being rushed to Regional One.

Jerry Lawler spoke only briefly of the investigation, saying, “There may be more to this than meets the eye.”

The TBI called him this morning and asked him not to comment further until their investigation is complete. 

Meanwhile, the wrestling community and Lawler family continue to grieve.

Fans across the country are remembering the man in the ring who brought smiles to so many.

Authorities: No indication wrestler Brian Christopher Lawler was suicidal

The Hardeman County Sheriff's Office released a statement on the death of professional wrestler Brian Christopher Lawler, who died Sunday afternoon in Tennessee. 

>> Read more trending news

Lawler, 46, who wrestled professionally as Brian Christopher, was taken to the hospital from the Hardeman County Jail. He was the son of longtime pro wrestling star Jerry “The King” Lawler.

>> Brian Christopher Lawler, Jerry Lawler’s son, dies at Memphis hospital

According to the statement, Lawler was arrested for a third-offense DUI, revoked driver's license and felony evading arrest. 

After his bond was set at $40,000, the family requested time to decide if they were going to get a public defender or a private attorney. 

Because of how well known Lawler was, he was put in a cell by himself. The sheriff said they “had no indication that he was suicidal, he was not on suicide watch.”

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Lawler was found hanging in his cell. Corrections officers administered CPR until paramedics arrived. 

Also known as Grandmaster Sexay during his days wrestling professionally in the WWE, the younger Lawler teamed with Scotty 2 Hotty to become a popular tag team.

Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb apologizes for offensive tweets

As Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb came close to throwing a no-hitter Sunday afternoon, some offensive social-media posts from his past resurfaced on Twitter

The racist, sexist and anti-gay tweets that came to light Sunday were posted by Newcomb in 2011 and 2012, when he was 18 years old. 

>> Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves legend, hits for emotional cycle in Hall of Fame speech

About a half-hour after talking to the media about his 8-2/3 hitless innings against the Dodgers, Newcomb reappeared in the clubhouse to address the very different subject

“I just want to apologize for any insensitive material,” Newcomb said. “It was a long time ago – six, seven years ago – saying some stupid stuff with friends. I know I’ve grown a lot since then. I didn’t mean anything by it. It was just something stupid that I did a long time ago.” 

The revelation was reminiscent of the disclosure during the All-Star game earlier this month of similarly offensive tweets by Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Josh Hader when he was in high school. 

Newcomb said he saw that his tweets had resurfaced on social media when he looked at his phone shortly after Sunday’s game. 

>> Read more trending news 

“I just felt it would be good to kind of address it right away,” he said. 

Newcomb’s teammates had left the stadium by the time he discussed the issue with the media.

“I think people that know me know that’s not the kind of person I am,” Newcomb said.

The Braves released this statement: "We are aware of the tweets that surfaced after today's game and have spoken to Sean, who is incredibly remorseful. Regardless of how long ago he posted them, he is aware of the insensitivity and is taking full responsibility. We find the tweets hurtful and incredibly disappointing. ... We will work together with Sean toward mending the wounds created in our community."

>> See the tweet here

Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves legend, hits for emotional cycle in Hall of Fame speech

His mother, Lynne Jones, once noted that her boy, Chipper, was destined for big things at the ballpark.

“Somebody said early on, ‘He looks good in a uniform; he was put on earth to play baseball.’ And I think he was,” she said

And the kid – well, he’s 46 now – is not so bad as an orator, either.

With the biggest speech a ballplayer can ever give, Chipper Jones, the wall-to-wall Atlanta Brave, hit all the right notes during his Sunday induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His acceptance speech – 20-minutes, 4-seconds long for those keeping score – displayed an infielder’s range, alternating between humor, humility, gratitude and love.

MORE FROM AJC.COM:

>> Fans soak in Chipper’s moment

>> Complete text of Chipper Jones’ speech

>> Chipper Jones’ Hall of Fame plaque

>> PHOTOS: Chipper Jones enters Hall of Fame

“For me, it all started in the little town of Pierson, Florida. I was just a country kid from a town with two caution lights, the self-proclaimed fern capital of the world. How do I of all people end up here on a stage with these iconic players, my childhood heroes, the best players in baseball history?” he told the 53,000 gathered in a grassy field about a mile from where his bronze likeness will hang in the Hall.

It’s a likeness that he approves of, by the way. “It’s pretty good,” he said after the speech was done and he had a chance to study his plaque. “They could have done worse. I’ve had some bobbleheads that looked like I was in a train wreck. But that one was pretty good. I liked it.” 

The answer to that question Jones posed to begin his speech, the one about how ever did he get here: Become one of only nine players in major league history with at least 400 home runs, a .300 batting average, a .400 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage. Serve as the signature, everyday player for a franchise for more than 18 seasons while establishing a trademark habit for winning. 

>> PHOTOS: 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Behind him on the stage sat 51 returning Hall of Famers, their numbers including the five others most responsible for the Braves epic run of 14 straight division titles – and one World Series win in Jones’ rookie year of 1995. Also on hand was the one player among all the greats whose introduction and appearance on stage, cane in hand, inspired a standing ovation from the fans in attendance: Hank Aaron.

In the front row was his family, for whom Jones saved his warmest words. Of course, he did. Jones was literally wearing his emotions Sunday – the lining of the blue sport coat he wore to induction was decorated with reproductions of family photos.

For his parents, Larry Sr. and Lynne: “Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for all that both of you have done. I love you both beyond words.”

For his six children: “I want you to step away from my shadow and blaze your own trail in whatever you’re passionate about. Believe in what you do, love whatever you do. And know that I love you unconditionally, and will support you in whatever path you choose.”

For his wife, who is expecting the couple’s son Monday yet sat there in the warm summer sun: “I didn’t meet my wife Taylor until I was 40 years old, playing my last year with the Braves in 2012. She changed my life forever. It took me 40 years and some major imperfections in me (clearing his throat) along the way to find my true perfection. Now we’ve taken our two families and blended them together and it has given me what I’ve been searching for my entire life – true happiness.”

Jones said he and his wife were not planning on returning to Atlanta until Monday evening, following a round-table and long autograph signing by all the new Hall of Famers that day. The couple is prepared to have their child – who will be named Cooper – in the town for which he is named. Or, to handle any other eventuality between here and home.

“Taylor’s mom is a nurse and we have another nurse traveling with us. If it does happen in the air we’re in good shape,” he said.

Asked whether his wife could go home ahead of him Sunday night, Jones said, “Technically she could. But if I’m here, she wants to be here.”

Jones was the opening act to a huge class of inductees – the others joining the Braves third baseman being pitchers Jack Morris and Trevor Hoffman, infielders Alan Trammel and Jim Thome and outfielder Vladimir Guerrero.

Arriving at the scene Sunday afternoon, where cornfields suddenly give way to a great mass of fans staging their own baseball carnival, Jones found himself overwhelmed, thinking, “Man, I don’t know if I’m ready for this.”

As he was introduced with video highlights of his career, he told himself to look away, and just listen, lest his emotions take over. “I break down before I even get up there; I’m going to be a hot mess for the next 15 minutes,” he said later, recounting his thoughts.

And as he spoke, he attempted to fix his gaze beyond his family in the front row, so he wouldn’t be tempted to lose it.

It worked. He came off as smooth as a 5-4-3 double play. Jones made it through without a hitch.

There was the expected jab at one of his Hall of Fame teammates, because that’s what guys who share a clubhouse do. “Smoltzy (Braves pitcher John Smoltz, who is follically challenged) always pitched like his hair was on fire, which makes sense looking at him now.” And then he worked the body, bringing up the 85 Smoltz shot in the opening round of this year’s U.S. Senior Open.

He thanked those who helped him through the organization after the Braves made him the No. 1 overall pick in 1990, spinning once again the tale of how late Hall of Famer Willie Stargell told Jones to start swinging a heavier bat, changing everything.

He recalled Stargell inspecting Jones’ choice of lumber after a shaky rookie league season: “He picked up my bat and said, ‘Son, I pick my teeth with bigger pieces of wood than this.’ He suggested I swing with the biggest bat I could get around on 90 mph.

“I swung that heavy bat until the day I retired.”

He saved the highest praise for his manager, who also owns a little piece of the Hall of Fame:

“One man never stopped believing in me: That man, Bobby Cox.

“Bobby, you believed in me before I truly I believed I belonged in the big leagues. And on opening day 1995 Bobby put me in the three-hole in front of Fred McGriff and David Justice. You knew hitting me in front of those two dudes would give me a lot of fastballs – and it worked.

“Bobby, next to my parents you had the biggest influence on my career of anybody.”

>> Read more trending news 

Jones spoke Sunday from the unique position of a player who forged the entirety of his stardom in one city. Atlanta has had no other athlete play more games with its name written across his chest than Jones.

That had to be a big part of his speech. And, so, he wrapped his speech up speaking to the Braves fans, in almost perfect summary:

“You are the fans I imagined in my head, playing in the back yard all those years ago. You’re why I loved coming to the plate with the game on the line, “Crazy Train” (his walk-up song) blaring in the background, and why I wanted so badly to come through for you. You have believed in me since I was an 18-year-old kid and you were still there for me for my swan song in 2012.

“You cheered me on through the career highs and stuck by me through life’s lows. I will never forget that. You’re the reason I never wanted to play anywhere else. I couldn’t be prouder to go in the Hall of Fame today with an Atlanta 'A' on my cap. I love you guys. Thank you.”

Then he flashed the sign language message for “I love you,” as he had so often after some of his biggest moments, after rounding the bases. 

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