Friday, May 22, 2009

Interview with Paul Hartzell

Paul Hartzell won 27 games over 6 big league seasons in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He then went on to a successful career in the financial services technology industry, developing some of the first online programs to allow the simultaneous purchase of convertible securities and options on multiple exchanges. He kindly took time out of his busy schedule to answer some of my questions about baseball cards, and had some great stories to share.

Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players? My least favorite card is the one in a Twins jersey. It was taken in Yankee Stadium by a free lance photographer who often worked for Topps when players were traded. So, since I had been traded in February from the Angels to the Twins, they needed a new shot. However, that photographer was not popular with the players because we felt he was selling pictures of us. So, when I came out of the dugout, he yelled to me, I turn towards him and said "What the %$#*&% do you want?" And he snapped the picture!! I am not a happy looking guy.

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player? My favorite card is my 1978 Angels card where you can actually see my moustache. In those days, it would take me about 8 months to grow on! I do have a wonderful coffee table book with many years of Topps cards. It's great fun to look at them and remember the people I played against. 700 innings gave me a chance to face some of them many times.

- Do you collect baseball cards? No, I don't. I have very few autographs of any kind but I do have a few signed things from people who I played against or admired. I guess my favorite is a ball autographed by Carl "King Carl" Hubbell and another ball autographed by Jim "Catfish" Hunter. But perhaps my favorite is a team ball from the Angels with Nolan Ryan, Joe Rudi, Don Baylor and Bobby Grich from 1978. Great players all and I was proud to play with them.

Thanks, Paul! That really is a great story about his 1980 Topps card - explains some of the less-than-flattering photos from Topps cards of that era.

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