Friday, March 8, 2013

Baseball card stories from Eric Bickhardt

Eric Bickhardt pitched four seasons in the Rangers organization, going 16-12 with a 3.31 ERA. Now a Compliance Specialist at FINRA, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I was in Gastonia in 1990 and I think there were four different companies that put out cards that year. There was some sort of mixup with one of the companies, and the card they issued with my picture carried the name of Randy Marshall who played first base for us that year. I lived with Randy (aka Moose) and Craig Newkirk in Gastonia and we were good friends so I didn't mind it. I actually thought it could turn out to be a good thing if Randy or I made it to the big leagues -- you know it would be one of those error cards that turns up every now and then. Unfortunately, neither of us did so it's not very valuable after all!
 
When I was a kid I purchased packs of baseball cards every chance I could at the 7-11 near my house. They were all eventually lost, but when I was in college I visited my brother in Nashville and he took me to a card shop there. I was able to pick up cards of  the players I liked when I was growing up, like Ron Guidry, Nolan Ryan, and Tug McGraw-- I think everybody in and around Philadelphia loved Tug because of the 1980 World Series.

The funny thing is Tug actually pitched a game for us in Gastonia in 1990. It was a one off sort of thing to attract fans, but it was a real game and as I recall Tug pitched about 6 innings and only gave up a couple of runs. Watching him pitch that night was a thrill for me. He was a competitor and I'm sure almost anyone could have learned something just by watching him go about his business. One thing i regret is not getting a picture or autograph that night."

Thanks! Here is a card of him from my collection.


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