Sunday, December 17, 2017

Baseball card stories from Craig Cacek

First baseman Craig Cacek played 11 seasons of professional baseball. In 1,318 minor league games .301 with 115 HR and 728 RBI. He made the major leagues with the Houston Astros for seven games in 1977. Now a Counselor at the Westview School in Los Angeles, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"1980 is my favorite card of myself, when I was with the Portland Beavers.

No stories but I've always enjoyed the ones where a pitcher poses with a bat, or a right-handed player poses left handed or with the glove on the wrong hand, etc.  Those were classics.

I collected cards as a kid, but I'm sure you've heard all the stories of kids putting them in the spokes of their bikes to make a noise.  Yep, that's what we did until we got older.  I even taped them or glued them into scrapbooks which my 8 year old friends really enjoyed looking at, but of course that rendered them worthless.  As kids back then, nobody knew how valuable they would become.  

I finally started putting them in plastic in my teens, and amassed a nice collection, but many of the old ones that I got from kids who were no longer interested or whose mothers made them give away were not in mint condition.  My collection around 1994 would have been worth about $7,000 if in mint condition, but the most anybody would give me, including card shops, was $1,000.  A private collector, an artist named Danny Maltzman, who did some fantastic huge paintings utilizing baseball cards, offered me $1,100 and two rounds at the country club where he belonged, the beautiful Hillcrest in Los Angeles, so, being the avid golfer I was, I jumped at it and had a great time playing with Danny and his mother and a friend of mine.

Of course, being one of the only Yankee fans growing up in Los Angeles in the late 50's and early 60's, my favorite baseball card was Mickey Mantle.  What a thrill that was opening up a pack of cards for a nickel and getting Mickey Mantle!!"

1 comment:

  1. I got a really nice letter back from Cacek when I wrote him and sent him a custom card from his time with Houston. I’d stumbled across a really neat LA Times article featuring him as well.