Monday, March 19, 2018

1993 Studio Ron Gant

Hobby is weight lifting: During his career he was considered to have the biggest arms in baseball.
Favorite sports announcer is Harry Kalas: Kalas was a longtime Phillies announcer. Gant would play for the Phillies later in his career.
Favorite player as a kid was Hank Aaron: Aaron tutored Gant on hitting during his time with the Braves.
Might have been a Navy Seal if he hadn’t been an athlete: Gant is a gun collector who was also interested in a career with a SWAT team.
Pet peeves are traffic and racism: Gant has said that part of why he idolized Aaron was his bravery in the face of racism during his pursuit of Babe Ruth’s home run record.
Where he is now: Co-anchor of Good Day Atlanta.

1993 Studio Joe Carter

Hobbies are golf and basketball: Since 2010, the Joe Carter Golf Classic has raised and pledged $2,500,000 to benefit the Children’s Aid Foundation and other children's causes.

Favorite sports announcer is Bob Costas: Solid national choice.

Favorite player as a kid was Willie Mays: Carter got to meet Mays when he played for the Giants.

Might have been a truck driver if he hadn’t been an athlete: Carter’s father was a truck driver and service station operator.

Pet peeve is people driving slow in the fast lane: Sounds like a truck driver complaint.

Where he is now: Involved in various charitable endeavors such as the golf tournament.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Gary Burnham on baseball cards

First baseman Gary Burnham played ten seasons of professional baseball, mostly in the Phillies organization. In 1,105 games, he hit .291 with 116 HR and 636 RBI. Now the owner of Gary Burnham Baseball Instruction in South Windsor, CT, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"When I was a little kid I always used to look at my uncle Ralph Giansanti's baseball card of him on the Anderson Braves.  I wanted to be just like him.  It was the coolest thing in the world to be on a baseball card.  So I probably have about 15 different ones.  My favorite card is Upper Deck 2001.  Super cool card.  My friends Billy Koch and Kris Benson used to get money for signing cards for Bowman, etc.... I used to watch them sign cards all night during spring training.  Another cool experience.  

I collected cards in the mid-late 80's. Best baseball card is probably Griffey Jr and best overall card is probably Jordan 86 Fleer rookie."


Friday, March 16, 2018

1993 Studio Craig Biggio

Hobbies are hunting and golf: Biggio owns a luxury box blind in Alabama.
Favorite player as a kid was Thurman Munson: Though he was not a Yankee fan, Munson was Biggio’s hero growing up. Biggio was honored at the 2008 Thurman Munson Awards Dinner in New York.
Might have been a teacher if he hadn’t been an athlete: Probably would have been a shop teacher.
Pet peeve is Casey Candaele: We already saw Candaele listed as Jeff Bagwell’s pet peeve. He will appear again in this section.
Where he is now: He has been very active with the SunshineKids, a charity for children with cancer, dating back to his playing days.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Matt Joyce on baseball cards

Outfielder Matt Joyce has played ten seasons in the major leagues hitting 131 HR for the Tigers, Rays, Angels, Pirates and A's. He is currently with Oakland, and last year hit .243 with 25 HR and 68 RBI for them. He kindly answered my questions on baseball cards.

"I used to collect cards when I was younger and still have some to this day. I would grab the change off my dad's dresser and run to the local store to see which ones they had, then usually buy a couple. Most of the time they were Ken Griffey Jr cards, he was my favorite player growing up and I actually got to play against him in the big leagues! I was too nervous to talk to him then but met him later when he was retired and I was playing for the Rays. 

I would say there was a clear Griffey card that I had that was my favorite, that and his rookie card. I used to lock them away and tape them in a box so they were protected, then a week later I would take them out and look at them again. 

My dad collects more memorabilia than I do now and I’m pretty sure he has all my baseball cards. Which is really cool to see how many different ones there are and share that hobby with him."

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Baseball memorabilia story from Jeff Larish

Infielder Jeff Larish played for the Tigers and A's from 2008 to 2010. In 101 games he hit .224 with 8 HR and 32 RBI. Now the owner of Dead Red CrossFit in Peoria, AZ, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards with this great story.

"I do not have any exciting stories regarding baseball cards. I used to collect them as a kid, but stopped around middle school. My favorite player growing up was Ken Griffey Jr. I used to have a binder full of his cards, as well as posters, autographs, and other memorabilia. I do have a few interactions with him that stick out to me.

Griffey was on the tail end of his career just as mine was starting up. I played against him in 2008 when he was with the White Sox and later in 2009 when he returned to the Mariners. When you're in the MLB as a player and you would like to get an autograph, it is customary to send the items over through the clubhouse manager. They then return the items back in your locker after they've been signed. In 2008, I sent over a Griffey White Sox jersey and 2 baseballs. 

I had informed my teammate, Curtis Granderson, that I was a huge Griffey fan. As we finished up in the batting cages before one of our games, Griffey walked in. I hadn't been nervous meeting any other players I grew up watching. Not Derek Jeter, Gary Sheffield, or anyone else, but this was Ken Griffey Jr. Curtis turned to him and said, "Ken, I'd like to introduce you to Jeff Larish. He's a big fan." He then replied, "Oh, you're the one that sent over all the stuff." All I could do was look at him dumbfounded and say, "Yeah, sorry about that." He then laughed and told me it wasn't a problem.

When I got the jersey and ball back, I was kicking myself because I really wanted to get a Griffey Mariners jersey and I didn't think to get that one too since he was playing for the White Sox at the time. Fortunately, I got to play against him again when he returned to the Mariners in 2009. When I asked the Seattle clubhouse manager if I could send a jersey over to have Griffey sign it, he told me that he changed his autograph policy. He now required anyone to go personally ask him if it was OK to send stuff over. 

After the last encounter with him, I was even more nervous than before. I mean, he already called me out for sending stuff over last year, now I have to go ask him face-to-face? I went out to the dugout while they were hitting batting practice. As I waited for batting practice to finish up, I was having this inner struggle to muster up the courage to go ask him. I kept telling myself that this may be your only opportunity. It seemed like an eternity for BP to end. As it finished up, I made my way out of the dugout over to him. The whole time I was walking, I was trying to figure out how to address him. Do I call him Ken or Mr. Griffey? To this day, I don't remember how I addressed him. All I know is I was able to ask him to sign the jersey despite how extremely nervous I was.

I was fortunate to play with and against a lot of great players. Many of them All-Stars and a few of them current and future Hall of Famers, but the only player I was ever nervous to talk to was Ken Griffey Jr. It's amazing to think back to how much I admired him as a kid and then I got the opportunity to meet and play against him in the major leagues."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

1993 Studio Gary DiSarcina

Hobbies are golf and reading: Pretty average hobbies.
Favorite sports announcer is Bob Uecker: Another safe choice.
Favorite player as a kid was Larry Bird: A Massachusetts native, DiSarcina wore #33 in honor of Bird.
Most prized possession is his wedding band: Not anymore – DiSarcina is divorced.
Might have been a history teacher if he hadn’t been an athlete: DiSarcina’s father was a history teacher for thirty years.
Pet peeves are smoking and running red lights: Good choices, both are dangerous to the public.
Where he is now: Bench coach for the Mets.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Baseball card story from Brian Lesher

Outfielder Brian Lesher played for the A's, Mariners and Blue Jays from 1996 to 2002. In 108 games he hit .224 with 9 HR and 38 RBI. Now a coach at Newark Charter School in Delaware, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I collected cards as a kid and to have a baseball card myself was really cool. The most memorable story as a kid was when I bought a Jackie Robinson rookie for $20 probably around ‘83. My father's friend thought it was ridiculous and said I would never be able to get my money back if I sold it back to dealer. Long story short we went back to store and  the dealer bought it back...only now I realize because looking over my shoulder was my father's friend probably staring down the dealer in disgust. Not sure what it’s worth today but I wish I still had it."

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Kevin Wasilewski on baseball cards

Kevin Wasilewski pitched in the Astros organization in 1986 and 1987. In 60 games he went 11-6 with 3 saves and a 4.51 ERA. Now a Key Account Manager at Syngenta Seeds in Lakeland, FL, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"My favorite as probably most players is their first card. My 1986 Auburn Astros NYP league card is my favorite. Topps was the only card company back then and we all received a check for $5 from them. Mine is in a scrap book. I don’t know if anyone actually cashed it."
Thanks! I don't have that card, but here is one from my collection.

Baseball card story from Mike Erb

Mike Erb pitched six seasons of professional baseball, mostly in the Angels organization. In 114 games he went 33-19 with 5 saves and a 3.71 ERA. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"My favorite card is my second year 1988 Palm Springs Angels. If you look at it you'll see I'm giving a Shaka sign. I wanted to do something else, I can't remember what it was, but they wouldn't let me so I asked him if they would let me do that and they said yes."

Thanks! I don't have that card, but here is one from my collection.