Saturday, March 14, 2009

Baseball card stories from former Brave Tony Brizzolara, some funny, some sad

Got some very interesting stories today from Tony Brizzolara, who won 74 games in a 10-year professional career, including eight with the Atlanta Braves from 1979 to 1984. He shared with me some stories about his own collection as well as from his playing days.

I did have a card collection from my childhood. I had many cards from the 1963 through 1968 seasons, but I had a lot of cards from earlier. The older cards were amassed by flipping cards. I was very good at it and had a number of cards from the 50's including some Mantle, Musial, Aaron and may others. They were not in perfect shape considering how I acquired them, but they were good cards. I had some great football cards also.
That is not the interesting part of my story. Sometime around 1990 - 91 when the card collecting scene was big I was talked into showing my cards to a "friend" - a guy I knew from playing basketball. He was a collector and a dealer. He wanted to take a look at my collection. My most valuable cards at the time were two Nolan Ryan rookie cards which could pull close to $1,000 each in mint condition back then. He told me he would take them to a show and see what he could get. When he came back after that weekend he said he had bad news for me. Someone had stolen one of my Nolan Ryan cards. He was very apologetic and said he sold my other one for $400. What could I do? Then without my permission he decided to sell all my cards to try and get me some money to cover the value of the stolen card. So the bottom line was I got by $700 - $800 and lost my entire collection. I was very upset since the collection had great sentimental value to me. I grew up with the cards. I try not to think about it. That is just about as bad as if my mother had thrown them out.

My only other interesting story about baseball cards is though I had only one major league card I did have a number of minor league cards. I knew the photographer and one year I posed squatting with a catcher's mitt (I was a pitcher). They ended up taking another picture, but they did print the catcher card. Eventually the set of cards for that season in the International League has one value if it has my regular card but an increased value for the card with the catcher's pose."

Here is Brizzolara's only major league card, from 1980 Topps. Does anyone have a picture of this minor league card where he poses as a catcher?

Thanks, Tony!

1 comment:

  1. Man, how heartbreaking! Man, with friends like that..... ouch.