Saturday, June 30, 2012

Player Profile: Jeff Austin

I have two cards of Jeff Austin. This one is from 2001 SP Top Prospects.

Playing career: The first round draft pick of the Royals in 1998, Jeff Austin pitched just 38 major league games before injuries wrecked his career. He did become the second pitcher in major league history to give up three home runs to start a game.

Where he is now: He is a Google Apps Channel Manager. Here is a post he wrote on the official Google blog about the MLB 2K11 video game.

Interesting stories: During his minor league career he wrote a few posts for a Baseball America journal about the day-to-day life of a minor leaguer.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Jeff Au, ahead of Jeff Aubry, a New York State Assemblyman. He is fourth when you google Jeff Austin; before him are a musician and an actor.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Jim Austin.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Baseball card stories from Erasmo Ramirez

Erasmo Ramirez pitched four seasons in the major leagues for the Rangers, A's and Marlins from 2003 to 2007, going 8-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 91 games. Now in his 4th year as Head Baseball Coach at Segerstrom High School in his hometown of Santa Ana, California, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"Collecting baseball cards are, without a doubt, some of my most favorite memories as a kid.  There wasn't anything like going to the store and having my parents buy a few packs for my brothers and me.  We collected pretty heavily from 1984 to 1990.  We loved pulling our favorite players out of those packs, especially Will Clark, Mike Greenwell, and Wally Joyner.  One of the best moments I had with card collecting was when the 1989 Upper Deck cards came out.  There wasn't anything like those cards and it was a huge thrill for us when we were able to buy a full box.  You can just imagine how delighted we were when we pulled the Ken Griffey Jr. card. 
Here's an interesting story about me and baseball cards.  After my first year with the Rangers, I purchased my first home.  So, I had to clean out a bunch of my stuff from my parents house and ran into all the baseball cards up in the garage.  I spent a few days sorting through some of those boxes and had a weird idea.  I called my brother and told him that I had the itch to open up some packs... just like the old days.  We went to Burbank Sportscards and came out with about $2,000 worth of unopened boxes from the early 1980's.  We got to my house and spent a week opening up these boxes that we weren't able to get back in the day.  Well,  it didn't end there.  I came across the online mecca of Dave and Adam's Cardworld and over the next year, bought many more vintage boxes.  It felt just as good as it did when I was a kid.
I didn't do any of this to store these boxes away or to sell the good cards.  That UPS driver would dump off a shipment from DA Cardworld and my brothers and I (and even my wife at times) would rip open those boxes and get pumped up about pulling Ripken, Mattingly, Boggs, and Henderson rookies (and many others).  We stored all of them in 9-pocket sheets and binders.  One binder for each box opened.  Needless to say, there are probably 50 binders on a huge shelf in my garage just waiting for my grandchildren."


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Player Profile: James Austin

I have ten cards of James Austin. This one is from 1992 Topps Debut.

Playing career: James Austin had a great rookie season for the Brewers in 1992, going 5-2 with a 1.85 ERA. Unfortunately, injuries the next year ended his career.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Anyone know where James Austin is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is sixth when you type James Au, between James Aubrey, a British actor, and James Austin Murray, an artist. You do not get any references to the ballplayer on the first page when you google his name; most prominent, the James Austin Company manufactures industrial cleaning products.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Jeff Austin.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Player Profile: Brad Ausmus

I have 37 cards of Brad Ausmus. This one is from 1994 Studio.

Playing career: Brad Ausmus is tenth all-time in catchers’ fielding percentage, tenth in range factor, seventh in games caught, and third in catchers’ putouts. He was not much of a hitter, though – in almost 2,000 games he hit .251 with 80 HR and 607 RBI.

Interesting stories: Ausmus was involved in a car accident in the late 1980s where he hit a woman while speeding (52MPH on a 25MPH road) and dragged her sixty-eight feet, severely injuring her. He was found responsible for a sum of $300,000.

Ausmus’s father, Harry Ausmus, was a philosophy professor at Southern Connecticut. Brad Ausmus has said that his father’s book A Schopenhauerian Critique of Nietzsche's Thought is his favorite.

Where he is now: Special Assistant, Baseball Operations for the Padres, working with the organization’s catchers.

My memories: He was a Yankee minor leaguer who was taken in the expansion draft by the Rockies. He spent most of his career in the NL so I don’t have any specific memories of him.

Google Autocomplete results: He is seventh when you type Brad A, between Brad and Emily, a couple from the TV show Bachelor, and Brad Ascalon, an industrial designer. There do not appear to be any other prominent Brad Ausmuses.

Coming up next: The next profile will be James Austin.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Player profile: Joe Ausanio

I have four cards of Joe Ausanio. This one is from 1995 Fleer.

Playing career: Long-time minor-leaguer Joe Ausanio got some chances to pitch in the major leagues with the Yankees in 1994 and 1995, going 4-1 with a save in 41 games.

My memories: Ausanio was a fan favorite because of his out-of-nowhere story and New York State background.

Where he is now: He is the head softball coach at Marist College and the Director of Baseball Communications for the Hudson ValleyRenegades.

Interesting stories: He shared his baseball card stories with me back in 2009.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Joe Au, between Joe Augustine Baseball, referring to a former Royals minor leaguer now pitching in the independent leagues, and Joe Auto Wreckers, referring to an auto business in Mount Vernon, NY. Another prominent Joe Ausanio is a financial advisor at JP Morgan Chase.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Brad Ausmus.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Player profile: Rich Aurilia

I have 22 cards of Rich Aurilia. This one is from 2004 Donruss World Series.

Playing career: Playing mostly for the Giants, Rich Aurilia was an average-to-above-average shortstop, except for his career year of 2001, when he hit .324 with 37 HR and 97 RBI, leading the National League with 206 hits.

Where he is now: With former Giants teammate Dave Roberts, he is a founder of the Red Stitch Wine Group.

My memories: As he was a National Leaguer I only was vaguely aware of him. No specific memories.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Rich Au, between Rich Aucoin, a Canadian musician, and Rich Aurilia Steroids. Aurilia has never been officially linked to steroids, but fans who see that he was a teammate of Barry Bonds and don’t understand the concept of a “career year” are happy to make him guilty by association. There do not appear to be any other prominent Rich Aurilias.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Joe Ausanio.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Player Profile: Doug Ault

I have three cards of Doug Ault. This one is from 1981 Fleer.

Playing career: Doug Ault was the first Blue Jay hero, hitting two home runs in the franchise’s first game. That was the only significant highlight in a 256-game major league career.

After baseball: Ault committed suicide in 2004. A Toronto Sun story from the following year goes into great detail about Ault’s post-baseball life.

My memories: His playing career was before my time, but he was the answer to a common trivia question. Was sad to hear about his death.

Google Autocomplete results: He is fifth when you type Doug Au, between Doug Auer NY Post, referring to a crime reporter, and Doug Augenthaler, a Principal at Highbrace Capital. Another prominent Doug Ault is Multimedia Editor at The Easterner.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Rich Aurilia.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jeremy McGarity on baseball cards

Jeremy McGarity pitched in the Cardinals organization from 1989 to 1994. His best season was 1993, when he went 9-7 with a 3.89 ERA. Now pastor at Seven San Diego Church, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I love baseball cards! I grew up collecting them and hoping one day I could have my own baseball card.

I was disappointed when I signed with St. Louis and was sent to Peoria, AZ for rookie league and learned that we would NOT be getting a baseball card that year. I don't know why but we didn't get one done that year. Maybe they viewed that league as Pre-Rookie or something :)

Anyway, the next year in Johnson City I heard we would be getting baseball cards. After the season I received a package and opened it up an saw the one of me pitching in Johnson City. I was ecstatic! So thankful. And, It has remained my favorite card of all of them. A close second is a baseball card we did in Duluth, Mn. for the Dukes in the independent Northern League, 1996 or 1997 I think.

The other card I like is the Bowman 1992 card. It's unique in that I was in street clothes and I was named a top ten prospect during the off-season so it has some special meaning.

I rarely collect cards today but I still have a lot of cards from the 70's and 80's and I have some I got my kids going collecting from 2000's. Whenever there are card shows or a card shop (rare these days in San Diego) I look through the cards looking for my favorite players.

My favorite player of all time is Nolan Ryan. I have some of his cards and just really appreciate the way he went about the game. I am also a Babe Ruth fan. So, I've got some prints of him etc... "

Thanks! I conldn't find pictures of the Johnson City or Duluth cards.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Baseball card stories from Topps photographer Gregg Forwerck

Gregg Forwerck has been a photographer for Topps since 1989, and  his images have appeared on over 20,000 cards. He kindly shared with me some baseball card stories.

"I've been shooting baseball cards and other sports cards for Topps since '89. My first favorite baseball card was the '91Topps Andres Galarraga. Topps called me in the Fall of '90 to make a trip to Cincinnati and shoot a pitcher that had been injured most of the season. I got to the park 2 hours early and saw Galarraga taking some balls at first base. I proceeded to go onto the field and start shooting until a security guard ran me off. I didn't know we couldn't go on the field because at that time you could still go on the field in the NFL. Topps loved the shot and asked how I got it and when I told them they said..."you know you can't go on the field", and I said NOW I do.

Yes, I collect baseball cards. I have 100K cards I guess.

My favorite cards are the ones I did early in my career. Manny's rookie in the blue Youth Services uniform. The back story is that I shot the picture on slide film in his Indians jersey and when I picked the film up the lab had destroyed it. I had to go back up the next day to reshoot and Mannys agent said that Manny actually wanted to be shot in the YS uni, NOT the Indians...happy ending. I also shot the Mannny '92 Bowman...Chipper '92 Bowman...Alan Embree '92 Bowman all on the same day.
My all time favorite player and cards have to be Josh Hamilton's cards early in his career. He was a great subject, a terrific ball player and a great guy. He's had a big impact on my life both professionally and personally over the past 13 yrs and probably doesn't know it. Love the guy and think about him nearly everyday. Really. "


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some garbage from Night Owl

A while back, Night Owl was throwing out some cards. I convinced him to send me the 1993 Fleer cards he was about to throw in the trash in exchange for a few Dodgers and night cards. He sent me about 75 cards from that set, and I needed about 50 of them.

This Mark McGwire card does look like it might have spent some time in the dumpster. Night Owl apologized for the condition but didn't need to - in my eyes, if a card is intact, it's mint. (If anyone else has cards in this condition that they want to get rid of, let me know and I'll be happy to trade you some mint cards for them!)
All the rest of the cards were in great shape, like this Sam Militello card. In 1992 he created a lot of excitement among Yankee fans who thought he was going to lead them out of the doldrums and into being a winning team again. The Yankees actually haven't had a losing season since (that may change this year) but it had nothing to do with Militello.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Brian Dallimore on baseball cards

Brian Dallimore played ten seasons of professional baseball, reaching the major leagues in 2004 and 2005 with San Francisco. His first major league hit was a grand slam. Now a Risk Advisor with Assurance Ltd. in Las Vegas, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?

I do not have any stories about my cards but I often tell people as a joke that the most famous thing about me is that Barry Bonds is in the background of one of my baseball cards :-)  I have an action card of me turning a double play with Juan Pierre sliding into me and you can see Barry in the background out in left field.

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?

That card I talked about above is actually my favorite card because it is an action shot.  Most of my cards were stock pictures that they used from photo shoots at 7am in Spring Training!

- Do you collect baseball cards?

No, I have never really collected anything, not even my own cards.  I have a friend that is in the card business and he has been getting his hands on every card of mine that he can and giving it to me.  He says that I will want them some day for my kids :-)


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Player Profile: Jerry Augustine

I have thirteen Jerry Augustine cards. This one is from 1980 Topps.

Playing career: Jerry Augustine pitched ten seasons for the Brewers, from 1975 to 1984. He started his career as a starter before switching to relief in 1979. A full description of his career can be found on the 1980Topps Blog.

Where he is now: For many years he was the head baseball coach at UW-Milwaukee, winning 315 games. He is now an analyst for Fox Sports Wisconsin and an insurance agent for American Family Insurance in West Allis, WI.

My memories: Before my time. Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is fifth when you type Jerry Au, between Jerry Audley, a country musician, and Jerry Aurum, a photographer. Another prominent Jerry Augustine is the owner of No Leak Roofing in Connecticut.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Doug Ault.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Player Profile: Sam August

I have one card of Sam August, from 1991 Classic Best.

Playing career: Sam August pitched in the Astros organization from 1986 to 1994. His numbers highlight the stark contrast between A ball and AA ball. In 33 games in A ball, he was 21-2 with a 1.90 ERA. In 19 games at AA, he was 3-6 with a 4.86 ERA.

Interesting facts: His father, Robert August, is a surfing legend. He was one of the two stars of the 1966 movie Endless Summer, which helped popularize the sport.

Where he is now: He handles all the sales and marketing for Robert August Surfboards. According to the company website, his favorite movies include Shawshank Redemption and Best in Show, his favorite bands include Doors and Led Zeppelin, and his favorite athletes include Bo Jackson, Nolan Ryan and Michael Jordan (“I struck him out swinging on a slider”).

My memories: Only know him from his baseball card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Sam Aug, between Sam August Dean, a blogger for Bon Appetit, and Samantha Augeri, a meteorologist for News 12 Long Island. Another prominent Sam August is an outfielder for the Penn State baseball team.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Jerry Augustine.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Player Profile: Don August

I have 21 cards of Don August. This one is from 1989 Topps.

Playing career: Don August had a great rookie season in 1988, going 13-7 with a 3.09 ERA. He lasted only three more years in the major leagues after that, however, never again posting an ERA under 5.31.

My memories: I remember him vaguely from the Brewers, but nothing specific.

Where he is now: He is a sixth grade History and Reading teacher as well as a baseball coach in the Menomonee Falls School District in Wisconsin. He shared some of his thoughts on being a baseball player-turned-teacher with the blog Baseball by the Letters.

Google Autocomplete results: He is tenth when you type Don Au, after Don Aucoin, a Boston Globe theater critic. Another prominent Don August is an actor who had some small roles in small films in the mid-2000s.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Sam August.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Player Profile: Rick Auerbach

I have four cards of Rick Auerbach. This one is from 1980 Topps.

Playing career: Rick Auerbach was a part-time infielder for the Brewers, Dodgers, Reds and Mariners from 1971 to 1981. A lifetime .220 hitter, he had less than 100 at bats in seven of his eleven seasons. In those seven seasons, he hit under .157 four times and over .326 three times. In the four seasons he topped 100 at bats, he hit between .203 and .220. A more detailed account of his career can be found at Project Baseball 1976.

Where he is now: A farrier (equine hoof specialist) in Calabasas, CA.

My memories: He’s from before my time. Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is fifth when you type Rick Au, between Rick Aukland and Rick Aukland Racing, which refer to a stock car driver. The first two entries when you google Rick Auerbach are not the ballplayer but the former Los Angeles County Assessor.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Don August.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Player Profile: Tyson Auer

I have one card of Tyson Auer, from 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects.

Playing career: Outfielder Tyson Auer was an undrafted free agent signed by the Angels in 2008. By the end of 2010 he had rocketed all the way to AAA, regularly hitting over .300 and stealing over 40 bases.

Where he is now: He spent the 2011 season at the Angels AAA Salt Lake team, hitting .280 with 1 HR, 35 RBI and 21 SB in 91 games. Due to injury he has not played yet this year.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Interesting facts: His father Joe Auer, a running back and kick returner, scored the first touchdown in Miami Dolphins history.

Google Autocomplete results: He is ninth when you type Tyson A, between Tyson Airport, an airport in Knoxville, TN, and Tyson Ambrose, a hitting coach at Jack Cust’s baseball academy. There do not appear to be any other prominent Tyson Auers.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Rick Auerbach.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Player Profile: Rich Aude

I have three cards of Rich Aude. This one is from 1994 Topps.

Playing career: First baseman Rich Aude played in 62 games for the Pirates from 1993 to 1996, hitting .225 with 2 HR and 24 RBI. A more detailed account of his playing career can be found at The Greatest 21 Days.

My memories: The name was vaguely familiar, but don’t remember anything specific about him.

Where he is now: As of 2008 he was a player agent at Wasserman Media.

Interesting facts: His brother Dave Aude is a Grammy-nominated music producer.

Google Autocomplete Results: He is sixth when you type Rich Au, between Rich Aurilia Stats, referring to the former Giants shortstop, and Rich Automotive, a car dealership in North Carolina. There do not appear to be any other prominent Rich Audes.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Tyson Auer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Player Profile: Bill Atkinson

I have two cards of Bill Atkinson. This one is from 1980 Topps.
Playing career: Bill Atkinson was a reliever for the Expos from 1976 to 1979, and put up very good numbers: 11-4 record, 11 saves, 3.42 ERA, 99 K in 147.1 IP. For some reason the Expos let him go, and he spent several years in the White Sox system without returning to the majors. He doesn’t seem to have been hurt, and his good major league numbers you’d think would have warranted a longer stretch in the majors.

My memories: He is before my time. Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Bill Atkinson is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Bill At, before Bill Attride, an astrologer. When you google Bill Atkinson you don’t get any references to the ballplayer on the first page. Most refer to computer engineer who invented the menu bar and several graphics applications.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Rich Aude.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Player Profile: Garrett Atkins

Check out the newest This Week in Baseball Cards at the Hall of Very Good. Speaking of the HOVG, I'm glad to note that I'll be participating in the inaugural "HOVG Heroes" project. It's a really cool project with a lot of big names participating and I'm honored to be a part of it.
I have fifteen cards of Garrett Atkins. This one is from 2006 Ultra.

Playing career: Third baseman Garrett Atkins came up with the Rockies in 2003 and quickly looked like a star, putting up back to back seasons in 2006 and 2007 of topping.300, 20 HR, 110 RBI. He slipped a bit in 2008, then came crashing to earth in 2009, hitting .226 with 9 HR and 48 RBI. He played in 44 games with the Orioles in 2010 before being released in July.

My memories: Was vaguely aware of him, but the Rockies are the team I think about maybe the least, so he never really registered in my consciousness as either a star or a bust.

Where he is now: Went to spring training with the Pirates in 2011 but was released.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Garrett A ,between Garrett Ace 250, a metal detector, and Garrett Anderson, a Baltimore-area musician (or a misspelling of the former Angels outfielder). There do not appear to be any other prominent Garrett Atkinses.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Bill Atkinson.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Player Profile: Keith Atherton

I have 23 cards of Keith Atherton. This one is from 1988 Topps.

Playing career: Keith Atherton was a reliever for the A’s, Twins and Indians from 1983 to 1989. A serviceable long man, he was 33-41 with 26 saves and a 3.99 ERA.

My memories: Knew him from his cards but no specific memories of his playing career.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Keith Atherton is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is fifth when you type Keith At, between Keith Atkinson, an actor in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Keith Attacks Cameraman, referring to an incident on Deadliest Catch. Another prominent Keith Atherton was the former chair of the university association at the University of Nottingham.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Garrett Atkins.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Player Profile: Pedro Astacio

I have 32 cards of Pedro Astacio. This one is from 2000 Metal.

Playing career: Pedro Astacio pitched fifteen seasons in the major leagues, mostly for the Dodgers and Rockies, winning 129 games. He led the NL in earned runs allowed in 1998, twice led the league in hit batsmen, and led in home runs allowed on three different occasions.

My memories: I remembered him as a Dodger. I was surprised that he actually won more games for Colorado than LA. I was even more surprised he pitched for six other teams and as late as 2006. Who remembers that he pitched for the famous 2004 Red Sox?

Interesting facts: Arrested for domestic violence after punching his wife in the face in 2009. Later plead guilty but was allowed to change his plea to “no contest” to avoid deportation.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Pedro Astacio is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Pedro As, between Pedro Aspe, a Mexican economist, and Pedro Ast, a tennis player for the University of Miami. There do not appear to be any other prominent Pedro Astacios.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Player Profile: Kym Ashworth

I have one card of Kym Ashworth, from 1994 Classic.

Playing career: Kym Ashworth was an Australian who made his US professional debut at age 17. He never got above AA ball in five seasons in the Dodgers and Rangers organizations.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Kym Ashworth is now?

Google Autocomplete Results: He is fifth when you type Kym As, between KYM Assemblers & Manufacturers and K Y M Assemblers, both of which refer to an Indian wiremaking company. There do not appear to be any other prominent Kym Ashworths.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Pedro Astacio.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Trade with KC Jonez

Got a bunch of cards in a trade with KC Jonez. There were a bunch of random cards from various years but also four complete sets which I will highlight here.
1994 Donruss Triple Play
I already had a lot of this set so I have plenty to trade. This card is not up for trade but among the cards that are available are Chipper Jones and Mike Piazza rookie cards. If you have any needs for this set let me know.

1994 Classic
I already had a few cards, about 30 from this set. None of the big stars (Jeter, Pettitte, A-Rod, Damon, Jordan etc) are up for trade but if you have any set needs for this let me know.

1992 Topps Debut
Very cool set and I only had one card previously, so if you somehow have a need for former Texas Rangers scrub Tony Scruggs let me know.

1991 Score Rookies
Nothing up for trade here as I had never even seen this set before. Love the border!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Player Profile: Paul Assenmacher

I have 46 cards of Paul Assenmacher. This one is from 1994 Stadium Club.

Playing career: Reliever Paul Assenmacher appeared in 884 games for the Braves, Cubs, Yankees, White Sox and Indians from 1986 to 1999, going 61-44 with 56 saves and a 3.53 ERA.

My memories: The Yankees acquired him as well as Lee Smith to shore up the bullpen for the 1993 stretch run. He pitched well for the Yankees and I was disappointed when they quickly traded him in the off-season for an anonymous minor leaguer (who turned out to be Brian Boehringer, who pitched, but not particularly well, for the 1996 champs).

Where he is now: Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach at St.Pius X Catholic High School in Atlanta.

Google Autocomplete results: He is fourth when you type Paul As, between Paul Assaiante, Head Squash Coach at Trinity College, and Paul Ashworth Capital Economics, referring to the Chief North America Economist at the consulting firm. There do not appear to be any other prominent Paul Assenmachers.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Pedro Astacio.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An interesting baseball card site on Pinterest

I'm not entirely sure what Pinterest is - seems similar to Tumblr - but it has gotten a lot of hype recently. Yesterday the author of a baseball card site on Pinterest contacted me and I thought his site looked like fun so I am sharing it here - it is called Mybaseballcards and categorizes cards into different funny sections like:
"Uncategorizably Weird Expression"

"Your Grandma's Glasses"

"Look at the size of my bat"

Check it out. It's funny.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Baseball card stories from Doug Radziewicz

First baseman Doug Radziewicz played in the Cardinals organization from 1991 to 1995. His best season was 1993, when he led the Florida State League with a .342 average. Now a baseball instructor in Texas (check out, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I used to collect baseball cards and started in 1976. The first card I saw out of the purchased pack was of Steve Busby. I still have it, and it still smells like the piece of gum that came with the pack. I stopped collecting in the early 80's. Some friends of mine ruined a lot of their cards (as well as my own) during their "let's light stuff on fire" phase.
The absolute favorite card of mine was one of me from a Fleer Excel card that was made when I was an actual 'prospect' after winning the batting title in the Florida State League. (It should be noted that my prospect status probably lasted all of 32 minutes). I had no idea it had been made until those cards started showing up in the mail at my home with autograph requests. One person ended up sending me a 'sign this card' request three times in one week, so I signed the first two and kept the third card for myself.

I suppose the most memorable story I can think of when it comes to the actual making of the cards came in 1994 when I was in Double-A. The photographer seemed to be looking to make artistic statements with the shots but only took shots of people just outside the first base dugout. (If you look at that set, you'll see just about everyone is photographed in the same location). He wanted guys to pretend they were catching fly balls but smile. He even asked the trainer to look like he was treating someone. The man had no clue. After a little while, people became extremely annoyed with him."



Monday, June 4, 2012

Player Profile: Brian Asselstine

I have eight cards of Brian Asselstine. This one is from 1979 Topps.

Playing career: Brian Asselstine was a part-time outfielder for the Braves from 1976 to 1981, hitting .254 with 12 HR and 68 RBI in 284 games.

Where he is now: Most recently owner of Brian AsselstineContracting in Santa Ynez, CA.

My memories: Before my time. For some reason, until recently, I thought his name was Asseltine, not Asselstine.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Brian Ass, between Brian Assa, a 16-year-old from Plainview, Long Island killed while speeding at 1:50 in the morning, and Brian Asselin, a jazz musician and songwriter. There do not appear to be any other prominent Brian Asselstines.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Player Profile: Billy Ashley

Playing career: Outfielder Billy Ashley played for the Dodgers from 1992 to 1997, as well as thirteen games for the Red Sox in 1998. A minor league slugging star, he struggled to make contact in the majors, striking out in over a third of his major league at-bats, including both of his post-season ones.

Where he is now: A stay-at-home dad who helps his wife Lisa run her LA Girlfriend teen skincare line, he was one of the stars of the 2009 reality show Househusbands of Hollywood. He also is a coach for his daughter’s softball team, the Thousand Oaks Stealers.

My memories: Was aware of him when he was with the Dodgers but no specific memories.

Google Autocomplete results: He is ninth when you type Billy A, between Billy Armstrong, a prominent Irish politician, and Billy Argel, a graphic designer. Another prominent Billy Ashley is an account executive at Aramark Uniforms.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Brian Asselstine.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Player Profile: Tucker Ashford

I have three cards of Tucker Ashford. This one is from 1984 Topps.

Playing career: Tucker Ashford was a weak-hitting shortstop whos glove wasn’t good enough to keep him in the major leagues. Played in 160 games for the Padres in the late 1970s, then had very brief stints with the Rangers, Yankees, Mets and Royals in the early 1980s.

My memories: Before my time. However, his 1979 Topps card was the oldest card in my collection for most of my youth, one of about seven cards that tied for that distinction.

Where he is now: An instructor at the Fultz Baseball &Softball Academy in Tennessee.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Tucker As, between Tucker Associates, a real estate agency in Massachusetts, and Tucker Ashley Furniture, referring to a furniture brand sold at the store.  There do not appear to be any other prominent Tucker Ashfords.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Billy Ashley.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Player Profile: Danny Ardoin

I have one card of Danny Ardoin, from 2000 Royal Rookies.

Playing career: Danny Ardoin played for five different major league teams in parts of five seasons in the major leagues. His best year was 2005, when he hit .229 with 6 HR and 22 RBI for Colorado.

Where he is now: Marketer/Community Educator at Heart ofHospice in Louisiana.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is eighth when you type Danny Ar, between Danny Arguetty, a yoga instructor, and Danny Archer Magic, a magician. There do not appear to be any other prominent Danny Ardoins.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Tucker Ashford.