Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Baseball card stories from Rick Nowak

Rick Nowak pitched in the Blue Jays organization from 1988 to 1990, going 4-10 with a 2.87 ERA, striking out 121 batters in 116 innings before injuries ended his career. Now the Chief Operating Officer of New Wave Entertainment, where he has overseen finishing on more than 500 film campaigns for major movie studios since 1997, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

 Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players? Here at my work, most of my co-workers know I once played pro ball.  For many years before the internet, the only way to see my card was if I brought one in and I didn’t do it that much.  Recently, a post production supervisor who worked for us came into my office and told me he heard I used to play pro ball and asked me some questions about my time.  We came around to the subject of my card and since we live in a time where everything is on the internet we googled my name and looked for my card.  Well, we found a picture of it so I could show everyone and it was from someone who was selling individual cards and sets on ebay.  We had a nice laugh about a skinny kid with a horrible mustache and a stern look and moved on.  Fast forward to a few weeks later and this same post super comes into my office to say goodbye since he would no longer be working for us.  As we shake hands and wish each other well, he asks me to do one more thing...would I please sign my baseball card for him!  He went on the ebay site later on and bought my card for 13 bucks!  13 bucks for someone who never made it out of single A!  I gladly signed the card for him telling him that by doing it I may have devalued it by $12.99!
Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
I have 3 cards (at least that I can remember) that I would consider “keepers”
 1.  my own from the 1990 Myrtle Beach Blue Jays – it’s my one and only card, it proves I actually played pro ball!
 2.  I have a 1971 Steve Garvey (don’t know if it’s rookie card, might be) - it’s significant to me for 2 reasons – one is Garvey was a Dodger great from my childhood and two, his position is labeled 3rd base.  Garvey came up as a 3rd baseman for the Dodgers, but couldn’t throw across the diamond to save his life.  Too bad he’s not a Hall of Famer since then it might be worth some real money!

  3.  Oscar Gamble – how could you not like that afro!  I thought it was incredible when I was a kid and when I see pics now I still think that afro is incredible.
Do you collect baseball cards?
When I was a kid I used to regularly collect cards.  Since this was the time before “collecting” really took off, I wasn’t all that aware of any card's value.  I would regularly visit one of the local liquor stores in the neighborhood and I’d always buy a pack with whatever candy bar and soda I was getting.  I never bought sets or anything like that.  I was always in search of my favorite players which were all Dodgers since I grew up in LA.  Suffice to say I would always get a bunch of guys I’d never heard of and I’d get 20 of those and maybe one Don Sutton.  I’d also always throw the gum away!  It was the hardest, most distasteful gum ever and if I wanted gum I’d buy something better than the cardboard that came in the packs!  I was aware of the All Star cards or some of the big players of the day like Pete Rose since I thought they might be of some value one day.  I’d say I was fairly persistent from ‘73 - ‘76 and if I look hard enough I might be able to find my cards.  To be honest I haven’t seen any of my cards in a very long time so I might be sitting on some hidden treasures!  As I got older I stopped buying cards altogether since it didn’t appeal to me much anymore...I can’t say why anymore other than I developed other interests and baseball cards wasn’t one of them.  As I got older and the craze increased and the number of companies (Topps, Upper Deck, Donruss, etc) I started to see it all as a false market and I just didn’t have any interest for it.  It took the passion of a child and monetized it to ridiculous heights which got me out of it all together.  The last card I ever got was the one of myself in my last year of pro’s still pretty cool.  Horrible picture, but still something I’m very proud of.


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