Friday, February 12, 2016

Baseball card stories from Anthony Pluta

Anthony Pluta pitched six seasons in the Astros, Pirates and Rangers organizations. His best season was 2001, when he went 12-4 with a 3.20 ERA for Lexington. Now the manager of the Victoria Eagles, a Canadian youth baseball team, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"When I was younger I was a huge baseball card collector. I have every Topps baseball set from the year I was born, 1982, to 2002. I used to go with my father to card shows in Las Vegas all of the time. They are some of my fondest memories. There was a lady that lived behind me that was the biggest collector of baseball cards I know. She never missed an opportunity to buy cards of her favorite baseball players at card shows. She recently passed away and I along with family inherited her collection. It took up one whole room in her house. It has been fun going through all of her cards and reminiscing of old times.

A quick story about baseball cards. All professional baseball players are asked to sign a Topps contract in spring training and are given a $5 check. (At least that was the case when I was playing.) I didn't really know what it was for but thought it was cool that I was getting $5 from Topps.

During my first professional season in 2001 I was playing in Lexington, KY and loved talking to the fans and signing autographs. A few months into the season a fan came down to ask for an autograph. He was holding a binder that contained baseball cards. Every baseball player has experienced fans like this. I was signing autographs on balls and shirts and this fan opened his binder and asked if I would sign some cards for him. As I looked down I saw 3 pages of Topps baseball cards with my picture on them (shared with Justin Wayne). I had never seen them before and asked where he had them made. He told me that he opened a pack of cards and got one so he bought a couple of boxes and kept all that he found to put in his binder. I had no idea that I had a baseball card and thought that he was joking. He gave me one whole sheet and I signed the rest. The next day I went to the store and bought a box of cards so I could see for myself. When I opened the first pack I found one of my cards and it was one of the most exciting days of my career.

My favorite baseball card is from a team set when I played in the Carolina League. I was in a prospect set and only pitched in 3 games due to needing Tommy John surgery. I thought that it was funny that I was considered a prospect in the league that I wasn't even playing in."

1 comment:

  1. That's an awesome reaction to seeing your first baseball card.