Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mike Johnson on baseball cards

Mike Johnson pitched for the Orioles and Expos from 1997 to 2001. In 81 games he went 7-14 with 6.85 ERA. Now a youth baseball instructor in Edmonton, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I don’t collect cards. I have a few of myself, but I was more in collecting signed balls and bats from people I played with and against."

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

1993 Studio Rick Wilkins

Hobbies are golf, water skiing and reading: The Rick Wilkins Foundation hosts an annual golf tournament.

Favorite sports announcer is Harry Caray: Good choice for a Cub.

Favorite player as a kid was Thurman Munson: Great choice. Sadly, Munson died when Wilkins was 12.

Most prized possession is his first catcher’s mitt: Did he have it bronzed?

Might have been an engineer if he hadn’t been an athlete: Wilkins did not go into engineering after his baseball career.

Pet peeve is selfishness: Lots of good answers from Wilkins. Seems like a good guy.

Where he is now: A youth baseball coach in Florida.

Monday, January 29, 2018

1993 Studio Todd Zeile

Hobbies are golf, movies and skiing: Zeile went into movie production after his baseball career, producing a couple of small movies. He has gone on to greater success in TV production, co-executive producing the show Anger Management starring his friend Charlie Sheen.
Favorite sports announcer is Vin Scully: Zeile would later play two seasons for Scully’s Dodgers.
Favorite player as a kid was Nolan Ryan:  Unusual for a hitter to select a pitcher as his favorite player.
Might have been an attorney if he hadn’t been an athlete: Zeile did not go into law after his baseball career.
Pet peeve is irresponsibility: And yet his best friend is Charlie Sheen.
Where he is now: In addition to his Hollywood career, he does some announcing for the Mets.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Kyle Abbott on baseball cards

Kyle Abbott pitched for the Angels and Phillies from 1991 to 1996. In 57 games he went 4-17 with a 5.20 ERA. Now a coach at Strike Performance in Lewisville, TX, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I’ve collected since I was a little kid. I had complete sets from ‘63 (Rose rookie!!) all the way to present. I also had a couple older complete sets (‘58, with a signed Hank Aaron). Favorite card of myself: ‘93 Upper Deck. I’m carrying a bucket of balls!"

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Jon Coutlangus on baseball cards

Jon Coutlangus pitched six seasons of professional baseball, making the major leagues with the Reds in 2007. In 64 games with the Reds he went 4-2 with a 4.39 ERA. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I do not collect baseball cards anymore. My favorite card of all time is the Griffey rookie card. I saved up for months as a kid to get it. My favorite card of myself is the one I share with one of my best friends, Jared Burton. I do not have one."

Thanks! The card he is referring to is from the 2007 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Signatures set - I could not find a picture online. Here is a card of him from my collection.

Friday, January 26, 2018

1993 Studio John Smoltz

Hobby is golf: Smoltz is a scratch golfer.
Favorite sports announcer is Al Michaels: Michaels was one of the leading national announcers at the time.
Favorite players as a kid were Mark Fidrych and Dale Murphy: Smoltz lived in Michigan, and was nine years old and just getting into baseball when Fidrych burst on the scene.  He even saw Fidrych pitch in person at Tiger Stadium. Smoltz got to play with Murphy when he was with the Braves.
Might have been a musician if he hadn’t been an athlete: Smoltz’s parents were accordion players.
Pet peeve is taxes: I wonder what he thinks of the tax-funded ballparks the Braves keep getting.
Where he is now: An announcer for Fox.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Baseball card stories from Brian Anderson

Outfielder Brian Anderson played five seasons in the major leagues, mostly for the White Sox. In 355 games he hit .227 with 22 HR, 80 RBI and 13 SB. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"My aunt borrowed my Jose Canseco rookie card when she was on Price is Right for good luck. And she won!!!!! Oh and my pops laminated a MANTLE 2nd year card. Killing the value!"

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wallet Card at East River Savings Bank

First off, I have started a new blog. It has nothing to do with baseball cards - it is a block-by-block look at a video of a walk through Manhattan in 1968. Goes from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park. If anyone is interested in checking it out the link is

This post is about Long Island, though. The East River Savings Bank was originally chartered in 1848, and lasted for 140 years before changing its name to River Bank America in 1988. In 1996 the bank was acquired by Marine Midland. Behind a Blinds to Go in Valley Stream you can still make out the labelscar from the East River Savings Bank sign, a sign which must have come down 30 years ago.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

1993 Studio Devon White

Hobbies are basketball and racquetball: His daughter Davellyn Whyte played two seasons in the WNBA.
Favorite sports announcer is Chris Berman: White did not get a nickname from Berman.
Most prized possession is his World Series ring: White won back-to-back World Series with the Blue Jays, and later won another with the 1997 Marlins.
Where he is now: Minor league hitting coach for the Blue Jays.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Wallet card miscellany

Some random wallet card photos I took walking through Baldwin and Freeport waiting for my car to be repaired. Some stuff I thought was interesting, but not really meaty enough for their own post.

This sign for "Vacuums, Sewing Machines" is on the side of a tattoo parlor and vape shop. The vacuum business closed about five years ago.
This is the kind of sign that, if it was in New York City, sign geeks everywhere would be taking a picture of it - an old neon sign for a business rendered obsolete by modern trends. The full name on the sign should be Peckerd - not clear if the company is still in business. Beautiful sign though.
 Village Nursery & Florist in Freeport is relatively recently closed. Their sign was taken down and has been left to deteriorate on the ground.
 This one is in Manhattan, not Long Island. It's an interesting looking sign but I can't figure out what it said. Tenth avenue between 36th and 37th Street if anyone knows.

1993 Studio Greg Swindell

Hobbies are golf, crossword puzzles and country music: Swindell said in a recent interview that he golfs “a little” and does crossword puzzles.

Favorite player as a kid was Steve Carlton: Swindell and Carlton were teammates on the 1987 Indians.

Most prized possession is his boot collection (20 pairs): I wonder how big the collection has gotten.

Might have been a truck parts salesman if he hadn’t been an athlete: Swindell did not go into the truck parts business after his baseball career.

Pet peeve is loud people: Seems like you could write a good country song about a truck parts salesman with loud neighbors and 20 pairs of cowboy boots.

Where he is now:  An announcer for the Texas Longhorns.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A shiny pitching staff

Got some awesome Yankee cards from The Angels, In Order's Year For Team Traders. Lots of great cards, but these four stood out, mostly because they are so shiny!

El Duque rookie! He was so skinny back then.
 Chien-Ming Wang rookie!
 The MLB showdown cards are not my favorite but this foil one looks great!
 This one is the shiniest of all.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Wallet card with a Gold Medal Flour sign

Gold Medal Flour is still around, but this faded sign is close to a century old. You see these a lot in the city but not so much on Long Island. This one is in Freeport.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

1993 Studio J.T. Snow

Hobbies are jet skiing, water skiing and racquetball: He likes to ski in his namesake, as well. He recently put up for sale his $1.6 million mountain vacation home.
Favorite sports announcers are Chick Hearn and Bob Miller: Snow grew up in the Los Angeles area, where the two basketball team announcers were Hearn (Lakers) and Miller (Kings).
Favorite player as a kid was Rod Carew: Carew was Snow’s hitting coach on the Angels.
Might have been a pilot if he hadn’t been an athlete: Snow did not go into piloting after his baseball career.
Pet peeve is being late: I wonder if he means being late himself, or just others being late and inconveniencing him.
Where he is now: A special assistant for the Giants.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wallet Card with a Civil War Trophy Gun

Standing guard over a busy Long Island street is a 30-pound Parrott Rifle that was used on the USS Hartford during the Civil War.
The plaque reads;
30 pdr. Parrott Rifle 240 From USS Hartford
Presented to the Village of Freeport by the United States Navy Department
Mounted July 4, 1902

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

1993 Studio Terry Steinbach

Hobby is hunting: Steinbach would hunt every day in the off-season. He even skipped the 1989 A’s White House visit to go hunting.
Favorite sports announcer is Chris Berman: Berman called him Terry “Grapes of Wrath” Steinbach.
Favorite player as a kid was Harmon Killebrew: Steinbach grew up a Twins fan in Minnesota.
Most prized possession is his dog Simon: A 1997 Sports Illustrated profile of Steinbach details him hunting with Simon, a Brittany spaniel.
Might have been a carpenter if he hadn’t been an athlete: Steinbach did not go into carpentry after his baseball career.
Where he is now: Retired since being let go as Twins bench coach after the 2014 season.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Wallet card with another old phone exchange

Found another 50+-year old elevator call box in Midtown with an alpha-numeric phone exchange. I love finding these - amazing how many are still left.

1993 Studio Vince Coleman

Hobby is golf: Coleman built his home in Scottsdale next to a golf course so he could play there whenever he wanted. He once injured Dwight Gooden while swinging a golf club in the Mets clubhouse.

Favorite sports announcer is Mike Shannon: Shannon has been a Cardinals announcer for over 40 years.

Favorite player as a kid was Rod Carew: Though best known for his hitting, Carew was also a noted base stealer, much like Coleman.

Most prized possession is his Pete Rose bat: Interesting choice, a player and manager from another team.

Might have been a school teacher if he hadn’t been an athlete: Coleman did not go into teaching after his baseball career.

Pet peeve is dirty cars: See that is why he threw that firecracker out of his car window. He was just cleaning up!

Where he is now: Baserunning coach for the Giants.