Friday, August 27, 2021

Baseball card stories from Brian Schwerman

Brian Schwerman pitched in the Pirates organization from 1976 to 1978. His best season was 1976, when he went 1-3 with a 4.75 ERA for Niagara Falls. Now the President of Dura Wax Janitorial Supplies in McHenry, IL, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"Growing up Topps baseball cards were treasured.  They were 5 cents for a pack and getting a box of 20 packs (a whopping dollar) for your birthday was the greatest gift a ten year old boy could get.  And that gum!!!  Baseball cards were some of the best memories I have as a child. My friend of 58 years and I still talk about them.  In fact, he still has a collection that dates back to the “bread cards” from his dad’s era.  It is worth thousands of dollars.  Little did I know that when I was 17 years old that I would get drafted and sign a contract with Topps for $5 to give them the rights to my name and picture to place on a card. I still have that check today as I thought my kids or grandkids would want it someday.  Unfortunately they do not see it the same way I do. 

I am very partial to the cards of the 1969 Cubs having grown up living and dying with my favorite baseball team.  Can’t beat the 60’s cards of Ernie Banks and Billy Williams. 

Having played for the Pirates and my best friend growing up being a Pirates fan, I love any card with Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell on it. Again, little did I know that as a 12 year old that someday I would be on the same field with Stargell and Dave Parker pitching batting practice in spring training. It was a dream come true for me.

I am one of those millions of kids whose mom threw all of their cards away.  I have a few cards of my own from the minor leagues that I hope my 3 month old grandson will want.  But who knows? 

My biggest regret happened in 1977.  Mickey Mantle came to my team in Charleston SC to put on a hitting display before our ballgame (he did this back then because he needed any money he could make).  He came into our clubhouse and sat 5 feet across from me to get dressed.  I can still remember staring at his physique as he took his shirt off. I only wish I had a card of his then but I was in too much awe to even ask for his autograph. I really blew that one."



  1. Great stories from Mr. Schwerman! Nice-looking Carolina League card, too. It must have been fun pitching BP to guys like Stargell and Parker. Talk about a front-row seat!

  2. Good stuff! Funny that his offspring don't care much about his ballplaying days. If I had a relative who played pro ball, I'd never stop asking them about it, lol.