Sunday, December 17, 2017

Baseball card stories from Craig Cacek

First baseman Craig Cacek played 11 seasons of professional baseball. In 1,318 minor league games .301 with 115 HR and 728 RBI. He made the major leagues with the Houston Astros for seven games in 1977. Now a Counselor at the Westview School in Los Angeles, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"1980 is my favorite card of myself, when I was with the Portland Beavers.

No stories but I've always enjoyed the ones where a pitcher poses with a bat, or a right-handed player poses left handed or with the glove on the wrong hand, etc.  Those were classics.

I collected cards as a kid, but I'm sure you've heard all the stories of kids putting them in the spokes of their bikes to make a noise.  Yep, that's what we did until we got older.  I even taped them or glued them into scrapbooks which my 8 year old friends really enjoyed looking at, but of course that rendered them worthless.  As kids back then, nobody knew how valuable they would become.  

I finally started putting them in plastic in my teens, and amassed a nice collection, but many of the old ones that I got from kids who were no longer interested or whose mothers made them give away were not in mint condition.  My collection around 1994 would have been worth about $7,000 if in mint condition, but the most anybody would give me, including card shops, was $1,000.  A private collector, an artist named Danny Maltzman, who did some fantastic huge paintings utilizing baseball cards, offered me $1,100 and two rounds at the country club where he belonged, the beautiful Hillcrest in Los Angeles, so, being the avid golfer I was, I jumped at it and had a great time playing with Danny and his mother and a friend of mine.

Of course, being one of the only Yankee fans growing up in Los Angeles in the late 50's and early 60's, my favorite baseball card was Mickey Mantle.  What a thrill that was opening up a pack of cards for a nickel and getting Mickey Mantle!!"

Friday, December 15, 2017

Baseball card stories from Tom Mendonca

The Most Outstanding Player of the 2008 College World Series, 3B Tom Mendonca played five seasons of professional baseball, mostly in the Rangers organization. In 436 games he hit .260 with 57 HR and 233 RBI. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I really don’t have stories of my cards but when I first got a deal to sign cards it was all new to me. With Topps they would sit down and watch you sign them, give you a set number to sign in a day then stop. I thought it would be easy to sign my name that many times in a row. Boy was I wrong. You get in a groove then all of a sudden you can’t remember how to sign your name. It was the craziest thing to me. For other players cards I used to buy a lot of 2009 Tristar Prospect Plus hot boxes and open tons of them because I was in it. Let’s just say I am lucky because there are a lot of great players in valuable cards in that set. I pulled a very very low numbered Mike Trout RC. My favorite card of myself is the USA cards and sports illustrated for kids card. Oh yes I collect baseball cards. Me, my Dad (Ray), my Uncle (Rob) and my brother (Tim) all collect. Collecting baseball cards is my favorite hobby I have. There is a certain rush you get when opening a box or pack of cards and hoping to find that one card. My dad, uncle, and brother every Christmas Eve will open boxes of baseball cards together after opening presents up. It’s a tradition that has been around ever since I can remember. On Christmas Day me, my brother and my dad open more cards. It’s a blast.

I don’t have a favorite card but my favorite baseball card set is 1963 topps."


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thomas DiBenedetto on baseball cards

Infielder Thomas DiBenedetto played in the Red Sox organization in 2008 and 2009. In 47 games he hit .272 with 0 HR and 8 RBI. Now a youth baseball coach and Orioles scout who also played professionally in Spain this year, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I was never told a baseball card was being made of me. As a 37th round draft pick it's not exactly a given that they would choose to make a card of you.  Anyways after finishing my first season with Single-A Greenville, I was in Fort Myers for the off-season and a friend of mine that collects baseball cards told me he just got my baseball card.  I was like what in the world are you talking about, and thought he was talking about some summer baseball card that was made of our whole team in The NECBL.  He's like "no it's Bowman Chrome..."  I didn't believe him, but I googled it and was surprised to actually see it.  I think I still have to make good on a promise to sign it for him, not that it would increase it's value...
Bowman didn't actually send me any of the cards they made of me, so I actually went on Ebay and bought like 15 of them.

I used to be an avid baseball card collector, and even collected some football cards.  I lived in a small neighborhood outside of Boston called Nahant, so loved finding any Red Sox player in a pack. Anyone that's ever collected cards, knows the thrill you get as a kid opening a new pack of cards.  Pretty much anytime I was given a few bucks for Christmas or a Birthday, I spent it on Slush Puppies, Ice-cream, and baseball cards.

My favorite card is the Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck Rookie.  I feel like regardless of what team you were a fan of, every kid loved Griffey.  This is the card that everyone wanted, and it definitely brings back memories and kind of tells the story of my collecting as a kid."

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pete Stanicek on baseball cards

IF-OF Pete Stanicek played for the Orioles in 1987 and 1988. In 113 games he hit .243 with 4 HR, 26 RBI and 20 SB. Now the Chief of Staff to the Chief Legal Officer of Health Care Service Corporation (owner of several state Blue Cross Blue Shield Associations), he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I was not a collector of cards as a kid so didn’t have any one special card.  It is a cool thing to have one now as an adult and I still get many requests to sign cards which I find amazing after being out of the league for so long.  It was an exciting experience to play and the cards certainly help me remember the impact players have on the fans."

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Amador Arias on baseball cards

Infielder Amador Arias played seven seasons in the Reds organization. In 537 games he hit .252 with 15 HR, 146 RBI and 99 SB. Now a scout for the White Sox, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I don't collect cards. My favorite card of myself is the 1996 Carolina League All Star Card. I had on a green jersey of the Winston Salem Warthogs."
Thanks! I don't have that card, but I do have one card of him (unfortunately his name is spelled wrong on the card).

Monday, December 11, 2017

The card Kurt Bevacqua hates

Kurt Bevacqua did respond when I asked him again what card he hated:

""TRADED" hate that card !"
Thanks! Make sense - the way "Traded" is so prominent, at a time (mid-1970s) when there was more stigma about being traded, might be unpleasant for some players.

Kurt Bevacqua hates some of his cards

Infielder Kurt Bevacqua played fifteen years in the major leagues. He is best known for his home run that won Game 2 of the 1984 World Series, still the only World Series game win in Padres history. Overall in 970 games he hit .236 with 27 HR and 275 RBI. Now the owner of an car audio and security company in California, he kindly replied to my question on stories about baseball cards with this remark:

"Besides hating some of them, no stories."

Unfortunately he did not elaborate. I wonder if this is one of the ones he hated?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Baseball card stories from Dillon Gee

Dillon Gee has pitched eight season in the major leagues, going 51-48 with a 4.09 ERA. This year, for Texas and Minnesota, he went 3-2 with a 3.47 ERA. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I don’t have many baseball card stories other than I was the kid that would tape them by the back wheel of my bike so it would sound like a motorcycle. Haha. I still have a Nick Evans card in my toiletry bag from years ago when I played with him and somehow ended up with it!😂 I have signed a couple cards of me with a map of the DFW metroplex roads behind it and that is my favorite card. I haven’t found one for myself yet."
Thanks! I don't have that version, but do have the base card.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Doug Flynn on baseball cards

Infielder Doug Flynn played 11 years in the major leagues for the Reds, Mets, Rangers, Expos and Tigers. Renowned for his fielding, he won a Gold Glove in 1980. In 1,309 games he hit .238 with 7 HR and 284 RBI. Now a Banking Officer at Central Bank in Lexington, KY and an Ambassador for USACares, he kindly answred my questions about baseball cards.

"No favorites. All are special to me. The Tiger card I only sign with money going to charity so that’s been interesting. Still hard to believe I am on any at all. Thankful."
Thanks! Here is a video explaining why Flynn sign his 1986 card until 2010 (to honor a pastor for whom he was going to do a charity signing for in 1986 but passed away before the signing could take place).

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Kenneth Gilbert on baseball cards

Outfielder Kenneth Gilbert played in the White Sox organization from 2007 to 2011. In 137 games he hit .255 with 5 HR and 67 RBI. Now a real estate investor in the Dallas area, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players? 
I still have most of the cards of my teammates and me from Bristol 2008.

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player? 
I have a Ken Griffey Jr ( my fav player) card from early in his career that I will probably never sell or let go. My favorite card of mine is the Topps card I have out. 
- Do you collect baseball cards?
I have an extensive collection of baseball cards from the late 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s.