How and Why Did I End Up Here?
Monday, April 13, 2015 at 10:34PM
Legend Media Producers in Dallas HD Video, Legend Media, dallas hd production, dallas producer

Do you ever wonder why you’re in the career you’re in --- or for those that are retired, why you spent your professional life doing what you did?  Did it just kind of happen that way, or were there other circumstances?

I’ve been thinking about that, and I think part of what I do is because of, believe it or not, my collecting baseball cards as a kid in the 1960s.

I think my life of picture taking , editing and producing is rooted in that hobby. And I don’t think we fully understand how impressionable we were as kids. Things really STUCK in our heads, and then remained with us throughout our lives.

I know that I fell in love with baseball cards and baseball card collecting on the day my dad took me to my first ball game. It was at the old Municipal stadium in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. I was seven years old.I only have one visual memory of that game, and that’s where we sat, up and behind first base. I still remember what it sounded like and how I felt. It was awesome.

My dad bought me this ball cap that day.
The KC is for Kansas City. And it’s green because the team was the Kansas City A’s and not the Royals that they are today. This cap is 48 years old. Lyndon Johnson was the President and man hadn’t landed on the moon. I remember hippies were everywhere and wearing your seat belt wasn’t even a law yet. I think our best father and son times were spent at that ballpark.

I believe I fell in love with baseball that day. And since I couldn’t go EVERY day, at least with baseball cards I could imagine I was there. I’d buy them at the Dime Store and I think I got around 15 cards and stick of gum for a quarter. Actually it was 26 cents with tax.

Baseball cards connect me to my childhood and to my profession.

Now here’s a guy they called “Charlie Hustle” – Pete Rose is his name. Possibly the greatest hitter of all time. This guy would slide into any base head first, including first - FULL ON all the time. But he’s not in the Hall of Fame because he bet on baseball while managing. And according to Major League Baseball’s Rule 21, that means banishment from the sport for life. One of the greatest, refused entry, because of something he did off the field.

This next card is of the Tigers Mark Fidrych. Mark was a pitcher who would get on his hands and knees every inning before he pitched to smooth out the dirt around the pitching mound. He had a mop of curly blonde hair and a gawky gait. It was so strange that a minor league manager compared him to Big Bird on Sesame Street. From that point on, he was known as Mark “The Bird” Fidrych.

He also “talked” to the baseball during the game. You’d see him walk behind the mound, stop and have a conversation with the ball. And if opposing players got a hit off him, he’d refuse to keep using that ball. He’d ask for a new one. His very first year pitching for the Tigers in 1976, he finished up with 19 wins and 9 losses – which is a great record by the way. This earned him Rookie of the Year honorsand it wasn’t even close. But unfortunately for Mark, this was the top of the mountain for him. Serious knee injuries knocked him out of baseball – and he died, believe it or not, underneath his dump truck which had fallen on him - at age 54.

This card is the 1977 card. During Spring training, just like they do know, they’d photograph the players and then produce the cards for that season where little kids like me would beg their mom and dads for money to buy them.

 Alright, raise your hands if you’ve heard of a guy named Deion Sanders. But he was a football player, right? Ahhh but he played baseball too for a short time. He was signed by the New York Yankees after being picked in the 30th round of the draft. Here’s his rookie card. Doesn’t look quite like “Primetime” here, does he?

Now, on August 8th 1967, the Red Sox were playing the California Angels at Fenway Park in Boston. A young, really good hitter named Tony Conigliaro came up to the plate and dug in against the pitcher, a guy named Jack Hamilton. Little did Jack realize (hold up the card), his life and Tony’s life, were about to change forever.

Well, Jack rocked back and fired a pitch on the inside part of home plate – well a little bit too far inside. Tony shot to the ground, the pitch hit him – shattering his cheekbone, dislocating his jaw and detaching his retina.

Now at this time, Jack was having one of his best seasons in the major leagues. But he never recovered after hitting Tony. He was afraid to pitch inside to hitters from that point on because he didn’t want to seriously injure another player. His strike outs went way down, opposing teams were scoring more runs against him and their batting average against him went up. Jack retired at the young age of 30.

Well, my wife and I met Jack two years ago on a trip to Branson, Missouri. We stayed at the Plaza Hotel. Jack owned and managed the hotel’s restaurant on the top floor. He was really nice and signed a postcard with his picture on it for me.

So many of my cards have stories that they tell. and as a video producer today, I don’t think I’d have the imagination I have without them. I bet you have a connection too, to something you did or loved as a child.

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