Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ricky Bottalico

Who is this? Phillies pitcher Ricky Bottalico.

What is this? An autographed 1995 Pinnacle card, number 143.

Where'd I get it? A card shop outside Nashville, Tennessee in about '97 or so.

How much did it cost? Two bucks

Why is this so special? There was a really good card shop up in Nashville back when I lived up there. I have no clue if it's still around and I don't feel like driving the four hours to find out. It was a great store though. It was a huge brightly lit store with lots of singles, tons of wax, and some memorabilia. They had a couple of boxes of autographed cards on sale for two bucks each. They got them from a guy who was a big baseball and hockey fan. He'd go to spring training and a bunch of hockey games and get autographs, and sold a bunch to the store. Most of the stuff they had for baseball was picked over, but I have a few sheets of hockey autos I got from them. One of the few baseball autos I bought there was this Ricky Bottalico card. It's a little smudgy, but the signature is strong and readable. Markers didn't play well with those newfangled glossy cards back in those days. Ricky was the Phillies' closer when I got it, and was an All-Star the year before. That was pretty much the height of his career. He had arm surgery in '98, was traded to the Cardinals in '99 and bounced around the league as a reliever until retiring in 2005 after a season in the Brewers' bullpen. He was a broadcaster for the Phillies in 2007 and is currently the analyst for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs minor league team. Who knows, with a lot of hard work maybe one day he'll be as good a broadcaster as Harry Kalas. He'll never be able to say his name like Harry though... Bowtahllleecooo. Man, if I didn't have Pete and Skip to listen to, I'd be really jealous of Phillie fans who got to hear Harry all those years.

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