Saying good-bye is tough, Part Deux …

  Stan 16x20.jpg

 (This is the second and concluding part of a blog that appeared yesterday.)

  After 17 years as a full-time staffer at Sports Collectors Digest – including more than a decade as editor of SCD – I will be leaving F+W Media, effective on Friday, Jan. 14. The details of the reorganization in the sports division here are outlined in Tom Bartsch’s “Leading Off” column on Page 9 of this issue.

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Satchel Paige2-sm.jpg

I also got a kick out of covering phone auctions in the pre-Internet days. Aside from the famed Halper sale, I covered auctions – some with live components – by Rosen, Hunt Auctions, Lelands, Sotheby’s, Guernsey’s, Sports Cards Plus, Mastro and Steinbach and a number of others. I know it makes me sound like an old geezer – guilty as charged – but there was a raucous excitement and intensity to those events that made them a cross between a political convention and the home stretch at Belmont Park. The Internet made things more efficient, which ain’t hardly the same thing as more fun.
   Over the 17 years, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview dozens of major athletes and Hall of Famers, a chore that belies the very designation. From Aaron to Yastrzemski, it was always a treat and I never lost sight of how lucky I was to have such opportunities.
   Air travel is a good deal more onerous in 2010 than it was in 1995, and the various trips brought me to virtually every corner of the country, from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Boston, New York and points in between. Circumstances occasionally planted me in hotels that were way out of my tax bracket, often so luxurious that it was nearly impossible to gripe about doubling up in the rooms.
   At the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco, we rubbed elbows quite literally with Alan Greenspan in the elevator. He presumably had one of those luxury suites to himself, but I roomed with a former KP advertising sales rep named Duke Tuomi, who snored so prodigiously that I didn’t sleep for three days. After two days of that, I sorta tried to kill him by marching him up and down San Fran’s hills ostensibly looking for a restaurant. Presumably if it had worked, I wouldn’t have admitted to the premeditation, at least not in print anyway.
   And while the travel and related exploits – restaurants, hotels, even the occasional All-Star Game (Nice going, Bud) – were cool, it was similarly a joy to be able to put this magazine out every week.
   Virtually even before I took over as editor, I made a concerted effort to promote as many of the great sports artists as I could in the pages each week. I’ll take the risk of leaving someone out because I really want to acknowledge as many of those great talents as I can.
   Here goes: Charles De Simone (Musial artwork shown above), Bill Forsyth, Dan Gardiner, Stephen Holland, Robert Hurst, Michael Joseph, Andy Jurinko, Graig Kreindler, Ron Lewis, Paul Madden, Mike Mellett, Arthur K. Miller, Christopher Paluso, Dick Perez, Bill Purdom, Nathalie Rattner, Mike Schacht, Bruce Stark, Ron Stark (Satchel Paige artwork shown) and Darryl Vlasak. If that’s not a great inaugural class for the Sports Artist Hall of Fame, I don’t know what is.
   My debt to all those artists is enormous  and couldn’t be adequately addressed even if I had worked at SCD for another 17 years. I am very proud of the covers and use of inside artwork in the magazine and convinced – perhaps inordinately, but I doubt it – that the magazine would have been a shadow of what it was without their contributions.  
   Along with realizing virtually from the start how fortunate I was to be doing a job that I loved, I similarly understood that this particular job was one for which I was uniquely qualified. I can remember looking at an SCD back in the mid-1980s – coincidentally, it was biweekly then, too – and thinking that being the editor of that magazine must be one of the greatest jobs in the world.
   I don’t remember at the time if I even fantasized about having a chance to actually hold the job, but either way I’m very thankful to the people who made it happen.

– T.S. O’Connell

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8 thoughts on “Saying good-bye is tough, Part Deux …

  1. keith on said:

    On a personal note good luck to you. On your publication note I won’t lose any sleep over Tuff Stuff folding and maybe SCD shortly if that ever comes about. You guys there refused to get rid of ties to Coach’s Corner after all the complaints from readers about them selling fake stuff. Still can’t figure out why they are still in business. Myself and at least 10 other people I know dropped there subscription because of C.C. With there 15 pages every month for there auction I’m sure money was your reason for keeping them around. If you would have listened to your subscribers more things might have been different. Sure the internet has taken away your subscribers as has any publication. SCD used to be awesome and just went downhill. To bad cause I really liked it back in the day

  2. Mike on said:


    we had some heated exchanges but I am sorry to see you go. Keith is correct, I wonder if things would have been different had you eliminated Coach’s corner ad pages and infact were a police dog and went after them. I know in speaking to some owners of auction houses that some stopped advertising in your magainze for this very reason.

    Your stories should have alerted your readership about coaches corner. I don’t think one ever appeared, yet there were quite a few on opertaion bullpen. Please don’t say as Editor, that’s not your role. Be a mench, be courageous and always do the right thing. Stand up for what’s right.

    TS – best of luck and I hope you will continue in this hobby in some role. How great would it be if you came back and joined the cause to get Coach’s corner exposed and stopped.

  3. brett 75 on said:

    Sorry to see you go. It is going to take quite a writer to try and replace all the wonderful stories i’ve enjoyed over the years. I doubt that will be possible ! I always checked the mail for the latest issue because there isnt another magazine that covers vintage the way T.S. & SCD does. Hope to hear more wonderful stories of hobby history in some other publication in the future,Brett

  4. Jonathan at Heritage on said:


    I’ve long been of the opinion that you are the most eloquent and thoughtful writer employed in our hobby, so I hope this departure won’t mean the end of your work’s availability. I’m a New Yorker by birth so the thought of living in a tiny, frozen Wisconsin town seems more like Soviet-age punishment than a career choice–in that regard I’m happy for you to be moving, presumably, someplace either forty degrees warmer or a million more populous. Please keep writing wherever that is.


  5. One of the things I have missed most about no longer being active in the hobby is seeing the truly great people in the industry. There are a few and T.S., you are right there with the best. We go back a long way, even before your Krause days. I knew talent when I saw it, amigo.

    Just a few years after my 15-year gig with Baseball Hobby News had ended, Hugh McAloon told me to my face that I was no longer relevant. Here’s hoping that you remain relevant.

    Frank Barning
    Las Vegas, NV

  6. Brian Rokos on said:

    SCD sadly finally got rid of the last of the independent thinkers, someone who was willing to say something that might offend an advertiser. I thought TS was good for SCD and for the hobby.

  7. Brian Rokos on said:

    Frank, great to see the comment from you. I subscribed to BHN, and your cards helped build my collection. Regarding Coach’s Corner, I wrote a private letter to SCD some years back expressing concern. SCD shared it with CC, and I got a nasty letter from CC threatening to sue. Swell. To me the all timer was the American flag signed by Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh.

  8. I always looked forward to reading your articles. I would love to see a collection of them in a book, especially the ones on hobby pioneers.

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