Thirteen years have now passed since that horrible September day in which terrorists seized control of four airplanes and crashed them on U.S. soil. Sports was touched in many ways by 9/11 and we see various elements reflected in our sports cards from years past.
Garnet “Ace” Bailey, who played for the 1970’s Boston Bruins Stanley Cup teams and earned five more rings as a scout for the Edmonton Oilers, was a passenger United Flight 175 which was crashed into the World Trade Center.
Garnet Bailey had a ten-year playing career and was the Los Angeles Kings Director of Pro Scouting when he died at age 53. He appears on Topps, OPC and other hockey card sets throughout the 1970’s.
At least one former baseball player ended up regaining some of the fame he had as a player because of what he did as a New York City fireman in responding to that tragedy.
Frank Tepedino, whose rookie card appeared on one of the 1970 Topps high number cards, was a New York area native and had made his major league debut with the Yankees before spending some time with the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves. He was a fireman who responded on that horrible day and lost dozens of friends and colleagues in the Twin Towers.
Tepedino wasn’t a star, but he did hang around long enough to appear on Topps and OPC cards in 1970, 1971, 1974 and 1975. He’s also on a few specialty sets issued later. He became a true hero and someone to admire after the word got out about his post-playing career as a New York City fireman.
His cards should all cost you less than a dollar each. They help us to never forget how brave the human spirit really was that day.
There was a time where just about every baseball player went back to the work-a-day world after their playing career ended. Carl Furillo was no exception to that rule especially when he burned all his baseball bridges behind him after he was released during the 1960 season.
Furillo’s full story was told much better than I could in Roger Kahn’s brilliant manuscript book ‘The Boys of Summer’. Kahn spent the first half of the book on his youth and the second half on updating the key early 1950’s players. If you have never read Kahn’s work, this book probably rates among the top ten all-time baseball books and who knows how many collectors got their ideas for Brooklyn Dodgers collecting by reading it.
Furillo did have a tough time after his playing career and later became what we used to call a ‘hard hat’. He was one of the construction workers who was involved in building the World Trade Center.
Furillo was a popular player in Brooklyn and his baseball cards today are easy to find, while carrying a slight premium. His rookie card was in the 1949 Bowman series and he stuck with that company until Topps took over as MLB’s exclusive partner in 1956 (see his cards and memorabilia here.
If you had put Furillo out as a common, especially during the 70’s and 80’s where the bulk of adult collectors would have remembered seeing the man they called ‘Skoonj’ play, that card was guaranteed to be scooped up.
And when you think of 9/11, also remember Carl Furillo who helped build those now sacred towers.