John Rice threw out the first pitch (high and outside) for this past week’s Rotary meeting with a special request of Take Me Out to the Ballgame. The enthusiastic Rotarian version compared with that of a summer evening at Fenway.


President Tony announced that a $1000 donation was made to the Chief Maloney Trust Fund and other long term plans are underway to support the family and community. President Tony also announced that he will be collecting stuffed animals for the upcoming district conference.


Other announcements included the 19th Annual Golf Tournament is seeking sponsors and golfers. The goal and hope is to surpass the $30,000 raised last year. The nomination deadline for the Vocational Awards is May 17th. The categories for monition include public service, education, health and human service, and a general category. If you are interested in hosting some of the members from Germany from the Group Study exchange, please contact Leonard.

Jim Rini acted as the public address announcer by calling up to bat, Tom and Ellen Zappala, the authors of “ The T206 Collection, The Players & Their Stories.”  The book is about the players who essentially started and shaped America’s favorite pastime, baseball. You could hear and see the passion and knowledge Tom had for the T206 collection.  One of the reasons why the Zappala’s wrote the book is the fact that the back of the cards had no information about the players, only cigarette advertisements.


The T206 is a collection of baseball cards that were issued from 1909-1911 and could be found in cigarette packages. The “T” stands for Tobacco and “206” was the series designated by the American Tobacco Company. To the surprise of many Rotarians, the most famous and valuable card from the T206 collection is worth $2.8 million and the player on the card is Honus Wagner. The owner of this card is also the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Tom delivered good news with the announcement that another Wagner card is going up for auction in two weeks with a starting bid of $1 million.

Tom spoke about many of the chapters and players in his book including Hall of Famer Ty Cobb, known as the “Georgia Peach.” In Chapter 3, “The Uncommons,” Ed Abbatichio was the 1st Italian American baseball and football player. In Chapter 4, “The Bad Boys of Baseball,” Tom spoke about Al Chase (no relation to the author of this log) who is known as the most corrupt player in baseball history by betting on and against his team.  There were 16 or 17 minor leaguers in the T206 collection, including Jack Bastian who had a .200 lifetime batting average, that are examined in Chapter 5 of the book.


Tom provided a few facts about this era of baseball. The average playing career was 4-6 yeas and many players passed away in the 30’s. The average pay was $1200-$1500 a season, but the best players earned $25-30k a season including Ty Cobb.

There are 524 cards in the full set of the T206 collection and there are only 3 complete sets owned currently. A full set with a decent “grade” (1-10) could be worth $3-$4 million.


Thank you to the Zappala’s for sharing their passion and knowledge with us.


The 50/50 bonus is carried over to this week’s meeting at $975!