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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Fun-Day Fun-Facts

DeWayne Buice was born in 1957 in Lynwood, California. Buice was a Major League Baseball relief pitcher who played two seasons for the California Angels and part of a season for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was awarded Pitcher of the Year and Rolaids Relief Man in 1987. Buice is one of only six pitchers in the Angels' history to strike out at least 100 batters in a season without starting a game. He played in his final game on June 27, 1989 but continued to make appearances in the minor leagues into the 2000s but only for teams in which he had an ownership stake. Buice finished with a career record of 9 wins, 11 losses, 20 saves, 157 strikeouts and a 4.23 earned run average over a 2½-year MLB career. Buice is currently a co-owner of the Reno Astros.

More importantly to collectors, Buice was one of the original managing partners of the Upper Deck trading cards company and he held that position from 1988 to 2000. Buice was in downtown California one evening in November 1987 looking for a Chinese restaurant. He went into a baseball card shop called "The Upper Deck" and asked the person working there whether they knew of the restaurant. Buice and owner Bill Hemrick struck up a friendship which led to Buice having an autograph signing at the store. Within weeks, Buice had become one of Hemrick's business partners.

Bill Hemrick and Paul Sumner were starting a card company called Upper Deck but the players union was not planning on accepting another card company for another three years. Buice was told that if he could help secure Upper Deck a license, he would receive a 12 percent stake in the company. Buice became a key figure in getting MLBPA officials to agree to a meeting. By the end of the 1988 season, Henrick and Summer received the license and were making baseball cards. Although the future partnership was not always peaceful, Buice remains a key figure behind one of the hobby's giants.

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