TASTY TIDBITS MLB Network’s Reynolds reminisces about baseball cards

Memorial’s Martinez reaches 1,000-point mark; state playoff pairings; top fives

TERRIFIC TIGER – Memorial High School senior Anthony Martinez (left) scored the 1,000th point of his career last week in a win over McNair Academic. Pictured with Martinez is Memorial head coach Steve Leon.
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TERRIFIC TIGER – Memorial High School senior Anthony Martinez (left) scored the 1,000th point of his career last week in a win over McNair Academic. Pictured with Martinez is Memorial head coach Steve Leon.

At a recent Topps Baseball Cards event at the MLB Network’s headquarters in Secaucus, analyst/talk show host Harold Reynolds reflected back to the first time he ever saw his own baseball card when he was playing with the Seattle Mariners.

“That was one of the top moments of my career,” said Reynolds, who is the host of MLB Network’s Hot Stove daily morning show with Matt Vasgersian. “Back then [1985], baseball cards were it. We had Topps cards and that was it. I remember where I was when I first saw my card for the first time. I was working out in the winter and someone brought it to my attention. I just stared at it. That’s when I knew I made it. I knew I made the big leagues.”

Reynolds said that he now sees that first year card everywhere.

“People bring it to me to sign,” said Reynolds, who spent 12 years in the big leagues and was a member of the American League All-Star team twice in 1987 and 1988. “Cards get sent to me in the mail and people ask me to sign. I remember when Topps came to shoot the picture. I had to make sure my uniform was clean and the glove was clean.”

Reynolds reflected on Topps Baseball Cards, which celebrates its 66th season of production this year.

“I think being on a Topps card meant more than it does now,” Reynolds said. “It was the only thing in the market then. Now you have so many making cards. But Topps was the standard. It’s been part of the family for 66 years. Seeing my picture on a Topps card was the signature moment of my career.”

Reynolds said that he will now be busy for the next month, traveling to all 32 major league camps beginning this weekend. He heads to Florida Sunday.

“I’m excited,” Reynolds said. “With the [Chicago] Cubs winning the World Series last year, it’s put baseball back into the forefront. It’s fun trying to figure out what team could surprise this year. I have to make sure no one sneaks up on me.”

Reynolds believes that the Mets will have a better year than the Yankees locally.

“I think the Mets have a bigger picture of expectations to being a playoff team,” Reynolds said. “With the Mets, it’s all about health and whether their pitchers can stay healthy. They don’t have a five-man rotation. It’s more like who’s in the top eight. The Yankees have a lot of young talent, so we’ll see. But it’s still exciting going to spring training. It’s always exciting.”

Just like it was exciting to see the new collection of Topps baseball cards right in our backyard of Secaucus for a change…

Congratulations to Memorial High School senior Anthony Martinez, who scored the 1,000th point of his career last week in a win against McNair Academic. The Tigers were set to face Dickinson in the next round of the Hudson County Tournament. Martinez has averaged 19.8 points per game this season for the Tigers, toiling in virtual obscurity. He may have scored the quietest 1,000 points in Hudson County history…

There have certainly been a lot of 1,000-point scorers both in boys’ and girls’ basketball this season, which is a good sign because players are getting a chance to play varsity at a younger age…

The NJSIAA district wrestling tournament begins this weekend and the state has revamped the districts to where they are totally unrecognizable and frankly unbelievable.

It used to be that all the Hudson teams wrestled at District 16 at North Bergen. That’s gone. North Bergen isn’t even a host anymore. North Bergen and Secaucus are headed to Livingston for District 12. St. Peter’s Prep is headed to Scotch Plains to face Seton Hall Prep, Scotch Plains and Summit in District 13. Union City is at District 10 in Nutley. Bogota/Weehawken is at District 6 in Fair Lawn and Bayonne is at District 14 in Woodbridge. Notice the distances that the Hudson County teams have to travel. It’s absurd…

The pairings have been released for the upcoming NJSIAA state basketball playoffs.

Here are the boys’ pairings:

North 2, Group I: American History comes to Hoboken; Shabazz comes to Weehawken and Secaucus goes to Dayton Regional.

North 2, Group IV: Dickinson goes to Columbia while Piscataway comes to Bayonne.

Central 2, Group II: Bernards comes to Lincoln.

Non-Public A North: Pope John comes to St. Peter’s Prep.

Non-Public B North: St. Anthony is the No. 1 seed and Hudson Catholic is the No. 2 seed. Both drew first round byes. St. Anthony plays the winner of St. Mary’s-Montclair Immaculate and Hudson Catholic faces the winner of Queen of Peace-Morris Catholic.

North 1, Group IV has not been determined due to the pending status of Paterson Eastside. Snyder was mentioned in Scoreboard as playing JFK of Iselin.

Among the girls’ pairings:

North 2, Group I: Secaucus is the top seed and hosts University Charter. Hoboken hosts Bloomfield Tech and Weehawken, the No. 2 seed, faces North Star Academy.

North 2, Group IV: Bayonne is the top seed and hosts J.P. Stevens; Dickinson travels to face Franklin.

Central 2, Group II: Lincoln plays host to Bernards. Maybe that can be a doubleheader, boys and girls, Lincoln and Bernards. They both play each other.

Non-Public B North: Marist plays host to St. Dominic while Hudson Catholic plays host to St. Anthony. You mean to tell someone that geography had nothing to do with those two games? Hard to believe.

Hudson Reporter Boys’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. St. Anthony (17-4). 2. Hudson Catholic (20-3). 3. St. Peter’s Prep (16-6). 4. North Bergen (18-4). 5. Snyder (12-8).

Hudson Reporter Girls’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. Marist (19-0). 2. Secaucus (18-3). 3. Lincoln (15-3). 4. Bayonne (16-5). 5. Weehawken (18-3)…

And congrats to the McNair Academic boys’ track and field team for winning the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state sectional title last week. We’ll have more on the Cougars next week as well as the football coaching carousel, hiring and departures. Ran out of space this week…–Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com