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Greco's Legacy Lives On

November 11, 2009

By Ray Schulte

Vincent Greco
(Courtesy of Schulte Sports)
Baltimore native Vincent Greco was a pioneer in the game of baseball.

A professional photographer, Greco was approached by Orioles management -- Lee MacPhail and Joe Hamper -- in the late '50s to see if the team could use film to evaluate the players' performance during workouts and actual games. Greco took the gig, and in exchange for his 35-millimeter reels he received free O's tickets.

Greco was the first videographer to take a position in the stands with his Bell and Howell Super 8 camera to shoot the players. His commitment and passion paid dividends for the O's -- especially for the coaches and individual players who could study their mechanics on film for the first time. Greco wasn't compensated by the Orioles, but eventually started trading his film and equipment with the team for multi-signed baseballs.

The photographer had a close relationship with all the Orioles players spanning the '60s, '70s and '80s, many of them attending barbeques at the Greco home. In the mid-'60s Super 8 home movies became very popular, and Greco would provide the players and coaches with great prices on camera equipment, receiving game-used gloves, bats and signed baseballs in return. 

Greco also expanded his workload, providing the Baltimore Colts, Baltimore Bullets and John Hopkins lacrosse with his film expertise. He was truly a pioneer. Today, every team in every sport has extensive video equipment -- coaches and players live by the film. 

“My father was a real visionary," said Chele Greco-Nutter. "Not only concerning the videography, but he kept everything (memorabilia) and told us the items he was accumulating would be valuable one day.” 

(Courtesy of Schulte Sports)
When Vince Greco passed away, the family took inventory of the items and had them authenticated by Dennis Esken, a world-renowned game-used equipment authenticator in Pittsburgh, Pa. At the time, Greco's private collection included 35 game-used gloves from players such as Brooks Robinson, Davey Johnson, Mark Belanger, Paul Blair, Jim Palmer, Boog Powell, Doug DeCinces and Al Bumbry. Many have already been auctioned.

“This is one of the finest and most significant game-used finds that I have ever witnessed," said Esken. "Not only were there 35 game-used fielder’s gloves but they are still in the condition from when the players used them -- a collector’s dream.”

The remaining Vincent Greco Collection memorabilia items have found a home with SchulteAuctions.com. Items include gloves from Eddie Murray (circa 1977-79), Jim Palmer (Spalding Model 4220), Mike Cuellar (circa 1969-71), Tippy Martinez (circa 1978-79), Dave McNally (circa 1965-68), Paul Blair (Wilson Model A 2000-1465) and Mike Flanagan (circa 1980). The auction also features many multi-signed baseballs from past Orioles teams dating back to the '60s and '70s.

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Schulte Auctions provides a letter of authenticity for each game-used glove auctioned, signed by Esken and Greco-Nutter. Each multi-signed team baseball from the Greco Collection has been authenticated by a renowned autograph authenticator and comes with a letter of authentication from James Spence Authentication.

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Visit www.SchulteAuctions.com to register, preview and start bidding. Bidding ends Nov. 30 at 9:15 p.m.

Issue 143: November 2009