Just when I thought I had my fill of business travel I find myself missing it more than I could have imagined now that most industry events have been canceled or postponed until 2021. As Elvis Presley soundalike Ral Donner (talk about an obscure musical reference) sang in 1961, “You don’t know what you got until you lose it.”
Did you catch the second part of Frank G. Cannata’s interview in the June issue of The Cannata Report? Responding to one of the questions he reminisced about those BTA/NOMDA shows of days gone by. I recall those events fondly as well.
Remember then? They seemed to take place in July or August in the steamiest locales imaginable—Las Vegas, New Orleans, or Atlanta. I loved the one-stop shopping experience of having all the major equipment vendors in one location as well as the many other companies vying for the attention of the dealer community. Those companies were also vying for the attention of the press and analysts whose publications served the dealer channel and/or end users. There were so many dealer and office-related end-user publications—Office Dealer, Copier Magazine, The Office, Office Systems, Office World News, Today’s Office, Geyers, etc. All long gone.
I loved the social atmosphere of those BTA/NOMDA shows. I was young and wild and spent the evenings with my fellow editors and public relations agency personnel. Most of us were around the same age and had similar interests.
One of my fondest memories was a visit to the Ricoh booth at the 1990 (It may have been a year earlier or later) BTA show. After I checked in with my friend from the boutique New York City public relations agency that represented Ricoh at the time, he introduced me to a well-dressed gentleman based out of the West Coast who worked for Ricoh although I don’t recall in what capacity. It was Mike McCormick, the 1967 National League Cy Young Award winner. We spent about 15 minutes talking baseball (one of my favorite topics). I vividly remember him asking me a trivia question. Name the only pitchers to win over 100 games pitching for the Giants in San Francisco (He won the Cy Young award while pitching for the Giants.)? He was one of three at the time. The other two were Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry, who I correctly guessed. I did not guess Mike McCormick. Since then, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum have joined that elite group.
I thought of that encounter last Friday while visiting the Baseball Reference website, one of the best baseball historical sites on the internet. Mike McCormick showed up in the “Recent Passings” section, passing at age 82 on June 13. I Googled various obituaries but found no mention of his time at Ricoh or what he did after his baseball career ended. McCormick had a respectable although not exceptional baseball career, winning 134 games and losing 128. He pitched from 1956-1971 in the major leagues and was named to the National League All-Star teams in 1960 and 1961. He then spent portions of 1972 and 1973 in the minor leagues before leaving the game. I regret not interviewing him about how he made the transition from baseball to selling copiers. That would have been a fascinating story.
At least I spent 15 minutes talking to a Cy Young Award winner in the Ricoh booth at a BTA show in 1990.
I’m fine with that memory.
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