Director of Augusta University Student Counseling and Psychological Services
Baseball memorabilia collector
One of the most striking things about Dr. Mark Patishnock, director of Augusta University Student Counseling and Psychological Services, is his commitment to helping students preserve their mental health.
Another is his desire to preserve the history of baseball.
Patishnock said he first discovered his passion as a child going to auctions and antique malls with his father.
His father’s antique collection, which is still growing, includes old signs, Coke machines and even a 1960s Seeburg jukebox — the latter of which Patishnock helped rewire. While spending time with his father was a welcome treat, Patishnock said the idea of “antiquing for antiquing’s sake” never really appealed to him. Not until he discovered his first baseball antique, that is.
“We collected normal baseball cards, but none of that seemed unique; you’d open a pack and they’d all be the same,” Patishnock said. “Meanwhile, my dad had all these baseball cards from the ’50s and ’60s. I was always interested in those because they were rare and special.”
From those first few cards, gifted by his father, a lifelong hobby grew. It began with cards from the ’60s, then gradually evolved into collecting older tobacco cards from the 1890s and 1910s.
“There are about 500 different cards in that particular set,” Patishnock explained. “I have about 100 at home.”
As time passed, his fascination with cards waned. An experienced collector, he wanted something bigger, something substantial. Something with real emotional value.
“In the 1880s to the 1920s, town baseball was really becoming a big deal,” he said.
Several American towns had teams, many of which eventually grew to become the minor league teams we know today.
“So, I got into collecting their uniforms and baseball bats,” he said. “It was a really great way to connect with the history of those places.”
Patishnock isn’t alone in his fascination with small-town baseball antiques. In fact, there’s a small community of collectors who all share his “duty” to save a little slice of Americana.
“It’s really a shared sense of responsibility to preserve this history,” he said. “They’re not collecting cards; they’re collecting these pieces of real, small-town American history. That’s what defines us, I think — our sense of community and responsibility to preserve this history.”
Photo gallery featuring portrait of Mark Patishnock by Phil Jones. Submitted photos of highlights from Patishnock’s collection.