Over the years I had inquired about the whereabouts of my old buddy, but no one really knew what became of him. Last I knew, he and his mom had moved about twenty miles away right before our eighth grade year and after that... he just seemed to have vanished. Our friendship had developed over our love of sports and we played plenty of baseball and basketball together. I always looked up to Ron, as he was a superb athlete- and he had that cool aura about him. He was our town's Kelly Leak. Although it wouldn't be the last time I saw him, my final memory of time spent with Ron was him coming over to my house one Sunday afternoon in 1982. We shot some hoops, watched the new Van Halen (a band both of us enjoyed) video on MTV (Oh, Pretty Woman- which I want to say was the 'World Premiere' of the video) and then topped off the day watching what turned out to be the first NCAA Selection Sunday show (it wasn't known by that moniker in those days). Thanks to the internet, I discovered that would have been Sunday, March 7, 1982.
Like my friend, there have been plenty of athletes who have made us pause and ask, "what ever became of him?" Brian Asselstine is one such player.
I don't remember watching Asselstine as a Brave. While we got cable in the spring of 1981 (and I became an immediate fan of the team), Brian didn't do anything to cause me to remember him. I only know him by his baseball cards. His earliest card- his Rookie card- was from the 1977 Topps set, where he is featured on a 'Quad' Rookie Outfielders card along with Wayne Gross, Sam Mejias and Alvis Woods. Brian had some big-ass hair in those days, making for an interesting photo on card #479. He would also appear in the '78 and '79 Topps issues before being left out of the 1980 set. Along came 1981 and that's where I really remember Brian from, because his card featured an actual action shot. Still relatively novel, the action photo made you remember a player. Released by the Braves in March of 1982, Brian wouldn't play again until 1983, as a member of the Phoenix Giants of the PCL. He spent one season with the Giants AAA team before retiring. He might not have spent any time on a big league roster during the 1982 regular season, but he did have three cards that year.
The only of Brian's final cards I don't have is the 1982 Fleer one, which features a horrible crop and a fuzzy, grainy photo. But weren't they all?
As I mentioned earlier, what ever happened to Brian Asselstine? Well, googling his name didn't pull up too much info on him. I found a construction company under his name. Was this the same guy? Well, the city matched the information found on the back of his baseball card (Home: Santa Ynez, CA) and I eventually found a TTM post on a card site which featured the same address as the business address. The TTM post did show Brian going 4-4 on his signing success (with two newer 'pending'). Not bad for a .254 lifetime hitter.