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Saturday, May 29, 2021

Bill Pucko worked in broadcasting as local sports anchor; He also produced minor league baseball cards

Early in Bill Pucko's career, the sportscaster at Rochester's Channel 10 offered The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle his career philosophy for working in TV.

"It's just when you begin to feel comfortable in a market that you know it's time to leave," Pucko told The Democrat and Chronicle in August 1983.

Pucko had arrived in the Rochester sports market a couple years earlier. And, whether he became comfortable or not, he hasn't left, continuing to work in 2021 on various projects there, including  two syndicated weekly sports programs.

Along the way, though, the sportscaster got into another market, the sports card market. Over four seasons, starting in 1987 and ending in 1990, Pucko produced a total of 15 minor league baseball card sets.

His busiest season came in 1990, when he put together a total of six sets for the New York-Penn League teams in Elmira, Jamestown, Welland, Niagara Falls, Utica and Pittsfield.

Pucko's career in broadcasting began at Ithaca College, graduating in 1974, The Democrat and Chronicle wrote. He then started in radio in New Hampshire, then got his first TV job there. He arrived in Rochester by 1980.

By 1986, Pucko had earned a local excellence in sports broadcasting award.

Then, in 1987, he got into baseball cards. His first, and credited only that year, came with AAA Buffalo. He then did four sets in 1988, four in 1989 and the six in 1990. He later produced at least one more, for Rochester in 1995.

His side move into baseball cards followed his interest in baseball memorabilia. His interest even got him talked about in May 1987 to host an ESPN show on baseball cards. A pilot for the possible program featured Pucko, The Democrat and Chronicle wrote.

Pucko and a photographer then produced a set to commemorate Rochester's 1988 league title

That year in 1988 also marked his first in the NY-Penn League. He recalled later easily getting permission to do them. But he also recalled doing them not knowing what exactly to expect.

"You just have to learn to do it right," Pucko told The Democrat and Chronicle in 1991. "The key was pre-selling them. When you have boxes of cards and say, 'Now I'm going to sell them,' it isn't that easy."

Pucko's work, notably the 1990 set, would later be praised by at least one blogger as one of the more interesting minor league sets. Pucko's cards would also be invoked in at least one article about a player reminiscing about his career.

"It was a lot of work," Pucko told The Democrat and Chronicle in another story on the hobby in 1992 when asked if he missed producing the cards. "Really, no. I would have liked to continue, but once it was over, it was over and I really didn't miss it. It was fun while it lasted, though. I had some good conversations."

Pucko moved from Rochester's Channel 10, where he served as an anchor and reporter to Greater Rochester Cablevision's Channel 5 as sports director in 1990. He continued there for 20 years.

Among his more recent endeavors, he co-founded a television and video production company, hosts two syndicated sports programs and writes a weekly sports column, according to his bio at

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,661
Made the Majors:1,252-34.2%
Never Made Majors:2,409-65.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:522
10+ Seasons in the Minors:308

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