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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Tom Akins announced, collected, drummed: Baseball Profiles

Tom Akins 1990 Indianapolis Indians card

Tom Akins could hardly believe his situation and he admitted it to Sports Illustrated in 1981.

He he was involved in both things he loved, baseball as head tympanist for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and announcer for the AAA Indianapolis Indians. 

"I'm in a 'Got my cake and can eat it, too' situation," Akins told SI in a May 1981 feature on his unique situation. "I'm playing major league music and announcing Triple A baseball, according to my schedule. The only thing that would be better would be to move to the majors in broadcasting."

Along the way, Akins even found time to indulge his baseball-related obsession - baseball card collecting. He even created cards over several years for his Indianapolis squads.

A native of Roanoke, Va., Akins' overall career began out of the College of Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. 

He soon landed in Indianapolis and started his symphony career in 1965. He soon discovered a connection there with the Indians and worked on promotions, SI wrote. Radio station upheaval then led to Akins offering his services and the team accepting.

Soon, Akins became a regular on Indianapolis broadcasts, with play-by-play man Howard Kellman. Akins would be there for the season, except when his day job needed him. On those nights, he played the drums.

Beyond announcing and the orchestra, Akins also gained notoriety for his baseball card collection - in the 1970s. In February 1975, he helped sponsor a sports memorabilia show in Indianapolis. 

By 1984, he boasted 200,000 cards, including his favorites, the T206 and 1916 "B-18 blankets." (He didn't have the Wagner T206.)

He also got involved in producing cards - the Indianapolis Indians cards, starting in 1976, doing almost all the work himself, UPI wrote.

"I've been a card collector all my life," Akins told UPI in July 1981. "It just seemed like a natural idea for us to have a decent set of cards."

In 1998, having moved on from the Indians, Akins continued to work as a radio announcer, including for the Associated Press and Westwood One, his hometown Roanoke Times wrote. He was just them coming off announcing a Pacers-Bulls playoff game. He also continued with the orchestra, as its director of public relations.

"Most people are lucky to find one thing," Akins told The Times. "I've been blessed at finding two and being allowed to do them - major-league music and major-league sports."

Tom Akins 1990 Indianapolis Indians card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,375
Made the Majors:1,410-32.2
Never Made Majors:2,965-67.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:574
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

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