Seth Swirsky is a pop music songwriter, author, and world famous sports memorabilia collector. At the age of 7, Swirsky wanted to be in the Beatles. At the age of 9, Swirsky started collecting Lincoln head pennies. “At the time, you could purchase blue penny books that could be used to store and display the pennies,” says Swirsky. “It was such a thrill to find a penny that said 1944 on the reverse. I love discovery and history.”
The summer of 1969 was a very memorable and magical year for Swirsky. Seth grew up on the east coast and was a big New York Mets baseball fan. “I started collecting cards in 1969. I wasn’t collecting just to get the Mickey Mantle and other star cards. I wanted to complete the entire set. Looking back, I loved the completion aspect of collecting cards. Collecting has a beginning, middle, and an end.”
Swirksy was a pioneer in writing to athletes. He would write to his favorite baseball players and request an autograph. Seth would always include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to help procure the autograph. “I wrote to Roberto Clemente, Jerry Koosman, and many others,” he remembers.
Swirsky recently sold the majority of his sports memorabilia collection. However, he did keep some “favorite and unique” items that he created from scratch. Swirsky has a signed baseball with a signature from Mickey Mantle on the sweet spot and signatures from over 20 other MLB players who share the first name of Mickey. This ball was obtained by sending it in the mail to every “Mickey” who was a current or former baseball player. Swirsky recalls getting very nervous after the eighth or ninth signature, wondering, “Would I ever get the ball back?”
Today, Seth is not actively collecting anymore. However, he does still enjoy being surrounded by the unique items still in his possession. And he’s found a new career in songwriting. The Grammy-nominated hit “Tell It To My Heart,” by Taylor Dayne, was Swirsky’s first big success. “As you get older, you start to realize your talents,” he says. “I didn’t know it, but I kept pursuing the songwriting. The thrill was great to write a song and then have Smokey Robinson sing it.
Swirsky was invited to sing the National Anthem at Wrigley Field before a Cubs baseball game in 2011. “I brought my 8-year-old son to Wrigley Field. I love challenges, so I wasn’t going to say ‘no.’ I wasn’t going to be one of those people who screws up the lyrics. Ten seconds before I go on, I forget the first line. I walk onto the field and I heard the reverberation as your voice goes around the ballpark and comes back at you. Once I heard that reverb, I felt very comfortable, because I am used to the reverb when making music in the studio.”
Besides sports and music, Swirsky works as a clinical psychotherapist–a job informed by his many other enthusiasms. “I believe in following your passions and teaching your kids to follow and listen to their own,” he says. Swirsky encourages his patients to explore their passions and go with them. “Nothing replaces pure fun,” he says.
Seth still writes songs for a living, and performs as a solo recording artist and as a member of the band The Red Button. You can see pictures of his baseball collection, buy his books, or listen to his music at Seth.com