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ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman was cool the first time "magical entertainer" Lieutenant Colonel (US Army Retired) Dick Steiner tried to coax him into watching a card trick.  Steiner was performing at baseball's 1995 All Star Game post-game party.  Using a plush green pad, simulating a baseball diamond, Steiner laid out ordinary playing cards, then transformed their faces, one-by-one, into baseball cards.  Intrigued, Berman consented to try the transformation himself.  He carefully turned over a single card, revealing -- his own picture!  Soon Berman was barking his trademark homerun call, "back-back-back-back-back!" to anyone who tried to get between him and the green velvet diamond.

For Steiner, who has performed at the White House, inaugural festivities, the Preakness, for Coca-Cola and Xerox, and for major league baseball clubs, the moment was pure satisfaction.  Careful preparation and a lifelong interest in magic led him to a second career in which he regularly wows sophisticated adults into eager fans.

A 1968 West Point graduate and frequent emcee as an officer, Steiner served in Vietnam, Germany, and Australia before retiring in 1989.  Since then, he has been a full-time professional magician and mentalist.

"I didn't have all the answers when I retired," says Steiner. "It was hit and miss.  But my strategy evolved."

That strategy is simple:  to make satisfied customers who want him back.  Steiner's many repeat customers and glowing recommendations are an indication that his strategy works.

A longtime fan, Steiner developed the baseball niche to set himself apart in the marketplace.  That strategy, too, is a clear success.  He works at fantasy camps, for players hosting events, at Orioles' games, and at "Swing with the Legends" golf tournaments.


"I liked magic as a kid," he recalls, but became distracted by other activities (girls, sports, studies) as he got older.  A few years before retirement, a friend introduced him to a magician.  The spark ignited again and soon he was spending every spare moment working on his technique.  As retirement approached, he decided he'd give "magical living" a try.

Steiner credits the buffer of his military retirement pay for his chance at a dream-like career.  He encourages others with similar opportunity to try their dreams and see where they lead.