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Diamonds are This Magician's Best Friend

By Arthur Hirsch

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Dick Steiner probably can't do a thing to fix the hair of Seattle Mariners' ace Randy Johnson. He probably can't produce from thin air an agreement settling the endless labor dispute in major-league baseball. Magic, even specially designed baseball magic, has its limits.

He can, however, make a baseball mysteriously appear beneath a cup and make coins jump across a miniature baseball diamond. Under his deft hands, cards bearing pictures of Cal Ripken Jr. and Lou Gehrig transform instantly to show the old consecutive game record: 2-1-3-0.

Baseball magic no doubt is a small field, and Mr. Steiner may well have it to himself.  

But this small part of his entertainment business has already carried the Millersville man to two All-Star games, to a fantasy camp at the "Field of Dreams" in Dyersville, Iowa, and to a party suite at Camden Yards the night Cal broke Gehrig's record. He has performed for the likes of George Brett, Barry Bonds, Rollie Fingers, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, and his childhood idol Harmon Killebrew.

Mr. Steiner, a West Point graduate, has been a full-time magician since he retired as an Army lieutenant colonel in 1989. He figures he does about 150 shows a year, most of them for corporate banquets, meetings, grand openings, and private parties. He does 

not perform for children's  parties because much of his stage act involves mind reading and ESP.  That tends to go over children's heads, says Mr. Steiner.

The baseball magic combines his passion for magic with his lifelong love for baseball, which began when he was growing up in Minnesota.   He's got a fine memory and a head full of baseball trivia that come in handy when meeting ballplayers.

"My dream," he says, "is to perform at a World Series when the Orioles are playing."

Nice trick.  Try pulling one more starting pitcher and a bullpen stopper out of your hat.