On April 21, 1997, The MeiGray Group wooed award-winning sportswriter Barry Meisel from the New York Daily News by signing the Brooklyn, New York native to an exclusive multi-year contract.
MeiGray marks the second sports memorabilia company to be headed by Meisel. His successful 18-year sports journalism career began while he was directing Garden Sportscard Company, which Meisel founded in August 1977, the prehistoric days of the sports memorabilia industry, while a junior at the State University of Binghamton, N.Y.
Sports card and memorabilia collecting was still an innocent, unknown hobby when Garden helped popularize the retail sale of cards and accessories to collectors. From 1977-81, Garden sold nearly 10,000,000 sports cards and more than 100,000 plastic card holders, sheets, albums and boxes to thousands of collectors across North America.
Garden's rapid growth under Meisel's direction - sales rose more than 500% over four years - mirrored Meisel's blossoming journalism career. After his graduation from SUNY-Binghamton in May 1979, he was hired by the Binghamton Sun-Bulletin to cover the American Hockey League's Binghamton Whalers.
By 1981, Garden had become phenomenally successful - so successful that it needed Meisel and his partner to run it full-time. Rather than give up his sports journalism career at the age of 23, Meisel sold his 50 percent stake in Garden. He spent five years at the Sun-Bulletin, and then was hired in June 1984 to cover the New York Rangers, New York Mets and New Jersey Devils for the Morristown, N.J., Daily Record.
After only 15 months at the Daily Record, Meisel was hired in October 1985 by the New York Daily News. In his 12 years at one of the nation's largest dailies he covered the New York Islanders, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and New York Giants. He spent 1993 and 1994 as the News' investigative sports reporter.
He has also worked as a columnist for The Hockey News (1982-90) and The New York Giants Newsweekly (1990-96). He was a contributing writer for Sport from 1990-1994. He has written two books. In 1988 he co-authored 'Boss: The Mike Bossy Story' and in 1995 he wrote 'Losing the Edge: The Rise and Fall of the Stanley Cup Champion New York Rangers.'
Meisel, who speaks at schools and in front of charitable organizations, has collected sports memorabilia since 1985. His interests include championship mementos of the '69 Mets, '69 Jets and '94 Rangers. He also has an extensive collection of first-edition press guides, and a growing collection of game-worn jerseys representing the professional teams he covered during his sportswriting career.
Meisel lives in Warren, N.J., with his wife, Katy, and their two children, David, 14, and Jess, 12. David plays guitar with his band, Lost Cauz and collects music on his iPod. Jess is a dancer who enjoys Hip-hop, Tap, and Ballet.