Mark rolling on the East River, across from the United Nations Building
With the NFL playoffs in full swing, and SuperBowl LIII just around the corner, I figured now was the time to reach out to another APBA Football legend … and fortunately, Mark Zarb answered the call.
Besides the replays, Mark has been a source for several APBA Football innovations and tidbits, found at fellow APBA Football guru, Greg Barath’s site. Mark’s expertise in APBA Football and APBA Hockey is demonstrated in several self-made Football and Hockey sets for use with APBA.
Onto the interview with Mark Zarb …
Mark and Rebecca
Jimsapbabarn question #1: Tell us about yourself, your youth, etc (outside of APBA)?
Mark Zarb: I was born and raised in Astoria, NY which is a middle-class neighborhood in Queens. Both my parents were immigrants from Malta, and unlike most it was me teaching my dad about American sports and not the other way around. I was an average to below average athlete playing mostly baseball and basketball, but my limited athleticism did not prevent me from being an avid, even rabid sports fan, becoming a fan of the NY Jets, Rangers, Mets and Knicks when I really started following sports in 1969 (big year for all those teams). I went to Stuyvesant High School, which is a specialized science/math school in NYC, and then obtained an BS in Accounting and MBA in Finance from St.John’s University in NY. My family life includes an ex-wife (who I get along with very well, now at least), two daughters Amanda (22) who graduated from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT and Elizabeth (19) who currently attends Emerson College in Boston,MA. I currently live with my lovely girlfriend of almost four years, Rebecca, and my French bulldog Wentford (named after Wentford Gaines of the 1978 Chicago Bears) in Long Island City, Queens.
Mark with his daughters
Jimsapbabarn question #2: Tell us about your work/career?
Mark Zarb: Pretty boring stuff here, been in Finance the whole time starting with Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan) in 1985 and spent the next 29 years there. In 2014, I joined Bank of America which is where I am today. Started my career as an internal auditor, spent time in market risk management and then moved over to trading eventually taking over the interest rate swaps desk at Chase Manhattan and then J.P.Morgan when the two merged. Burned out from trading I went back to market risk, this time covering commodities and then moved over to Bank of America where I am still in risk management this time covering Interest Rate Risk on the firms balance sheet. Always loved numbers I guess.
Jimsapbabarn question #3: When/how did you discover APBA?
Mark Zarb: A friend turned me onto APBA in 1976. He received the baseball game as a Christmas gift and we spent many hours playing one-off games from the 1975 baseball season. I always loved the Game Co.’s brochures and would spend countless hours reading them over and over. The first APBA game I ever owned, believe it or not, was basketball and yes, I have completed a few games using the short version of the game. That was soon followed by football and then baseball in 1976 and 77.
From the APBA Basketball Game brochure
Jimsapbabarn question #4: How did you get started creating your own APBA Football and Hockey sets?
Mark Zarb: Glad you asked this question, essentially it was to fill a void when APBA had some financial difficulty in the late 90’s early 2000’s. It was around that time that I contacted the GameCo about the possibility of seeing some new or even retro APBA Hockey or Football seasons. The woman who answered the phone was apologetic and said future seasons for hockey were unlikely. APBA also did not produce the 1998 football season, which was finally done by the old APBA Journal. Anyway, I decided that I was going to take things into my own hands, first completing some extra players for the 93-94 NHL set and then working on my first full set with the 1971-72 NHL. 1968 football came out soon after and I never looked back. Essentially, it was like the Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
2010 Zarb Football set
Great thing about it was meeting my APBA Brother and best friend Greg Barath as a result of producing 1968 and that was followed by a myriad of other friends and connections. Also, a big shout out to Dave Sayers (DICEDAVE) who was my first customer ever way back when.
Jimsapbabarn question #5: Which APBA games do you currently play, and which is your favorite board game?
Mark Zarb: I exclusively play the APBA Football Master Game, it is by far, my favorite. Closely followed by Hockey, but I must admit I haven’t played in many years.
BAT FLIPS at the ‘Barn with Mark Zarb …
– Your favorite sport(s)/team(s)?
Mark Zarb: Jets, Alabama, Rangers, Mets, Knicks, SJU Red Storm (Basketball)
Mark with best friend Greg Barath, meeting Chad Pennington
Mark with Rebecca at Jets game in Nashville
– Your favorite athlete(s) of all-time?
Mark Zarb: Joe Namath and Mark Messier
– Your favorite sports venue?
Mark Zarb: Shea Stadium for Football.
– Your favorite movie?
Mark Zarb: Kelly’s Heroes and Aliens.
– Your favorite APBA memory?
Mark Zarb: Playing my 1972 NFL Championship Games and Super Bowl at Greg Barath’s home over Thanksgiving Day weekend a few years back. Had a great time hanging with Greg and his lovely wife Becky…damned we talked a lot of APBA, ate a lot of food and drank a ton of booze!!!!!
Mark was very gracious in accepting my request for an APBA’view … and very humble in his responses. The APBA Football community is fortunate to have a guy like Mark Zarb involved in the hobby. Make sure you check out his replays on the APBA Between the Lines Delphi Forum. And do not be afraid to ask Mark any questions about the game you might have. Thanks Mark!
Wentford is Mark’s best friend when the Jets lose …