In a town saturated with master networkers, banking lawyer Thomas P. Vartanian has found a novel way to pitch himself.

Mr. Vartanian, the managing partner of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver, & Jacobson and an avid player in the local Ponce de Leon middle-aged men's baseball league, is handing out business cards that mimic baseball trading cards.

The front of each card is a photo of Mr. Vartanian tossing a curveball in the Roy Hobbs Over-40 World Championship of Baseball tournament held in November in Fort Myers, Fla. Mr. Vartanian's offensive statistics, including a cool .420 batting average since 1992, are displayed on the back along with a description of his legal specialty in electronic banking.

Mr. Vartanian, who got the idea after using pro basketball trading cards to symbolize smart cards in training sessions for bank examiners, said recipients have chuckled over his sign of baseball pride.

The veteran lawyer hopes his career will endure long enough to distribute the 500 cards that he ordered. "Pitching and a 47-year-old back don't necessarily go well together."

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Michael Moskow comes to Washington Tuesday for the Federal Open Market Committee. The next day, Mr. Moskow and senior economist William Testa head to the U.S. Capitol to explain the Midwest's economic recovery.

The briefing, for members of Congress and their aides, is being sponsored by the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition.

Over the last year, Chicago Fed economists have tried to figure out what led to the Midwest's dramatic comeback from the economic downturn of early 1980s. The economists also studied what government and business leaders can do to sustain the momentum.

The result is their report, "Assessing the Midwest Economy: Looking Back for the Future."

William I. Jacobs, executive vice president of global resources for MasterCard International, was elected chairman of the American University board of trustees on May 12.

Mr. Jacobs, who is based in New York, leads MasterCard's merger and acquisition activities and various departments including legal and government affairs. An alumnus of American, Mr. Jacobs has served on the university's board since 1988. He replaces Edward R. Carr, president of Carr Homes Inc., who will remain on the board.

George J. Collins, retired president of T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., was named vice chairman.

Rep. Richard H. Baker has a reputation as a legislative deal maker, but his true calling may be launching bank acquisitions.

When questioning a panel of securities industry officials during a House Banking Committee hearing last week, the Louisiana Republican described a hypothetical situation in which Merrill Lynch & Co. buys a bank.

John G. Heimann, Merrill Lynch's chairman of global financial institutions, was intrigued by the example.

"You mentioned Merrill Lynch buying a bank, but you didn't mention a price," Mr. Heimann told the lawmaker. "If you come up with a deal, let me know."

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