Friday, May 7, 2010

Player collecting: What does it take to get on your list?

It seems like most people have favorite players they collect. It doesn't matter if your a set collector, a team collector or a high-end case buster. Everyone has one or more players whose cards they are chasing.

What does it take for YOU to collect a player?

Is it just because he plays for your favorite team? Is it his position, name, playing style or hometown/state? Some other reason possibly?

My number one favorite player to collect is Will Clark. I know he's not a favorite of many, but he's been at the top of my list since he came out of Mississippi State. He was drafted in the first round (second overall) of the 1985 draft and made his major league debut on April 8, 1986. He homered in his first major league at bat off none other than Nolan Ryan. He put up good numbers over the course of his career and I was very excited when he signed wth the Rangers in time for the opening of the new Ballpark in Arlington in 1994. That just happened to be the year I was discharged from the Navy and I was able to see him play a number of times.

I loved his no-nonsense, 100% all the time approach to the game. He could be surly and cantankerous if his team was losing and he didn't put up with any crap. Will always gave 100% effort and when his body wouldn't let him, he walked away from the game.

I also collect Rusty Greer, former Ranger, for the same reason. He was all-out, all the time. His career was shortened because of his willingness to sacrifice his body for the good of the team. Rusty made some amazing diving catches, one of which preserved Kenny Rogers' perfect game.

Joe Mauer and Ivan Rodriguez are on the list because catchers are some of my favorites. Johnny Bench and the original Pudge, Carlton Fisk fall in this category to a lesser degree.

I owe a great thanks to many bloggers who have added a great number of cards to my player collections.

Let us know the WHY behind your player collections.


  1. I am a team collector first and foremost. But I do have a few player collections. Funny thing is neither guy ever played for my team. I player collect Bill Virdon and Preacher Roe. Both because they are from my town. I drive on roads named for them every day (well, every day for Preacher and maybe once a week for Virdon) also my kids play baseball on fields named after them.

  2. it was tough to be a kid in southern california in 1977/78 and not be a fan of steve garvey. he was the anchor of the infield on my favorite team, a perennial all star and a seemingly all-american guy. i have collected a lot of other players over the years, but now i focus mostly on garvey, cey, russell, lopes, mauer, doug mientkiewicz (a fan favorite here in minny), nomar, vlad, and any member of the 1978 dodgers. i just decided on that last one. if anyone has any jerry grote, johnny oates, rick rhoden, lee lacy cards, send em my way!

  3. Fred McGriff is a favorite of mine because he was my favorite player as a kid. Beyond that, most of my favorite players are either a) guys I found in video games and ended up following in real life, b) scrappy hangin-on guys who play 10-15 years without starting much, and/or c) guys with funny names.

    Case in point: Seneca Wallace was a great Madden QB...became a favorite player as well. Tyronn Lue is a scrappy hang-on type...played 11 years and won two rings without ever really being a star. Rusty Kuntz and Pete LaCock...they're pretty self explanatory!

  4. I'm a team guy, too, but every team guy has to have a favorite player, right? I collect Ron Cey because he was my favorite player as a kid. He looked cool, he hit home runs and he seemed like a nice guy. His poster was on my wall. Orel Hershiser was the same way -- OK, he didn't look cool -- but he was very good and a nice guy. I collect Hideo Nomo because he was so different when he came to the majors and because he has so many great cards. I also collect Clayton Kershaw because he has tremendous potential and I've always liked pitchers. And of course I collect Dodger legends like Koufax and Jackie because you just have to.

    I don't collect players from other teams. That's where the team guy draws the line.

  5. Being a favorite player on a favorite team is the best way to get into my PC. Carl Crawford, Jason Bartlett, Carlos Pena. Being extra fan friendly and going that extra mile AND playing for my favorite team and playing all out all the time helps-Jared Sandberg, Dave Martinez and Jonny Gomes.
    When I latched onto Danny Tartabull way back when... I grew up in CT and saw my live baseball mostly at Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium. My family didn't like going to crowded games so I never saw the Yanks play the Red Sox live, but I watched the Expos, Blue Jays, Brewers, Mariners and even the Rangers ALOT. The Mariners became a favorite of mine in the mid 80s. That was when I started collecting. I loved watching them play the Yankees and my Uncle Julius made me wear a jacket over my Mariners jersey. I proclaimed them my favorite team and this meant I could stay up WAY past my bed time and watch them play the Yanks or Sox on TV in Seattle. That was the coolest. Mark Langston, Alvin Davis and Phil Bradley were young stars, but I started following their prospects Danny Tartabull and Harold Reynolds. Tartabull had an epic season with power numbers in 1985 with Calgary (AAA) when he hit 43 homers as a shortstop/second baseman. The Bull was in the big leagues in 1986 and I was hooked. It helped that none of my friends knew who he was. Don Mattingly, Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Wade Boggs, Jim Rice and Mike Schmidt were the popular players that everyone followed. Danny Tartabull seemed "underground" and I liked having a personal favorite player that I didn't share locally. Even with the internet I have yet to meet another Tartabull super collector, but I have "met" many Jonny Gomes super fans. I stopped following Tartabull when he signed his mega contract with the Yankees. I have since forgiven him. I got really excited when he tried to come back with the Padres in 2000, but the comeback didn't take. As a fan, I really got into the 1996 White Sox with Tartabull, Ventura and the Big Hurt being the South Side Hitmen that year. That was his last big hurrah as a slugger. Oh, it also helped that he was a legacy and had a nickname-the Bull. AND he was a certified bad-ass! Great topic Brian! Speaking of Brians, there is Brian Roberts, too, but that is an even longer story...

  6. I've never really collected specific players - or so I tell myself - because I've always found it a bit weird and stalkerisih. That said, I have about 1,000 Darryl Strawberry cards! Haha, so I guess I DO collect a certain player.

    He was my favorite player since I was four, and it's undecided amongst the family whether it's because he was incredibly tall or because I liked strawberries and his last name is, well, Strawberry.

    Today I collect types of cards more than anything else (relics) and I enjoy purchasing oddball items from my youth.

  7. Two ways to get onto my player collection list:
    1. Play for the Mariners.
    2. Help my fantasy team win a title

    Number 2 explains why I collect Zobrist, Josh Johnson, etc.

  8. I'm pretty much an O's team collector, and I don't know exactly why I collect some of the other guys that I do. Pujols, McCutchen, Neftali Feliz, very random. I guess they are good or have the potential to be good.

  9. I know its not football but the only player collection i have is Warrick Dunn for a couple reasons.

    1. He played for my favorite college and alma mater and was one of the best of all time
    2. He played for my favorite team (Atlanta Falcons) and played locally for me (Tampa Bay) for many years
    3. His off field volunteerwork and charity make him an easy player to like and respect
    4. His life story is inspiring

    he was one of the reasons i got back into collecting in 2004 and the main reason i got back in this year