Minnesota Twins reliever Jesse Crain will have an impressive baseball memorabilia display when he adds his old card collection.
03/10/2009 12:56 PM ET
Nied, EY topped Crain's collecting list
Twins reliever liked to grab the original Rockies
By George Castle / Special to MLBPLAYERS.com
Noted on his team for collecting, Crain details his second favorite passion -- after playing baseball -- here.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Whom did you collect when you were young?
Crain: My favorite player was Ken Griffey Jr., and he was big when I first started collecting. I got his rookie card in 1989. For the first couple of years, I think I had every card of his that came out.
Later on, in 1993 when the Rockies started, I tried to get Rockies cards. I remember David Nied and those guys were big. I liked Darren Holmes -- he was a good reliever. I grew up in Boulder. Baseball grew a lot in Colorado when the Rockies started.
Later on I got Larry Walker, Dante Bichette, Vinny Castilla, "EY" [Eric Young]. I was at the first game when he hit that leadoff homer. I went to a couple of games at Mile High Stadium in that first year.
During that same time, Frank Thomas was big.
MLBPLAYERS.com: When did you start collecting?
Crain: I first started collecting in 1987. I got the Donruss set with Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire -- with the black border around it. I had a bunch of those. It was the best set I had. It's pretty cool to face some of those guys you collected growing up.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where are the cards now?
Crain: They're at my father's house, well preserved. I got my basement finished and I'll probably go through them in the offseason to see what I have. I bet I have a lot more things than I think I have.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did you first appear on a card?
Crain: I probably was on a Little League card -- the Orioles -- when I was 9 or 10, same time Griffey was playing [in the Majors]. When I started playing traveling ball, the numbers went up above 20, and I could wear No. 24. My first real card was Elizabethton, Tenn., the rookie league. It was pretty cool. It was an old red mesh Twins uniform.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What's your best Major League card?
Crain: I like the action ones. The action ones are good. As long as I'm not making some crazy face.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What other kinds of memorabilia do you have to complement the cards?
Crain: I'm big into jerseys. I probably have 30 or so jerseys of different guys -- a lot of Hall of Famers. I just go buy them at the stadium or order online. When I see the guys, I'll ask them to sign. I usually know a player or two on each team. If he's a hitter, I'll try to get a bat from him.
-- Red Line Editorial