Ted Lilly, who returned to the postseason for the third time in his nine-year career after finishing the regular season 15-8 with a 3.83 ERA for the Cubs, spent much of his youth in pursuit of Will Clark baseball cards while growing up in California. The soft-spoken left-hander recalled those days in a recent interview:
MLBPLAYERS.com: When did you start collecting cards?
Lilly: I was 10, and the guys I started collecting were San Francisco Giants players. My favorite player growing up was Will Clark. He and Matt Williams were the guys I tried to collect the most. I remember the 1989 World Series against Oakland.
I liked Will's swing, he was one of the best players on the team. I wanted to hit, and he was a great left-handed hitter that I emulated the most when I was a kid.
When I was a kid, I really didn't want to be a pitcher. I just was kind of forced into it because I couldn't hit. I was an outfielder. I was a pretty good (outfield) thrower when I was young.
I believe I have a George Brett rookie card. But I don't think I got any McGwire or Canseco cards back then.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How did you organize your cards? v Lilly: I put them in albums and I traded them among friends. Anytime I got a Will Clark card, I was pretty happy (in a trade). I don't think I always made good trades, because I always wanted Will's cards. I still have the cards. I put them away. I'll probably give them to my kid.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did you first appear on a card?
Lilly: It was with the Yakima Bears rookie league team in the Dodgers organization. I don't think it was an action shot.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What's your best Major League card?
Lilly: That's a good question. I don't really have one that sticks out. I've gotten cards from pretty much every team I've been on. I get to see cards I haven't seen before.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.