Garland collected his favorite Dodgers
Hershiser, Sharperson among the pitcher's top picks
Jon Garland, a free agent, doesn't yet know which uniform he'll wear for the trading card companies' Spring Training photo shoots next march but, his youth collection featured players from all of the teams that frequently visited Los Angeles to play his hometown Dodgers.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Whom did you collect when you were younger?
Garland: Mostly National League West players. My grandfather, Bill Peralta, had season tickets to Dodgers games. He grew up in downtown L.A. Southern Cal and the Dodgers were his sports teams. San Francisco, San Diego coming in -- those were the teams I saw, and those were players I leaned to, because they're the ones I saw the most.
I probably have some Ozzie Smith cards from his original days with the Padres, but I haven't looked at those cards for 15 years. I used to get stuck on players. Once I got stuck on a player, that was it.
I actually liked playing positions more. Pitching was fun to me. But I liked being involved in the game even more -- hitting, being out on the field making plays. So I got the cards of hitters -- Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell. Will Clark playing first base and his swing -- even though I swing right-handed -- there was still something about it I enjoyed watching. I'm still in awe of that Mitchell bare-handed running catch in the corner. It blows my mind when I see a replay of that now.
My favorite Dodgers I collected were Fernando (Valenzuela), Orel (Hershiser), Brett Butler -- the master bunter -- Steve Sax, Mike Morgan, Mike Scioscia, John Shelby, Mike Sharperson.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you appear on Little League cards?
Garland: Yes. It was a picture they made into a makeshift card. I wore glasses then. I wore them all the way through Triple-A.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What was your first Minor League card?
Garland: I believe it was the Rockford Cubbies. That team was owned by the Cubs then. It was a kind of similar uniform to the parent team. Then I was on a Hickory Crawdads card. I have 'em all. I get some Winston-Salem and a lot of Charlotte cards.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What is your favorite big league card?
Garland: I don't know if I really have a favorite. Two or three years back with the White Sox, there was a card that was kind of penciled, like a drawing, not a photo. I liked that. Of course, any cards from the 2005 World Series I'd like.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.