Nied, EY topped Crain's collecting list
Twins reliever liked to grab the original Rockies
Minnesota Twins reliever Jesse Crain will have an impressive baseball memorabilia display when he adds his old card collection.
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.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.