Brad Radke has been a workhorse not only on the mound for the Minnesota Twins, but also in helping out in the Twin Cities community. But before he ever threw a pitch professionally, Radke was just as busy collecting baseball cards. He estimates his collection has reached the 15,000-card mark, maybe even a few thousand more. He relates how he got started collecting while growing up in Tampa.
MLB.com/cards: At what age did you start collecting cards?
Radke: Probably around 10. It was something to do, being a kid and liking baseball. There was a card shop five minutes from where I grew up.
MLB.com/cards: Which was your all-time favorite card?
Radke: I liked George Brett growing up. I collected all his cards. I got his rookie card finally. That's probably my favorite card. Rookie cards are supposedly more valuable than cards coming out later.
MLB.com/cards: Who were your other favorites?
Radke: I have a lot of sets. The guys who were good at the time. You try to collect as many as you can. Doc Gooden, for sure, was one I wanted. He was from Tampa, too. He had a great career. You collect as much as you can. Get as many autographs. If someone would come in and sign at the store for a few hours, I'd go and do that. Bob Feller was one, and I got his autograph. He was a nice guy.
MLB.com/cards: Are you going to pass along the card collection?
Radke: They're at my dad's house now. Once I go through that closet and show my kids, they'll like it. I'll have a good time doing it. They're pretty interested in collecting cards. They'll go out and buy a pack and go through it.
MLB.com/cards: On which card did you first appear?
Radke: Actually, in Little League, they came out with little cards. It was pretty neat, they'd put your information and photo on the card. My first pro card, it was probably my second year in the Minor Leagues.
George Castle is a writer for Redline Editorial Inc.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.