Tucson native Brian Anderson, the 15th overall pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft after starring at the University of Arizona, was a baseball card collector who picked up the hobby from his father. The Chicago White Sox outfielder recently discussed collecting during a question-and-answer session for MLB.com/cards.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What was your favorite card growing up?
Anderson: When I was real young, I remember saving my money to go to this place called the Catcher's Mitt in California, where I first lived. I'd go there every chance I could. My dad took me and got me a Jose Canseco rookie card -- 1985 or 1986. My aunt was going on "The Price Is Right," and I gave it to her. She wanted it for good luck and she wound up winning the whole thing. In return, she bought me a brand-new Jose Canseco rookie card. She was rubbing the other card so much that it got all messed up. The value of the card was no longer there.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Were you really serious about collecting?
Anderson: I remember as a little kid looking at Beckett (price guide), jotting how much each card was worth, whether it was going up and down, all that stuff. My dad had a collection that was passed down to him. He was showing me cards for Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, a bunch of cool cards. He gave it to me. I have them in a tin box, the ones I really, really cherish. They're 1950s, 1960s cards. They hold no monetary value to me. I just like to keep them for my personal collection, to hand them down to my kids. I'm not ever going to sell them. The card value doesn't mean as much as the sentimental value.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Do you collect cards now?
Anderson: If I see guys I'm friends with or played with, I'll hold onto their cards to see how ironic it is that some of these guys I played with are on a baseball card.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Why do you possess a whole collection of Chris Widger cards?
Anderson: It started off as a joke. I saw, maybe by accident, a picture of Widger on his 1992 draft-prospect card. It looks so funny because he has kind of an executive-mullet going on. Business in the front, party in the back. I had to have it. I put it in the center of my locker. Chris saw how amused I was. He just posted all his cards on my locker while I was out for BP one day. I just kept them because I think it's awesome. I've got close to 10, including a couple of Memphis cards from the Minor Leagues.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What was the first card on which you appeared?
Anderson: It would probably be more like a summer league card. The first professional one is a Great Falls (Mont.) White Sox rookie league card. We didn't have any cards at the U. of A. Same appearance, just shorter hair.
George Castle is a writer for Redline Editorial, Inc.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.