While his baseball card collection doesn't compare to that of teammate and consummate card collector Dmitri Young, reliever Ray King spent many of his childhood summer days buying and trading cards that he's now passing along to his 13-year-old son Tyrell.
MLBPLAYERS.com: When did you start collecting?
King: I was about 10. Back then you were excited because the cards came with bubble gum and you got a treat. It was hard gum. It was fun because of the player you got or your favorite team. I grew up a Cardinals fan even though I lived in Chicago. Every summer, I went to Tennessee and I would go to two or three games in the summer. Then, in 1985-86, my favorite players were Willie McGee, Vince Coleman, Jack Clark, John Tudor, Jose Oquendo. Every time I got a Cardinals card, I was excited. You just collected. You traded with your friends: I've got three Jack Clarks. I'll give you a Jack Clark for a Vince Coleman or Andy Van Slyke. I have John Tudor's rookie card and others, and it got to the point that I thought I had a pretty good collection.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What was your all-time favorite card?
King: Dave Stewart. I always liked his demeanor on the mound. He'd have that stare that said, "Here it is, I have nothing to hide." He had the presence where he wasn't afraid to challenge guys, wasn't afraid to come in, wasn't afraid to knock guys down and wasn't afraid to speak his mind in the papers.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Are you going to really organize your card collection?
King: It's something Tyrell and I can do together. I've got a guy in (Washington) D.C. who is a big card and big autograph collector. I've been talking to him and picking up pieces here and there. I want to add to it, and spend more time doing this with my kid. Tyrell's started collecting the last few years. One thing my wife (Cherie) has done for me is took all the cards of the teams I've been on, had them framed and you can look back, not only the other guys in the game, but your history, starting with the Cubs (1999) and all the other teams I've been on. I've had some longevity in the game and I appreciate it. All the cards are in books, but eventually I'd like them all framed.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What card did you first appear on?
King: The first true card I was on was the Durham Bulls (1996). I've got cards from every team I've been on. I'm still waiting for my first Nationals card.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.