Casey McGehee is living the story told on the back of so many baseball cards through the generations.
It's the journey of an unheralded Minor Leaguer who finds no room at the top in his original organization. Put on waivers, he catches on elsewhere and finds himself in the middle of a strong lineup, batting .300. That's what rookie third baseman McGehee, originally with the Cubs organization, did at midseason with the Milwaukee Brewers.
McGehee knows those baseball card stories, too, because he collected cards growing up in Santa Cruz, Calif. He's so new at big league success, batting behind Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, that he had not yet seen his own Brewers big-league card when MLBPLAYERS.com asked him about his collecting days:
MLBPLAYERS.com: Whom did you collect growing up?
McGehee: My favorite thing was getting a whole bunch of cards at once, going through them pack by pack, opening them up and sorting them out. You'd read all the stats and then go to organize them. It was always neat to open them up and get Ken Griffey Jr. cards. It was more of a thrill to get the packs and open them up, see guys you never heard of. Looking back on it now, there were probably some you didn't think much of at the time. It was cool handling those cards.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Any favorite players that you hoped were in those packs?
McGehee: I always tried to get the Ken Griffey Jr. cards. That was my guy when I was younger. Tony Gwynn was another. Bo Jackson, too, when he was big. Those are the guys I got excited over.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you trade cards?
McGehee: I didn't really trade much. I'd go to the cards shops and buy a single card if I really wanted it. There was a little card shop down the road I'd check out every month. I still have quite a good collection at my parents' house. I'd say I have unopened packs. It's in the hundreds, maybe close to 1,000. One day, I'll look through them.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did you first appear on a card?
McGehee: My first card was a split card of Buck Coats and me at Double-A. It was a card that came out from Topps. I was on team sets earlier in the Minors. If you're not a big time prospect, it takes awhile for them to put out a card on you. That was cool, especially Buck being a good friend. He ended up as the best man at my wedding. Buck's now in Triple-A with the Blue Jays.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What do you think of your first big league cards?
McGehee: It still shows me in a Cubs uniform. It must have been taken at Spring Training a while back. I haven't seen anywhere I'm wearing any Brewers stuff. It's got me following through on a swing. It's pretty neat. The others are brutal poses. They got one of me leading off first base, which is ironic because I'm not really a basestealer.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.