Of all Major Leaguers, Jamey Carroll probably had the closest family connection to baseball cards growing up.
Not only did Carroll collect cards, but his father, Larry, ran the Batter's Box card shop in Newburgh, Ind., near Evansville. The younger Carroll helped sort sets of cards. Larry Carroll still has an impressive collection these days, long after he sold the store, including autographed Mickey Mantle and Ken Griffey Jr. items.
Jamey Carroll reminisced about those collecting days in a recent interview with MLBPLAYERS.com.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Whom did you collect when you were younger?
Carroll: Don Mattingly's from my hometown [Evansville], so you always had to search for the Don Mattinglys. It was just collecting the guys you liked, the Pete Roses and Ozzie Smiths. You watched the Cubs and Braves games on TV, so you'd collect the Ryne Sandbergs and Glenn Hubbards. There was the "Daily Double" on the Cubs with Bob Dernier teaming with Sandberg.
I just remember putting the cards in binders, in sleeves, putting them in by teams. The big thing was to get the 1984 sets to get the Mattingly cards. Both the 1984 and 1983 sets had some great cards -- the rookie cards, guys breaking in like [Tony] Gwynn, [Cal] Ripken [Jr.], [Darryl] Strawberry and [Dwight] Gooden.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did your father retain rare cards from decades ago?
Carroll: No. He's your typical dad who had 'em all at one point in time, but somehow they found themselves somewhere else. Still, he has quite an impressive collection.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How fun was it to have a dad who owned a card shop?
Carroll: The fun part of being on a Major League card was my dad going through 12, 13 boxes of Topps cards to open them up and finally get my card. That was fun.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did you first appear on a card?
Carroll: My first pro card was the Vermont Expos [New York-Penn League, Class A Short-Season]. My name was misspelled. It has just one 'l.' I even had one with the wrong autograph on it. When you play in the Northeast, you might see a few, but not too often.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Do you have a favorite Major League card?
Carroll: The new Topps one this year I like. Last year, an Upper Deck card with my swing, a little more up close, I liked the best. It was a good card, a nice action shot.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.