Pitcher Luke Hochevar had an interesting vantage point as a baseball card collector. He started his collection as a kid in Denver just before the Rockies began play as a franchise in 1993.

Hochevar, the Kansas City Royals' right-hander, noted his widespread tastes in a recent discussion about his collecting days with MLBPLAYERS.com:

MLBPLAYERS.com: Whom did you collect when you were growing up?

Luke Hochevar: I would go after the majority of my favorite players. At that time, I really liked the Oakland A's 'Bash Brothers,' although my favorite player was Cal Ripken Jr. Also John Smoltz, Greg Maddux. They were the players I liked to follow.

MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you collect teams?

Hochevar: I really didn't try to collect entire team sets, just the players I followed. The Braves were on TV all the time on TBS. The Rockies started. I got Vinny Castilla cards, EY [Eric Young], Andres Galarraga. More the hitters with Rockies, guys that people followed. We'd save up our $1.50, or whatever, to get a pack of cards. And if you ran across a rookie card, it was awesome.

MLBPLAYERS.com: You mentioned cost. Was their affordability another appeal of cards then?

Hochevar: Oh, yeah. As kids, you'd mow yards or make deals with your parents -- I'll keep my room clean for a week -- to get money for a pack of cards.

MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you trade cards?

Hochevar: You're always trading cards with your buddy. When you're doing it as a kid, you're not thinking, 'I'll trade you this card because it brings you money.' It's 'I'll trade you a card because it's what you like.' That was a lot of fun. Something you do on a rainy day. If you ran across a rookie card or one of your buddies had one, you might trade one of your good cards for a [top] rookie card.

MLBPLAYERS.com: When did you first appear on a card?

Hochevar: When I was in college [University of Tennessee], they made cards. I was on cards with the Burlington [Iowa] Bees. There was just one of me pitching. The rest were still shots. I was 23.

MLBPLAYERS.com: What's your favorite card?

Hochevar: I think there was one card when I was in the Futures Game -- it was pretty cool. I also like my Royals cards.

MLBPLAYERS.com: Were you on any 'mistake' cards?

Hochevar: Yeah. I think it was a picture of me with [teammate Brian] Bannister's name on it, or a picture of Bannister with my name on it. I think I have that card.

-- Red Line Editorial