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Mike Myers: Relief pitcher, collector
06/06/2005 4:10 AM ET
Mike Myers has built an 11-year big league career with his ability to get left-handed batters out. The 35-year-old submariner has played for seven different clubs, most recently the World Series champion Red Sox. A sports collector as long as he's been a ballplayer, Myers recently answered some questions about his collecting hobby: What do you collect?

Mike Myers: I collect everything that looks good to me, especially things from significant games I've played in. I have cards, jerseys from other players, bats, balls, statues, ticket stubs, photos, Hall of Fame postcards. I have a little bit of everything. How, when and why did you start collecting?

Myers: I started collecting when I young, about age 8. Growing up in Illinois, we used to buy cards and try to get all the Cubs players. With the extras, we would play all kinds of games and do trades, or have contests to see who could get the most of the same card. What was the first item that really meant something to you?

Myers: The first thing that really was super special to me was when I got a ball signed by Sandy Koufax and had an opportunity to talk pitching for about five minutes. I was in Melbourne, Fla., and he happened to show up for a game, so I went up to him and asked him for an autograph and a few pointers. What a great man. Do you collect items from your own career? What are some of your favorite items?

Myers: I have a few items from my own career. I have a jersey or two from every team that I've played on, the balls from my first win, first strikeout, 500th game appearance. I also kept the ball used for final out of the Brewers' first National League win. I was the winning pitcher against the Braves in that game. Did you keep anything special from the World Series last year?

Myers: I have ticket stubs, a jersey, a bat signed by everyone and a hat. The best thing I have from the World Series, and the one thing that can never be taken away, is the memory of holding the trophy and getting to celebrate with the team. Do you collect things from fellow players? If so, how do they react?

Myers: Other players usually never have a problem with it. There are only a couple of times when I've asked someone and they gave me weird look. I explain to them that I will never sell my collection and that I would like to add them to the collection. Do you display your collection, or is it sitting in a storage closet somewhere?

Myers: I had most of it displayed the last few years, but the kids took over my basement so I've had to put a lot of it away. I'll bring the good stuff out again when they grow up and don't play dodge ball in the basement anymore. Being a collector, do you spend extra time with autograph seekers?

Myers: I enjoy signing for others. It's hard to say no. But when I see the same guy asking for a lot, I let him know that I'll sign for the other people first so that I can accommodate as many people as possible. At the ballpark, most guys will sign things at some point, but not all the time. One thing the fans have to understand is that there's a lot of preparation that goes into performing and we need to make that our first priority. Are you happy with the current direction of the collectible industry?

Myers: Actually, I'm very displeased with the trading card industry. The direction that trading cards have taken in recent years has really irked me. I don't think the companies recognize the needs of the average collector. One of the things that bothers me most is that the cards are becoming unaffordable for most people to have as a fun hobby. When I go into a convenience store or I'm in line at Target, I'll look for packs of cards. On the very rare occasion that I find them, I will only get 3-7 cards in a pack and it will cost me about $3 a pack at a minimum. I've seen some places where I can buy an entire set, but at $50 to $80, that's a rip-off because I'll get too many cards of a certain highlighted player and I will never be able to get a set of an entire team. Depending on the team, I can typically get about 12-15 players. Then the other 10 players that make up a 25-man roster won't be there. I've talked to other collectors and they're getting tired of that, too. What would you change about the industry if you could?

Myers: I would start with the marketing of the industry. I think that the base of collectors can expand tremendously, especially to younger people, if the cards become affordable and accessible to a larger audience. One other thing I would definitely change is to make a card of every player, or at least of every player on a 25-man Opening Day roster and make sure that's available in at least one given set. I know of many people who have left the collecting game because they were sick and tired of getting 25 Mark McGwire cards and not being able to get a fifth starter or relievers or bench players, even when the guy was on the team all year.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.