Toby Hall has unopened boxes08/08/2007 10:10 AM ET
By George Castle / Special to MLBPLAYERS.com
Toby Hall is adjusting to backup duty this season. A good-hitting starter for four seasons in Tampa Bay, Hall now shares time with A.J. Pierzynski playing for the White Sox. In whatever role, though, Hall is a baseball devotee who loved to collect cards. Hall recalls how he assembled his card collection.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What age did you start collecting?
Hall: It was 1987 when I got my first full set. Then I remember the 1989 Upper Deck when it first came out with the Ken Griffey Jr.'s rookie card. Every allowance I'd get, every time I mowed somebody's lawn, I'd save up to get cards. Upper Deck, it was like $3 a pack. I'd get probably 10 cards. That was Dale Murphy, reverse-negative cards. Griffey's card is way down there. I grew up in Northern Calif., so I'd collected a lot of those guys with the A's and Giants. Jeffrey Leonard, Kevin Mitchell, Will Clark, the Bash Brothers. Photos, too.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What was your all-time favorite card?
Hall: I think it was the Rickey Henderson rookie card. I was in a store the other day, it said $30. I remember paying $90, $100 then. Then I started collecting the full sets, not even opening them. They're still not open. From 1989 to 1995, I think I have every set. Hopefully everything will go up and I can give them to my kids. I shipped them out to Florida to put them in a safe place.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What was the first card on which you appeared?
Hall: It was the Baseball America Top Prospect card box. It was me, Marcus Giles and Lance Berkman on the back of the box. I was at WalMart one day and I showed my parents I finally got a card.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What is your favorite card of yourself?
Hall: Probably a catcher's card, throwing somebody out. My parents always like one with a good facial expression. I got one of the best ones where I'm being crushed at the plate by Jason Giambi. He got me, but I held onto it. Seems like that's the one I get in the mail all the time (to sign for fans).
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.