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07/26/06 8:23 AM ET

Lidge collects baseball history

Closer Brad Lidge, who helped the Astros get to the World Series for the first time in franchise history last season, indulges his own passion for baseball history with a collection of trading cards that goes back nearly a century. He recently discussed his favorite hobby in a question-and-answer session.

Question: What are your favorite cards you collected as a kid?

Brad Lidge: They were my favorite players: Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Dave Winfield. Those were my three big guys. Another was Kirby Puckett.

Q: How did you get into collecting old cards?

Lidge: I went through a time when I wasn't collecting at all. But I got back into it after I got drafted by the Astros. The last 10 years, I've been getting tons of vintage stuff. I've got a few 1909 cards.

Q: Where do you obtain these antique cards?

Lidge: I have a man out in Aurora (Colo.) and he's got a house stocked full of stuff. He's at a lot of shows. People have heard about my interest and they'll have some great stuff for me to look at. And there are also auctions.

Q: What do you like about the old cards?

Lidge: I love the history of baseball. When you go back to look at how old and unique that stuff is, and the fact people weren't collecting that stuff for a profit then -- it was a hobby and it was fun for people -- that's what makes me excited about stuff from that far back. It's rare, it's history and it's part of the game.

Q: What's your most treasured card?

Lidge: I have a 1912 Walter Johnson and a 1909 Ty Cobb that are probably my toppers in terms of value. I also have a 1950 or 1951 Bowman with Ted Williams that's in really good shape. It's worth a lot. For me personally, one of my most valuable cards is a Sandy Koufax rookie (1955).

Q: How do you store the old cards?

Lidge: We live near Denver, and Denver's a very dry place. I store them in the basement there. You don't have to worry about things. They're in plastic bins, but nothing's on the floor in case of a flood. I make sure they're safe.

Q: What's the first card on which you appeared?

Lidge: Probably when I was drafted in baseball. A representative from Topps came out to take pictures. We have some cards in the 1999 Topps set. Also, the 1999 Kissimmee Cobras, our high-A affiliate, we have some cards from that team.

Q: Will you get more into collecting after your career is over?

Lidge: There's a lot of memorabilia I like. I try to get autographs of Hall of Fame guys on balls. I can see myself doing this for a long time.

George Castle is a writer for Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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