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08/08/06 3:33 PM ET

Hairston grew up around game, cards

There should be plenty of baseball cards with the name Hairston. Five members of the family, spread over three generations, have played in the Majors. That's a big-league record, beating out the four members of the Boone family over three generations. Sam Hairston was the first African-American on the White Sox in 1951. Sam's sons, Jerry Sr. and John, played for the White Sox and Cubs, respectively. Jerry Sr.'s sons, Jerry Jr. and Scott, play for the Rangers and Diamondbacks, respectively. With all the baseball bloodlines in the family and the opportunity to tag along with Dad to old Comiskey Park, Jerry Jr. also had time to collect cards. He recently discussed his hobby during a question-and-answer session for MLB.com/cards.

Question: What were your favorite player cards that you collected?

Jerry Hairston Jr.: Growing up, Harold Baines. As I got a little older, Ken Griffey Jr.'s and Frank Thomas' rookie cards were big. Roberto Alomar, too.

Q: What was your favorite card?

Hairston: I remember Bo Jackson's rookie card -- 1985, 1986. It said, "Future stars." They also had a card from a poster with football shoulder pads and his bat, as a two-sport star.

Q: When you went to the ballpark with your father, did you get players you met to sign cards?

Hairston: I never got guys to sign them. That wasn't my thing. I knew growing up, just being around the ballpark was good enough for me, to mingle with them and learn about the game.

Q: Do you have your father's cards?

Hairston: Yes. Being a ballplayer, they always sent you cards anyway.

Q: Does your family have your grandfather's card?

Hairston: I have his card, but as a coach with the Sox organization. I would love to have his player card.

Q: Did you trade cards?

Hairston: We would trade with friends around the community. But the guys we wanted to keep were obviously Bo Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas and Barry Bonds. Those were the prized possessions.

Q: On which card did you first appear?

Hairston: We had cards when we were in college, but they weren't something to write home about. I remember the first pro card was a 1998 Baseball America top prospect, in Double-A. There's two, one with Mark DeRosa and Michael Cuddyer as future big leaguers. I'm friends with both of them.

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.


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