03/20/07 12:42 PM ET
Young is king among player collectors
Nationals first baseman challenging Candiotti's supremacy
By George Castle, Special to MLBPLAYERS.com / MLB.com
The outfielder-first baseman-designated hitter collects cards based on an industry rating system.
A "10" is defined as: "a PSA Gem mint card is a virtually perfect card. Attributes include four perfectly sharp corners, sharp focus and full original gloss ... free of staining of any kind, but an allowance may be made for a slight printing imperfection if it doesn't impair the overall appeal of the card."
For a "9," the requirements are: "a superb condition card that exhibits only one of the following minor flaws -- a very slight wax stain on reverse, a minor printing imperfection or slightly off-white borders."
Is Young looking for a needle in a haystack? Sometimes. To be sure, he specializes in hard-to-obtain cards in his exclusive collection:
MLBPLAYERS.com: How did you get involved in this high level of collecting?
Young: I've been collecting for a long time. After the 2000 season, I got into 'graded' cards. I always liked rookie cards. I have cards from the 1950s and 1960s. Al Kaline's rookie card, only one in existence, a PSA 10. Also Hoyt Wilhelm, Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew, Robert Clemente.
MLBPLAYERS.com: To what lengths do you go to obtain such cards?
Young: In the bracket I collect, there are very few people up in that bracket. To get a PSA or Global 10, that's almost impossible to get. For instance, I had a Reggie Jackson card. Maybe 3,000 cards have been submitted, but only one 10. First it was trading, then getting them through different dealers. I have a friend named Dave Bailey I call the 'architect' who goes out there and finds these cards.
The biggest collector of cards in baseball (other than himself) was Tom Candiotti (now a Diamondbacks announcer). He has a couple of cards that I want, but I need to talk to him privately.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How did these cards become rare in the first place?
Young: The condition they're in. If there's one 10, there's probably 20 9's and then there's about 200 8's. The cards that I have, like Roy Campanella, are 10s. All I collect are 10s.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What's your motivation in this exclusive collecting process?
Young: It's passion. There are very few cards that I don't have that I want in the collection: Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron, Willie Stargell. I haven't seen that one (Stargell) yet. Mickey Mantle is owned by Tom Candiotti. That one's going to be a tough one to get. That's probably going to be the last card to get because it's so valuable. That's the 1951 Bowman. I don't care about the 1952 Topps -- that's not a true rookie (Mantle) card.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What will you do with this collection years down the line?
Young: Maybe one day I'll display it. Eventually they'll go to my kids.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.