02/08/2007 12:33 PM ET
J-Roll liked to collect Big Mo
By George Castle / Special to MLBPLAYERS.com
Maybe one day Topps or Upper Deck will make a baseball card commemorating Jimmy Rollins' 38-game hitting streak that ended early last season.
Jimmy Rollins is adept at turning the double play, and he'd be sure to step aside before childhood hero Mo Vaughn came barreling in. (AP)
Until then, Rollins will have to be satisfied with the memories of cards of his favorite speedster, Rickey Henderson, and a futures guy that he banked on with his rookie card -- Mo Vaughn.
Rollins, the Phillies' star shortstop, remembers those days of searching for likenesses of Henderson and Vaughn.
MLBPLAYERS.COM: When did you start collecting cards?
Rollins: Around 7 years old. I remember going down about a quarter-mile walk to the 7-Eleven with my mom and dad to get some Slurpees. That's when we bought the baseball cards right up by the checkout counter. The incentive was the bubble gum. The cards were cool, but you wanted the bubble gum.
The bubble gum was horrible. But there was nothing like opening up a pack of cards knowing you had the bubble gum. The cards were a bonus. When I got my first Rickey Henderson card, it made sense for me.
MLBPLAYERS.COM: Did you realize the value of the cards?
Rollins: I didn't realize the value of it until later when my older cousin, Jajuan Jackson, told me how valuable they were. He was telling me this one is worth a quarter, this one is worth $5. I looked at my set, and mine are worth 12 cents. These were guys I liked.
The first guy I really purchased was Mo Vaughn. He came up in 1991-92. I was in Utah, and I heard about this big, slugging guy who was going to be a superstar. I went to the card shop and they only had one Mo Vaughn card there. That was my most joyous day.
My favorite player was Rickey Henderson. But, here, I was looking for a card, and they only had one left. I bought the [Vaughn] card for like $1.25. I gave it to my cousin. That was the first card I went out to collect. I thought I had the drop on a big secret. Everyone's sleeping on Mo Vaughn. I'll hold on to it and hold on to it.
MLBPLAYERS.COM: How many Henderson cards did you get?
Rollins: Rickey Henderson was my favorite player no matter where he went. But I only liked (as a card) Rickey in the green, gold and white (of the Athletics). He's from Oakland; my dad went to a rival high school. Anything outside the A's uniform, he was like being borrowed.
My favorite Rickey Henderson card was when he was in motion. The photographer took the action (sequence) and showed him coming up from the standstill, the first move, the second move and the third move, like him trailing himself. Another card had him taking off and in a hologram, also had him sliding into second. I have one right now at my mom's and dad's house. Every time I go home I check to see if it's still there. Top dresser on the right side.
No one's going to touch Rickey's (stolen-base) record. Pitchers are too clever these days. They're not going to let it happen.
MLBPLAYERS.COM: On which card did you first appear?
Rollins: It's a regular first sports card in 1987 for my first (Little League) team. It was A & T Travel, a travel agency. I was 8. You got to put your height, weight, age, hometown and favorite player on the back. I was three inches shorter (than the height I put).
MLBPLAYERS.COM: What was your first pro card?
Rollins: It was 1996, a Bowman Classic, I was down in fall ball (after rookie-level Martinsville).
-- Red Line Editorial