Butler collected hometown hero Jones
Jacksonville native appeared on first card at age 12
Billy Butler has enjoyed a hot second half for the Kansas City Royals that provided more grist for the back of his newest baseball cards.
The 23-year-old first baseman is one of the American League's up-and-coming hitters. The Royals' first-round pick in the 2004 Draft, Butler broke in with a .292 season and 52 RBIs in 2007. He has continued his upswing as the 2009 season comes to an end.
Butler had some guideposts for the cards he collected as he rooted for the Atlanta Braves while growing up in Jacksonville, Fla. Butler recalled those days here.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Whom did you collect when you were growing up?
Butler: I'd go to the store and collect the packs. I collected all of them, but the best ones I had were a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card and a Chipper Jones rookie card. My favorite player was Chipper Jones. I grew up in the same county as him, and he went to high school in Jacksonville. I haven't met him yet. It's a good one.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you collect other Braves players?
Butler: I was a huge Braves fan growing up, so I had a lot of their pitchers -- Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, all of those. I had all those hitters -- Ron Gant, David Justice. I watched them every year. I had some good cards.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did you first appear on a card?
Butler: I was 12, and I played in a Tournament of Stars at Cooperstown, N.Y. They came out with baseball cards for Little Leaguers there. My first pro card was a Topps rookie card in 2004. I was in the first-round group. I had a regular Royals uniform. I also had a card for the Idaho Falls Chuckers, my Rookie Level team.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What's your favorite Major League card?
Butler: I haven't seen them all. I'd want a nice hitting card.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.