Friday, August 6, 2010

Interview with Jeff Bajenaru

Jeff Bajenaru pitched in the White Sox and Diamondbacks organizations from 2000 through 2006, making the major leagues for both teams, including four games for the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox. He is now the Male Leadership & Development Pastor at Second Mile Church in Tucson, Arizona. He kindly shared with me some great stories about baseball cards.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?

I don't have too many Major League cards but I had a 2005 Topps that I split with Luis Vizcaino. I remember being so excited for the card but then when I saw it for the first time I thought it looked pretty bootleg. We are both wearing turf shoes right outside the locker room in a mock pitching follow through and Luis has his eyes closed because the sun was in his eyes. It's pretty funny as I think about it but a little disappointing as well.

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?

My favorite card of myself would have to be my '04 Ultimate Upper Deck Platinum #1 of 10. There was a gold and silver version as well but my wife saw it on ebay for $50 during Spring Training of that same year, lost in the bidding to someone else, wrote the winner of the card an email explaining that it was her husband and that she would pay him for it...and the man actually sent us the card for FREE that he paid for in exchange for me writing his son a letter encouraging him in his school work! No joke! The guy was awesome. My family actually went up to visit him and his family and remain friends to this day because of a baseball card!
My favorite card as a kid would have to be my 1980 Rickey Henderson Topps rookie card.
I traded a kid down the street 5 Matchbox cars for the Rickey along w/a 1980 Topps Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Dave Winfield, Gary Carter, Reggie Jackson, and a few others. Good trade if I do say so myself...especially considering I was only 8 years old.
I also love my 1987 Topps McGwire rookie card that is signed. I know the card itself is worth about a dime but he was my favorite player as a kid and my Dad played racquetball with this lady that was the sister of Mike Gallego (played for the A's in '87). She took a handful of my A's cards that I had, gave them to her brother and he went around the locker room and had McGwire, Canseco, Carney Lansford, Dave Stewart, Bob Welch, etc. sign them and gave them back to me. Having played MLB for a very short time and thinking about that story's amazing I ever got my cards back let alone signed!
My favorite set ever was the blue '87 Fleer set just because they looked so different and the '86 Fleer set because I would buy a pack from the ice cream man for 50 cents every day.
- Do you collect baseball cards?
Currently, I do not collect cards any more.


1 comment:

  1. Bajenaru is a great storyteller! Very interesting. This might be one of your best yet.