Playing career: Bill Bray pitched for the Nationals and Reds from 2006 to 2012. In 258 games he went 13-12 with 3 saves and a 3.74 ERA. Now a pitching instructor at Colonial Baseball Instruction and Jamestown High School in Virginia, and a columnist for The Sporting News, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.
"If I remember correctly, every player when they sign gets a deal from Topps and a royalty check for $5. If they produce a card, you get another check sometime after that. I was so excited to have my first card. 2004 Topps.
About 10 years earlier, I had made a deal with a family member involving baseball cards. My hero is Sandy Koufax and my uncle had a nice 1964 Topps Koufax. I wanted it so bad and he made the deal that once I had a card of my own, he would trade me for the Koufax. I will never forget trading my card for his Koufax. My Uncle framed the card with one of my jerseys and it's hanging in his game room.
My favorite card of all time is the 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie. Just a beautiful card. One of my goals in life is to own a PSA 10 version of it.
I like it because of the cartoon on the back. The cartoon suggested that I was popular with the ladies in college, which is so far from the truth. That and the card is a throwback, which I love.
I’m still collecting. Mainly older cards now. I have been putting together sets from the early sixties and have almost complete sets from 1964 and 1965. I am picky about which cards I buy, so it is a slow process. I also have complete 1971, 79 and 83 sets."