Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Justin Hedrick on baseball cards

Justin Hedrick pitched six years of professional baseball, mostly in the Giants organization. In 221 games he went 17-21 with 29 saves and a 2.70 ERA. Now an insurance agent at Allstate in New London, CT, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I believe I started collecting baseball cards the day I could reach them in the checkout aisle of the grocery store.  The good old days when they used to keep them right next to the register with the candy bars and bubblegum.  It continued through my teen years when I would walk almost a mile to the mall to hang out at the Sports Card store.  They used to have those rolling glass display cases where you could move the display up and down with the buttons on top.  I would have to say the first guy I would have traded anything for was Ken Griffey Jr.  Even at the beginning of his career you knew he was going to be something special.

In college I followed the collegiate career of Mark Prior and knew he was going to be a great player with that effortless delivery.  I started an eBay account and tried to acquire all of his rookie cards and any game used jersey card available.  I probably spent a good penny collecting his cards.  But I looked at it like the stock market and planned on him being the next Nolan Ryan.  Thought his cards might send my kids to college. Ha.
My first card was the day I was sent to Short Season A ball in Salem-Keizer Oregon.  They had me put a Giants jersey on and took some photos of me leaning on the dugout.  I then received a bunch of stickers they had me sign.  I had a simple quick signature, nothing fancy, but was able to get thought them pretty quickly without injury.  The card came out with the signatures on it but for some reason the Giants logo on the hat and jersey had been photoshopped off.   So it came out with just a black and orange jersey/hat.  Never truly understood why Upper Deck did that but always found it funny.  I believe my family bought every card ever produced.  A couple of years after my career was over and they realized the cards weren't going to make them Millionaires, they gave them all back to me."
Thanks! I don't have that card, but I do have the one below, one of many personally-autographed Salem-Keizer cards I got in a trade with Prowling Cat.

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