Baseball Card Chat with Michael Cuddyer
After spending 11 years with the Minnesota Twins, outfielder Michael Cuddyer departed for the National League’s Colorado Rockies in 2012 where he fits into a potent lineup with stars like Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.
Cuddyer loved collecting cards when he was a kid growing up in Virginia, and his collection is safe and sound in his father’s attic … For now.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Which cards did you collect?
Cuddyer: Mark McGwire was huge then — 1987-’89. Jose Canseco, too. Also, Barry Bonds starting with the Pirates. Then Ken Griffey Jr. came along in the early 1990s. I’ve got two unopened Upper Deck sets. Why? My dad said they’d be more valuable down the road if we left them in the cellophane. Somebody at a hobby shop advised him. I was a big Yankees fan. I just bought packs. I didn’t go to the hobby shops. I had them in team order in notebooks.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What do you plan to do with this collection?
Cuddyer: They’re in the attic of my dad’s house. I keep telling him I’m going to come over and put them in the attic of my house. You remember all those stories that someone would have 75 Mickey Mantle rookies and put them in his bike spokes, and his mom threw them away. Well, maybe they’ll throw away the Barry Bonds cards away, and I’ll have them … Or the Griffey ones.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did you first appear on a card?
Cuddyer: I did have a T-ball card when I was 6 years old. Funny thing was, it was the first time I could ever play organized baseball. Two days before my first game, I broke my thumb. In the card, I have a cast holding the bat. I was playing kickball. A guy kicked the ball and I went to catch it, but the ball snapped my thumb. If my teammates saw the card, they would ask “How do you break your thumb when you’re 6 years old?”
MLBPLAYERS.com: What was your first pro card?
Cuddyer: It was in the Instructional League (Ft. Myers, Florida). It was the 1997 or 1998 Topps Stadium Club card. It was an action shot. I was batting, but there was nobody in the stands in Instructional League. Yet they superimposed full bleachers, so it made me look like I was playing in front of a couple of thousand people. That was cool. I also had a card where I was playing in the (Midwest League) All-Star Game in Clinton, Iowa. It made me look like I was 8 years old.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What’s your favorite big league card?
Cuddyer: It was a game in Oakland, and I think it was a Topps card. The only reason I know when it was is I don’t wear a shin guard very often. I had a shin guard on this day, and I actually went 4-for-4 with a home run and three doubles. I’ll always remember what I did that day and that card.
Interview courtesy of George Castle, Red Line Editorial, Inc.