Upton kept his collection trade-free
D-backs phenom kept cards separate from brother B.J.
Will the Justin Upton rookie card of 2007 be just as valuable as Ken Griffey Jr.'s first-year card?
Only time will tell whether the image of Upton, just 19 when the Diamondbacks brought him up, will be coveted in future years. No matter -- Upton is a player on the rise, and any card of his will be a keepsake.
Upton himself collected when he was younger -- hey, just a few years ago. He and his older brother, B.J., -- a member of the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays -- both collected, but they kept their cards separate.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Whom did you collect?
Upton: I wasn't real big into whose card, but it was what kind of card I went after, like rookie cards. I liked having everybody's card.
I had Rickey Henderson's cards. I also had Rickey's posters. I also had Dwight Gooden's cards. Of course, Ken Griffey Jr. -- I used to love watching home runs. I'd read those stats on the back of cards. I'd also come across cards my dad would talk about. I had Jack McDowell when he was younger.
I had all kinds of cards. I had a sheet of all the best players on one page, the lesser players on another page. I'd have guys by different teams. I still have these cards.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Based on your career now, which page would your card go on?
Upton: The second page. Maybe later on I'll move up.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you trade cards with your brother?
Upton: No, we kind of hoarded the cards. We kept all of our cards to ourselves. I didn't trade with my friends. They tried to gyp me and make bad trades. That kind of made me not a trader. I got some of the cool-looking cards. They'd want the cool-looking card for a couple of guys I didn't want.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did you first appear on a card?
Upton: I had a Little League card when I was 10 or 11 -- I was on a traveling team.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did you first appear on a pro card?
Upton: My first pro year -- South Bend Silver Hawks. It was a still pose. I have a big ol' stack of them back at my house.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What's your favorite big-league card?
Upton: There's one of me batting in Spring Training my first year. I'd like cards of me in mid-swing. As long as the ball's not underneath my bat while I'm swinging, I'm good.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.