Andy LaRoche is not only a second-generation Major Leaguer, but his father, Dave, who was a left-handed reliever with five different clubs, also had time to invest in a baseball card shop in Texas. Though the shop, Andy became well-versed in the nuances of cards and developed into the baseball card collector in the family, which also included his brother, first baseman Adam.
Andy recalls his own collecting days and his father's card store.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Whom did you collect when you were younger?
LaRoche: I collected my father's cards, but the year I was born was the year he retired. So I didn't collect his teammates but my own favorite players. I got pretty much every card you could think of from '89 on. Frank Thomas was one of my favorites -- Robin Ventura, Carlton Fisk. And one of my other favorites was Craig Biggio -- I loved the way he played. And a lot of Ken Griffey Jr. cards.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How did your dad get you involved in collecting?
LaRoche: My dad bought into a card shop in Tomball, Texas, while he was a [White Sox] coach. A friend of his owned the shop and needed a partner, so my dad bought into half of it. He's still got all the cards. It worked out well for me because all I'd want for my birthday and Christmas were baseball cards, so he got them for me.
I hung around the shop all the time. I'd save up my allowances to buy packs. The main owner would always work there. For the most part my dad would be there occasionally, just hang out. We went to all the card shows around there. He still has a lot of Mickey Mantles, Harmon Killebrews.
MLBPLAYERS.com: With such access to cards, did you trade with your friends?
LaRoche: My brother never really got into collecting cards, but I traded with my friends. We'd bring all our big card books to school and trade cards.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did you first appear on a card?
LaRoche: My first Minor League teams at [Class A] Columbus and Vero Beach.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What is your favorite Major League card?
LaRoche: There's one with me and Delwyn Young on it. We've lived together ever since we came up with the Dodgers. That's pretty cool. They just came out with one this year with Russ Martin, one of my buddies with the Dodgers. We're talking with each other. Hopefully they'll come up with one of me and Adam.
I heard there's a mistake card with another player and Adam's name on it, but I haven't been able to get my hands on it yet.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.