As with Andruw Jones, I saw Ryan Klesko play in AAA Richmond when I was younger, although I don't have a distinct memory of seeing him play like I do with seeing Andruw play. I guess I was too young at that point, I was 6 or 7. I was a fan of Klesko for a few reasons- obviously because we share a name, Ryan, he played for the Braves, he was a power hitter, and he is left-handed, which I am also.
Out of my baseball player collections, my Ryan Klesko collection is the biggest. Bigger than Cal, bigger than Chipper and Andruw put together, and much bigger than any of my recent collecting interests. The reasons for this? He was my earliest favorite player, and his cards are generally pretty cheap. One of these days I will get my collection entered on this site. Here are some of my favorites...
One of the handful of Klesko rookies I have. The back of the card gives some stats from his time in the South Atlantic League playing for the Greenville Braves. The Greenville Drive happen to be my hometown minor league team these days. It's a shame they are no longer the Braves, but I am enjoying following the Sox prospects come through town as well.
The second, from 1998 Topps Stars, is the only serial #'d card I have of Klesko. Neat set that blends the stadium and fans into the sky. I'm sure these cards are pretty common, but anything with a serial # on the back got me excited when I picked this one up.
I enjoy any references on cards to the Braves 1995 World Series victory. And reading the back of this 2002 Upper Deck card was a nice reminder that Klesko hit 3 home runs during the series.
This 1995 Upper Deck card on the left is a great shot of Klesko making contact on the ball. You see a lot of cards with players swinging, but you don't often see the bat on the ball.
I do have more Klesko cards in a Padres uniform than in a Braves uniform, and Klesko's only All-Star appearance was with the Padres, so it makes sense that I show a few of those as well.
New goal for September- get my Klesko collection out of stacks and into a binder, and document it along the way!