One day, Scott Hairston could put together an impressive, one-of-a-kind baseball card collection entirely within his own family.
The Padres outfielder is the fifth member of his family over three generations to have played in the Majors -- a record surpassing the three-generation Boone family by one.
Grandfather Sam Hairston, a catcher, became the first African-American player for the White Sox in 1951 before embarking on a long coaching career in the Sox organization. Father Jerry Hairston Sr., an outfielder, had a longer career with the White Sox sandwiched around a stint with the Pirates. Uncle John Hairston, a catcher, had a cup of coffee with the Cubs. Older brother Jerry Hairston Jr. has logged service with the Orioles, Cubs, Rangers and Reds. And now Scott Hairston is with his second team after starting out with the Diamondbacks. Additionally, another uncle and three cousins played Minor League ball.
At one time, the Hairstons had all the family cards, but Scott recalls many were lost in a basement flood in the family's Naperville, Ill., home in 1996, when the area was slammed by 15 inches of rain. But over the years, he hopes to reassemble the cards. Hairston has fond memories of his own collecting days.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Whom did you collect when you were younger?
Hairston: When Ken Griffey Jr. got to the Majors, that was a very sought-after rookie card. I had a rookie card of his and so did my brother, Justin. We kept them in special cases.
For the most part, I kept a collection of the current White Sox players. My older brothers traded with their friends. It was a lot of fun growing up collecting.
My dad had a few of my uncle John's cards. We had a few of my grandfather's coaching cards. I remember going through drawers and seeing cards of my dad's. I also saw one of his Pirates cards. I remember those funny [pinstriped] hats they wore.
If I only would have known how things would have turned out [having five family members in the Majors]... At that time, I didn't think, 'Oh, I should have kept this.' I've been keeping cards as I've gotten older. I can ask my uncle if he has some cards to get some more.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did you first appear on a card?
Hairston: Both of my brothers had a card in Little League. I didn't. I was the last one! They had cards when they were 11 and 12 and were league all-stars. I was an all-star, too, but I don't know if they stopped making cards.
My first legitimate card was with the Missoula (Mont.) Osprey in Class A.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What is your favorite big league card?
Hairston: There's a rookie card when we were playing in Colorado. There's a good shot of my swing. That's the one in 2004, when we were in gray uniforms. It was a good shot, just after contact.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.