Rangers Rookie Talks Collecting
Meet Josh Jung, a San Antonio native whose trajectory in the world of baseball is as great as his affection for trading card collecting. From going undrafted out of high school to securing Big 12 honors at Texas Tech, becoming a first-round pick of the home state Rangers, and etching his name in the team’s history—Jung’s narrative is one of passion and achievement. He hit a home run in his debut MLB at-bat and set a record as the first Rangers rookie to start an All-Star Game. Beyond the diamond, Jung nurtures a fondness for trading cards, a hobby that reveals a different facet of his personality. Check out our latest installment of Collector Stories with the All-Star third baseman.
How did you get into collecting?
Growing up, my dad was a huge collector. He collected Brooklyn Dodger stuff. He’s a big Dodgers fan, and seeing all his cards in the game room, all that kind of stuff, and all the memorabilia he had was pretty sweet. So, we started collecting cards. It was more of a reward for having a good week at school. We’d go to Toys “R” Us when that was still a thing, and there would be a box with a random assortment of packs and all kinds of stuff. It was like 20 bucks, and that’s what we’d get. We just collected cards to collect cards then. But I fell in love with A-Rod when I was a little bit older and started collecting A-Rod cards. So we’d go to the card shop down the road from the high school where my dad coached, and we’d get A-Rod cards every weekend. I remember for one of my birthdays, I think I was like five, he got me a big box of like 200 A-Rod cards. It was pretty cool. It was a lot of Mariners stuff.
What’s the top card in your collection?
I’d say the top cards in my collection, at least when it comes in, are going to be the six autos with Buster Posey, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Ronald Acuña, and Shohei Ohtani that I ripped out of Topps Sterling.
What was it like seeing yourself on a card for the first time?
That was like little-me’s dream – my little kid version of myself. Collecting cards was just so much fun as a kid; we had those thousand-count boxes filled. It was just so special because that was how my dad, brother, and I would all connect: Like, go get baseball cards and see who we get. I still buy boxes when they come to town, and we open stuff together. It just takes us back; it’s nostalgic. It’s pretty special.
Did you trade for cards? Did you chase your own cards?
I never really traded a whole bunch. When I was in college, my first cards came out. I was on eBay going HAM getting them. I thought it was all so cool. When I played for Team U.S.A., they had the U.S.A. cards come out. So I was getting a lot of those, too. And it felt like every time my parents came to town, I had new cards to show them. It was all a lot of fun.
If you could pass your collection down to one person, who would it be and why?
I don’t know who I would pass it down to. I think it would be a lot of fun to continue sharing it with my dad and brother. But family-wise, I hope my kids get into it. I will do everything within my power to get them into collecting cards. That will be something that we will all share.