Vern Cowan is a loyal fan and a focused collector. Cowan wants to capture as many Giants as he can from days past to the present. He doesn't want to be a Giant killer; he's a Giant collector.

Like David seeking Goliath, Vern Cowan is determined and focused. So determined that he is willing to seek and find one card of every San Francisco Giants player to date. So focused that he even searches for his favorite player, who is also no longer a Giant, third baseman Matt Williams. Cowan will not be satisfied until he has every card of the Arizona star. Cowan shared his thoughts with us about collecting, the state of the game and how he gets his family involved.

What do you collect?

My first priority is Matt Williams. I have been a fan of Matt since he first came up in 1986. He just really impressed me from the start. Matt is sort of a throwback to the early days of baseball. Matt is a real gritty player who isn't very flashy but he quietly gets the job done. I really admire that about him. The Giants had trouble at third base for years, before Matt came along. It was devastating to me when they traded him to Arizona. There are only two other occasions that I can remember where I felt anywhere near as bad. The first is when Willie Mays was traded to the Mets and the other was when Bobby Richardson caught that screaming line drive off the bat of Willie McCovey to end the game.

What makes up the rest of your collection?

Well, after Matt, I collect all San Francisco Giants players. I grew up in Northern California and have followed the Giants all my life. My goal is to acquire every card of each player, from the basic sets, since the Giants have been is San Francisco. They moved there in 1958. I do collect cards from the subsets but I don't consider them necessary to my collection. There are so many subsets now that it's hard to keep up. As you might imagine, my database is out of control! (laughs)

Do you have any favorites?

I really like the Matt Williams 1987 Donruss Rookie. There are many cards I really enjoy. The thing with me is, when I see a card I really like, I might buy one or one hundred if it's priced right. Obviously, I have a ton of doubles. I must have about 3,000 or so. I also have a signed baseball of Williams, but I mainly focus on the cards.

What has been the driving force behind you collecting passion?

I have always been a huge baseball fan. I almost lost my passion for collecting when the strike hit in 1994, but the last few years have brought me back. Last year, my wife and I took a trip and visited all of the major league parks that were closing down. I got to see Detroit, Houston, Seattle and San Francisco. I am really looking forward to seeing some of the new parks, especially San Francisco of course. I also got a chance to see both Chicago stadiums, Texas, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh too. It is experiences like these that keep me close to the game and the hobby. I plan on collecting of a while. I'm not done yet.


Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.