Anola, Manitoba, Canada native Corey Koskie was the first player born and raised in that province to play Major League Baseball.
The multi-sport star grew up primarily playing hockey and volleyball. He played junior hockey and was recruited to play volleyball for the University of Manitoba.
Koskie left the Manitoba Bisons as a sophomore in college to play baseball at Des Moines Area Community College in Boone, Iowa.
The big, strong third basemanwas drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 26th round of the 1994 MLB draft. He made this debut in the big leagues four years later in September of 1998.
Koskie, through his performance early on, positioned himself as the Twins third baseman of the future. His career year was 2001, receiving American League MVP votes that season when he became the first third baseman in AL history to record at least 100 runs, 25 home runs, 100 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in a single season.
After nearly a decade with the Twins, Koskie spent a season in Toronto with the Blue Jays and one in Milwaukee with the Brewers before he retired after the 2006 MLB season.
He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.
I caught up to him to chat about seeing himself on a baseball card for the first time (maybe wishing it was a hockey card), his strong hockey card collection including multiple Wayne Gretzky rookies and who he would most like to swap jerseys with.
Tony Reid–Your very first baseball card came out in 1995 when you were playing for the Fort Wayne Wizards. What were your thoughts when you saw yourself on a card for the first time?
Corey Koskie-I thought it was pretty cool but it was a little bit disappointing because it wasn’t in a hockey uniform. I grew up trading hockey cards. I have a pretty significant hockey card selection. When I first saw my baseball card it was a little different because I didn’t have my hockey jersey on and I wasn’t playing goalie.
TR–Your actual rookie cards were in 1998 in every major product, from Bowman to Bowman Chrome, SPx and everything in between. Do you remember seeing your official RCs for the first time?
CK-That was pretty cool. It’s weird because it’s a small picture of you. I like reading the backs of the cards. That is what I find interesting, the little snippets on the backs of cards. I find that more interesting than the pictures on the front because you get to see some of the things you didn’t know about the player.
TR–You played volleyball, hockey at a very high level and of course, baseball. When were you first asked for your autograph?
CK-I don’t remember the first time I was asked but I do remember the first time I had multiple people ask me for an autograph at the same time. That was my first big league spring training. As you are going between fields there are a number of people asking for autographs. I don’t remember the very first time I was asked to sign but I do remember going to that first spring training and coming out and walking to our first field for our morning prep and there were people lined up asking for autographs. That was one thing that the Twins did that was somewhat unique, very interactive and fan friendly because literally you walk from field to field and the fans can interact and ask you to sign as you walked.
TR–What are some of your fondest fan interactions?
CK-The interesting stuff for me now is when I see a fan now who I signed for when they were a kid. Then 15 to 20 years later, ‘hey I remember you.’ They look pretty much the same buts its 20 years later. Or they will tell me a story from say, Chicago, and I remember the interaction and what they are talking about. Now the kid is 25 years old. There are a ton of these little interactions. It’s amazing what you remember 20 years later.
TR–You mentioned being a sports card collector. What does the collection look like today?
CK-It’s hockey. I have a couple Wayne Gretzky rookie cards. I have Mark Messier, too. I really like goalie cards because I was a goalie. I thought it was really cool to see a goalie’s card making a big glove save or something like that. I would litter in a few baseball cards. I don’t even know what baseball cards I have. I have a few Blue Jays cards. I have a few John Olerud. A few Joe Carter cards. I have Tony Fernandez. I think I have a Lloyd Moseby, too.
TR-With your long career in the bigs, do you have a room where you have any memorabilia or items from your career displayed?
CK-We have a sports court area in our house. It’s down below our garage. As you walk down to our sport court there are items hanging on the walls on both sides of the stairs. I have a couple of things in my office. I think it was Topps that put my card in a can and I have one of those. I have a few bobbleheads. McDonald’s did a bobblehead for a promotion. The Twins also did a bobble head, too, that I have in the office. The Twins made a normal bobblehead and then one with me swinging a piece of lumber, like a log. It was based off a promotional commercial they did. It was a really funny commercial.
TR–The jersey swap is a newer trend in sports. If you could go back in time and stop any player and ask for a jersey, who would it be?
CK– The concept of a jersey swap is that they actually have to take my jersey. I don’t know that the guys I would ask would want my jersey. Obviously, guys like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Derek Jeter would be at the top of the list. I really enjoyed watching Derek Jeter play and how he carried himself. Mark McGwire was a really special player when we played. Then Barry Bonds but he isn’t exchanging jerseys with anybody!