Greg Kline’s story begins the same as many collectors. As a boy, he grabbed cards of his favorite players – and anyone else he could get. He built collections that included guys such as Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.
Then, life got in the way, well, more like girls. Cards became less of his focus until he had children of his own. During the 1980s and 1990s, he started collecting again, but now with his sons. They accumulated cards, building cards from what is commonly called as the “junk wax” era.
Now, imagine, having thousands, maybe even millions of cards piled up from this period. It’s easy to conceive since so many collected at the same time, but here is where Greg’s story takes a different path.
After Greg suffered from two heart attacks and other serious medical issues, he found himself sitting at home with a lot of times on his hands because he was unable to work. It was time to dig out that old collection.
“That’s when I decided to cut each player out and make collage art out of them,” Greg said. “I would take a full set and cut out every player, then start putting the puzzle together. My first piece I did was for my oldest son.”
Greg has created more than a dozen pieces of artwork from his cards (although nothing from before 1981) from small collages to life-size players. His most recent completed project was a full-size depiction of legendary baseball player Babe Ruth.
From afar, the likeness to Ruth is apparent with his broad shoulders, iconic swing and recognizable smile. But take a step closer and instead you see everything that has put the piece together with more than 2,000 micro Topps baseball cards from 1991-93 -- although not the Derek Jeter rookie-year card. He’s keeping that one for himself.
“Every day is different. Some better than others,” Greg said. “One day I can do a lot and the next, I just can’t seem to find one right card.”
Next up, Greg will work on another life-size player. Although he hasn’t decided which one just yet, it will be another legend of Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams or Lou Gehrig.
Here's a look at more of Greg's work: