Ryan Dempster is many things to many people. He's an amateur standup comic, he plays sophisticated pranks on his Chicago Cubs teammates, he contributes to the community and he even finds time to save games. As a teenager in Gibsons, British Columbia, he worked in a sports card shop, spending all his earnings on cards. He recently discussed his hobby during a question-and-answer session for MLB.com/cards.

Question: Did you work in the card shop?

Ryan Dempster: Yes. A little, tiny one in Gibsons. I was in high school, ninth or 10th grade. I could never save any money. All the money I made working I'd spend on cards.

Q: Can you literally dig up some of those cards?

Dempster: I have baseball cards buried in a time capsule in my buddy's backyard that we said we'd dig up one day. The capsule is a plastic-type drum with a lid on it. We have a Michael Jordan rookie card in there. It's probably 15 or 20 feet down. We put it in there maybe in 1992. We said we'd try to wait 20 years before digging it up.

Q: When did you start collecting?

Dempster: I started collecting when I was around 4 or 5 years old. I have many, many cards tucked away somewhere in my parents' attic. I hope they don't sell the house and forget about them. My dad was a big collector. Hopefully I can pass them down to my (newborn) son Brady.

Q: Who were your favorites?

Dempster: I wanted any Nolan Ryan card I could get. I was a big fan. I wanted Mark McGwire cards as I got older. George Brett, any cards I could get my hands on. For me, at 8 years old, watching the 1985 World Series, Royals and Cardinals. For whatever reason, that World Series stuck out in my mind. I remember every player. I remember collecting Steve Balboni cards, Darryl Motley cards. Vince Coleman. My all-time favorite is not a baseball card. It's a hockey card -- Wayne Gretzky's rookie card. It's in mint condition in a case. Probably my favorite baseball card is a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card, probably because at the time, they were Upper Deck and hard to come by.

Q: On which card did you first appear?

Dempster: A 1996 Bowman, my rookie card, when I was with Texas. One of the last cards where I didn't have a goatee. Very serious pose.

George Castle is a writer for Red Line Editorial, Inc.