Topps Makes Presidential Splash With Jeter Card

ByABC News
February 27, 2007, 10:11 AM

Feb. 27, 2007— -- No. 40 in the newly released Topps 2007 baseball card set is making a presidential splash.

The card features New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, but a waving President Bush -- a well-known baseball man -- can be spotted in a Yankee Stadium box seat as Jeter takes a cut.

And there, in the Yankee dugout, is late slugger Mickey Mantle, licking his chops for one more at bat.

The digitally superimposed commander in chief and legendary Bronx bomber are two high-profile touches that Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi admits were done on purpose and in jest.

And, Luraschi told ABC News, collectors should study some of the set's other cards with a sharp eye.

"I'm just encouraging people to to look closely," Luraschi said.

Is Vice President Dick Cheney hidden behind Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez? Maybe Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appears on Red Sox batsman Manny Ramirez' card?

"I want you to find them," Luraschi challenged, noting that the instant buzz generated by the Jeter card, if not intended, is certainly welcome.

"It's not a bad thing at all," he said. "It's going to bring baseball cards to the attention of people who might not collect."

A White House spokesman was unavailable for a comment on the Jeter card.

The New York Yankees had no comment, while the shortstop yesterday told the New York Daily News he hadn't seen it yet.

Reports from the Red Sox spring training clubhouse, recounted by Luraschi, were that the Yankees' rivals were fighting like children over the Jeter card yesterday when they noticed the presidential and Hall of Famer cameos.

The spoof card was thought up in the Topps creative department and during the final proofing of the set, the first half of which was released to stores late last week, company managers decided to go ahead with the design.

"No one's losing a job," Luraschi said. "We encourage our creative department to be as creative as possible. They had a sense of humor to do something like this. We thought it was funny. "

While acknowledging that some may try to read into the card, he chalked up the digital image simply to a random sense of humor.