It’s early in spring training, which means the atmosphere is pretty relaxed. One of the time-honored traditions in Florida and Arizona is the arrival of the Topps Man. Card company reps hit up each big league clubhouse, getting players’ names on legal documents, passing out dozens of free packs of the new products and answering player questions. It’s a big PR move for MLB’s partner and the players and managers don’t seem to mind.
“They gave you $500 or golf clubs. I took the $500,” Reds’ manager Dusty Baker told reporters. “Everybody collected bubblegum cards. I was on a rookie card with Don Baylor and Tom Paciorek (in 1972). It kind of means that you’ve arrived.”
Todd Frazier of the Reds tore into his first pack and found a card of…himself. What are the odds? He got a chuckle out of it. Zack Cozart says he was a big time collector as a kid and gets a kick out of the role reversal.
“It’s pretty cool to see cards now with my picture on them.” Cozart said. “When I was a kid I thought it was the coolest thing ever to be on a card and now that I am it never gets old.”
Here’s some video of the team talking about what it means to be on a card:
Topps’ visit often coincides with picture day, when photographer grab shots for MLB.com, various publications and occasionally, a baseball card. They also sign a lot of autographs this time of year; dozens of baseballs if the video below from Detroit Tigers’ camp is any indication.