As the retail store manager for Baseball Card Exchange in Schererville, IN, Peter Kiefor thumbs through thousands of baseball cards every week. These days, many of the ones his customers are looking for feature Cubs’ rookie Kris Bryant.
Last week, when Topps unveiled preview images for one of Bryant’s rookie cards, set to arrive in its 2015 Update set, Kiefor did a double take. The image showed Bryant signing autographs for a small group of fans. Standing front and center, almost as prominent as Bryant himself and wearing a blue Cubs jersey was…Peter Kiefor.
Seeing the card was quite a shock.
“I had absolutely no idea. It came completely out of left field. Topps may be hearing from my lawyers,” Kiefor joked.
The image Topps is apparently using for the set came from a photo taken just minutes before Bryant’s first major league game on April 17.
“I bought two tickets for the second row right next to the Cubs dugout on Monday of that week in the hopes that Friday would be Bryant’s debut,” Kiefor told Sports Collectors Daily. “Chances looked slim until around 9 p.m. on Thursday evening when I heard the good news that Bryant would debut. My friend and I got there early and he even made two handwritten signs asking Kris Bryant to sign autographs for us. Kind of embarrassing to admit as grown men, but it worked. I was able to get my ticket signed.”
While Bryant has had prospect cards for the last few years as he worked his way up the minor league ladder and will appear in Series 2, the Topps Update card will also carry the special red, white and blue “RC” logo. If Bryant performs at the level many expect, it’ll be a popular card and seeing his own face on it gives one of Bryant’s biggest fans his own little slice of cardboard immortality.
“Most of my friends and family have laughed at me since they know I’m a huge Bryant fan,” he stated. “They find it really interesting that I randomly made it onto a trading card and it just happens to be a Kris Bryant card.”
Anxiously awaiting the October day when he can pull one of the “Bryant/Kiefor rookie cards” out of a pack, Peter says he’s planning to acquire as many of the card as he can once they hit the market.
“I already told my fiancée that I’ll be tracking down all the printing plates and low serial numbered parallels so it might get expensive. Mostly because I’m on the card and not because of the other guy who will one day be Rookie of the Year, MVP, and World Series MVP,” explained the optimistic Cubs fan.
2015 Topps Update is set for release the week of October 21.