Shohei Ohtani autographed cards will be inside Topps products by late spring. The company announced Monday it had signed the two-way sensation from Japan to a trading card and long-term autograph deal.
Ohtani was a much sought after player from Japan. While he is known for his pitching – he had 624 strikeouts in 543 career innings in the Japan Pacific League – he is also a solid hitter, which made him a hot commodity this offseason. Over the last two seasons there, Ohtani hit .322 with 30 home runs and 98 RBI in 169 games.
“Getting a deal with Shohei Ohtani was a priority for us because we want the best for our Topps fans,” said David Leiner, Topps Global General Manager, Sports & Entertainment. “Ohtani is a dynamic two-way player who has gained a lot of attention because of his incredible talent. We are thrilled to offer his trading cards and autographed cards to baseball fans.”
Ohtani was featured on a Topps NOW card the day after signing with the Angels and it sold more than 17,000 copies, setting a record for the platform. Topps hasn’t indicated which product will be the first to include Ohtani signed cards, but 2018 Heritage, which arrives in early March, could be a good bet.
Ohtani cards should be a big attraction for Topps as it looks to showcase a new cast of rookies on the heels of a successful 2017 that featured popular newcomers like Aaron Judge, Clay Bellinger and Andrew Benintendi. Ohtani’s appeal in Asia certainly won’t hurt.
“He’s an incredible talent that transcends baseball and we’re exciting for him to join a long list of great baseball players who have Topps rookie cards,” Leiner added.