He won’t take the field with his new team for a couple of months but Shohei Ohtani now has a baseball card that shows him wearing a Major League uniform…and it has produced record-setting sales.
Last week,Topps NOW created a card of the Japanese pitching and hitting prospect who signed with the Angels, using images from Wednesday’s news conference in Anaheim.
The card sold 17,323 copies in the 24-hour sales period, more than any NOW card since the program began at the beginning of the 2016 season. Aaron Judge held the old record of 16,138 cards sold after he set the rookie home run record.
A star in Japan who excelled as a right-handed pitcher and left-handed batter, the 23-year-old Ohtani will get the same chance with the Angels, assuming a spot in the starting rotation while getting regular at-bats. In 2016, Ohtani carved a 1.86 ERA and struck out 174 in just 140 innings while hitting .322/.416/.588 with 22 homers in 382 plate appearances, mostly as a designated hitter.
Even though the direct sales period has ended, the cards are available on eBay here. They were released for order Thursday afternoon, along with “Traded” cards of Marcell Ozuna (Cardinals), Stephen Piscotty (A’s) and Ian Kinsler (Angels). No autographed cards were available.
Ohtani will likely be one of the most sought after cards in 2018 products, although when he’ll be featured in other Topps products isn’t yet known. He is in the 2017 Bowman Chrome Mega Box and those cards have been very popular with buyers. He also has had cards produced during his career in Japan.