Baseball fans looking to collect the rookie cards of Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani won’t have to wait long. The Topps Company, the exclusive trading card partner of Major League Baseball, has announced it has signed Ohtani to a trading card and long-term autograph deal for the upcoming MLB season.
His first pack-pulled trading card will appear in late spring, just in time for Ohtani to join the Los Angeles Angels in Spring Training. His cards will be featured in Topps® products throughout the year, including cards that will be autographed by the 23-year-old star.
“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 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 quite the hitter, which made him a hot commodity this offseason. Over the last two seasons in the JPPL, Ohtani hit .322 with 30 home runs and 98 RBI in 169 games.
Ohtani will have some of the most highly coveted baseball cards and collectibles on the market in 2018.
“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.