TOWER GROVE • When it scampered into Cardinals history during one of Skip Schumaker's at-bats in the National League division series, little did the Rally Squirrel know it was also making a major-league debut worthy of remembering.
He'll soon have the rookie card to prove it.
As part of the 2012 Topps Series 1 set that will soon reach stores, that little varmint will be available in wax packs everywhere. An email I received today from Topps included a picture of the squirrel's first card. For 2012, the letter said, Topps is "Going Golden," which will include special gold cards included randomly in packs. The squirrel card, includes Schumaker's name and his cleats and little else about the Cardinals' infielder. The squirrel is the star of this short-run card.
The squirrel card will be a limited variation, according to Topps. Schumaker will have a more traditional card in the set, one that goes so far as to include the Cardinals' "super utility" fielder's face.
This same set also includes the first look at Albert Pujols in an away Los Angeles Angels jersey -- before he's even put one on!
I've included pics of both cards with this blog entry.
The Pujols' card stirred up debate on the Bird Land@Facebook page.
The Pujols' card is, of course, a feat of photoshopping. It's clearly a pic of Pujols from a game between the Cardinals and Kansas City Royals in Kansas City. The odd Angels' patch you see on his shoulder is meant, I believe, to cover an All-Star Game patch from 2009. This card is a much better than Lance Berkman's first Cardinals' card from the 2011 set. In it, he's wearing No. 17 -- a retired number around these parts -- and still sporting the leg piping from the Houston Astros' uniform.
The Pujols' card and similarly digitally doctored Jose Reyes card will be featured in Series 1. By Series 2, Topps will have updated pics of the players in their new jerseys. That will include, for example, Carlos Beltran in a Cardinals jersey.
All this talk about baseball cards can mean only one thing.
Spring training is closer with every wax pack you open.