George W. Bush teams up with Topps for 9/11-era baseball card
George W. Bush and baseball card giant Topps have teamed up to create limited-edition autographed cards of the former president tossing out the first pitch at a World Series game in 2001.
“Our 2011 Allen & Ginter product will continue Topps’ historic tradition of chronicling heroes both on and off the playing field,” Topps Vice President Mark Sapir said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to announce that this year’s set will include limited-edition autographs of our country’s 43rd president, George W. Bush.”
Although Topps has previously released cards honoring Barack Obama, Bush's would be the first baseball card that a former U.S. president has provided an official signature.
Some critics have already complained that the card is in bad taste because the image comes from Game 3 of the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium, an emotional moment just weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks.
In a post titled "9/11 Hero George W. Bush Shilling Autographed 9/11 Baseball Cards," Wonkette blogger Kirsten Boyd Johnson writes, "It is good to see that in these hard economic times, it is still possible to make a '9/11 memories' buck."
Bush's appearance at the game was to some a courageous act because many people feared further attacks.
"I think the president being here put his money where his mouth is," then-Yankee manager Joe Torre told reporters after the game. "He wanted us right from the get-go to do what we need to do, to live as normal a life as we can. And with everything ... that's been going on, he showed a lot of courage and a lot of class."
Then-New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani sat with Sen. John McCain in a box next to the dugout that night and later said Bush's attendance "shows we're not afraid, we're undeterred and that life is moving on the way it should."
About 1,200 police were at the game, and even Yankee owner George Steinbrenner had to go through a metal detector.
-- Tony Pierce
Top photo: Three examples of George W. Bush-autographed Topps cards. Credit: Topps
Second photo: George W. Bush at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 30, 2001. Credit: Associated Press