The year is 2004 and your company is looking for a spokesman for the upcoming baseball season. The opportunity to sign the player whom many consider to be The One that would shatter many cherished baseball records presents itself- do you bring him on board as a company spokesman? Absolutely.
There was a time when Alex Rodriguez was a hobby darling. This, of course, was early in his career- before the steroids and the scandals, and before his vanity became renowned. But if you go back to the summer of 1994, you will see there wasn’t a player more hyped (rightfully so) and in demand than A Rod. Remember the craze surrounding his 1994 SP rookie card? It far exceeded any of his other cards that summer. But one card manufacturer missed out on the golden boy- not only that summer, but for the next three card releases, as well.
Word is that when Alex was a member of team USA in 1992, he refused to sign a deal with Topps to be included in their 1992 Traded set. Whether it was his own doing, or under the advise of an agent (Scott Boras), who knows; whatever the case may be, Rodriguez would not appear on a Topps card until 1998. To right this wrong, the card manufacturer decided to do a special 4-card insert set featuring the superstar with designs from ‘the missing years.’
2005 Topps Spokesman Set
- ARI-1 / 1994 Topps
- ARI-2 / 1995 Topps
- ARI-3 / 1996 Topps
- ARI-4 / 1997 Topps
In signing his deal with Topps, Rodriguez became the first-ever spokesman for the New York City-based company. The deal also gave Topps the exclusive hobby rights for the use of A Rod’s image on packaging and advertising, as well as autographed cards and game-used memorabilia.
“We found someone in Alex who embodies the values we have at Topps, which are hard work, dedication and integrity – and that’s on and off the field,” said Peter Sawkins, Group Marketing Director for Topps.
The year 2004 seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?
Set Complete? No- missing cards 1 and 4