Topps Baseball Says “April Fool's!”

michael eisnerCorrespondent IApril 1, 2008

TOPPS’ JAPANESE HIGH SCHOOL PITCHING PHENOM KAZUO UZUKI TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE...

APRIL FOOL'S!

New York, April 1 – Topps fans have been creating a buzz on the internet around Kazuo “The Uzi” Uzuki, the Japanese high-school pitching phenom depicted in 2008 Topps Baseball Series 1, which hit shelves on February 6.

Many thought this young man was too good to be true.

In fact, he is. The Topps Company today announced a little trick of its own—on April Fool's Day.

With the steady influx of Japanese players into American baseball, Topps created “The Uzi” rookie card as a fun way to generate excitement around the 2008 season.

In Japanese, the name Kazuo Uzuki means “the first son of April.” April Fool's!

“With the latest Japanese imports, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kosuke Fukudome, fans, scouts, and even card companies continue to search the globe for the next sensation,” said Clay Luraschi, Topps’ Baseball Brand Manager.

“While 'The Uzi' is indeed a fictional character, we look forward to the 2008 Major League Baseball season as the league continues to become more and more global.”

Some of the highlights on the back of Uzuki’s card had many collectors questioning its authenticity since the card was first distributed.

Since fans had no information on the apparent pitching phenom, hundreds of posts covered message boards, blogs, and websites, disputing the legitimacy of “The Uzi.”

Although listed at only 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, “The Uzi” was said to be known for his devastating 104 mile-per-hour fastball and was on his way to becoming the first Japan-based high-schooler to jump straight to professional baseball in America.

“The Uzi” rookie card is limited to one out of every 72 packs of cards.

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