Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Instituite of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had the honor of throwing out the first pitch before MLB's regular season opener between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals earlier in July. His first pitch may have been one to forget, but that hasn't stopped fans from wanting a baseball card featuring the medical expert.
Topps printed a card of Fauci's first pitch, and in its first 24 hours available it set an all-time print record. As of Tuesday, 51,512 cards of Dr. Fauci have been sold.
"We're excited by the popularity of Dr. Fauci's Topps NOW card," Topps communications manager Emily Kles told USA Today in an email. "Topps prides itself on capturing the unique moments of the MLB season, one baseball card at a time, and Dr. Fauci's inclusion in this year's Topps NOW cards is just one way in which we are highlighting the uniqueness of the 2020 season."
The previous Topps sales record was set by a card that featured Toronto Blue Jays first/third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The Guerrero Jr. card sold 19,396 editions and showcased Guerrero's first Major League Baseball hit, which came during the 2019 season.
The Fauci card shows him tossing the ceremonial first pitch in a vantage point from behind home plate... and does not depict just how far from the catcher the ball landed. And while he certainly has more important things to worry about than a perfect first pitch, Fauci did joke about how bad the wild pitch was.
"It went in the wrong direction," he said afterwards. "I joked around after and said I used to be a shortstop when I played ball as a young boy and I thought I was supposed to throw to first base."