“I just thought it would be cool if professional athletes would sign Pokémon cards”, says Addison Russell, one of the best young talents in baseball.
Russell, an infielder for the Cubs, started collecting Pokémon cards during the offseason as a way of connecting with the younger members of his family. Then he had an idea.
“I’ve signed a lot of baseball cards of myself, and I just thought it would be cool if professional athletes would sign Pokémon cards”, he tells ESPN. “I started collecting them more, and now I’m asking guys to sign them.”
Rather than just picking cards at random, he tries to select a card based on the playing style or personality of the player he’s asking for an autograph. “If there are flame balls on them, I’ll get a closer like Kenley Jansen to sign,” he says. “I got him to sign when [the Dodgers] were at Wrigley Field. I think he signed my ‘Enflamed’ card.”
“They say it’s a little different, but what do you expect from the youngest guy on the Cubs?” Russell adds. “When I do play against them on the field, they’re like, ‘Really, Pokémon cards, man?’ And I just tell them I appreciate them signing it. Kind of sparks a conversation.”
And when he’s done? While he’s toying with the idea of giving his collection to his son and/or trading with folks, for now he’s still very intent on keeping the whole thing going.
“I’m going to keep doing it,” he says. “I have some badass Pokémon cards that I need signed.”