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Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Card trick: Bush, Mantle cheer Jeter in gag image news services

NEW YORK -- As President Bush smiled and waved from the stands and Mickey Mantle looked on from the dugout, Derek Jeter swung his bat. Talk about pressure.

Jeter baseball card
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The game never happened, of course. It was just someone's idea of a visual gag -- pulled off in a recent Topps baseball card through digital manipulation.

"We saw it in the final proof and we could have axed it," Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "But we decided to let it run, we wanted to print it. We thought it was hilarious."

The card will be changed when Topps issues a complete set at midseason, Luraschi said.

Jeter said he had not seen the card.

"I don't know anything about it," the All-Star shortstop said after New York's workout Tuesday in Tampa, Fla. "I can't tell you anything."

Luraschi did not identify the person at Topps who made the alteration on Jeter's card, No. 40 in the set. Luraschi said that fixing it before it was released would have caused shipping delays.

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It's not the first card to have silly errors or odd prints, said T.S. O'Connell, the editor of Sports Collector's Digest.

"For collectors, there's a real giggle factor for something like this," he told the Daily News.

The Daily News put the story on its front page Tuesday and Newsday also reported it.

The Jeter card could join other famed oddball cards, like the 1969 Topps of Aurelio Rodriguez. That card featured a photo of a bat boy instead of the infielder.

A search on eBay done by at 3:57 p.m. ET found hundreds of the cards up for bid on the auction site, with a "lot" of 10 cards going for as much as $405.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.