Topps cards absolutely hit a metaphorical grand slam by including Ted Kremer in its 2013 update set, which was released earlier this week. Kremer, a 30-year-old man from the Cincinnati area who has Down syndrome, inspired anybody who heard about his time as a batboy earlier this season for the Cincinnati Reds. Slugger Todd Frazier, one player in particular took a liking to Kremer, even hit a home run for him by request. Later in the summer, the Reds hired Kremer to work in the front office. Clearly, his so-called disability is a misnomer.
Kremer's card is a variant of another card in the set, so it won't be found frequently in packs, but it's out there for collectors — if they dig. It features Kremer and former manager Dusty Baker. Kremer told his parents that he was upset to learn the Reds had pushed out Baker, but at least their time together has been memorialized forever in cardboard.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports how the Reds' embrace of Kremer has come to this milestone moment:
Both of Ted's parents lauded the Reds organization for "embracing the idea" of a Ted card -- and allowing their son to be shown in a Reds uniform, something that is typically allowed only for players, manager and coaches -- when approached by Topps, who came up with the idea of a Ted card all on their own.
The Kremers knew the card was coming, but had no idea the card was already out when the Enquirer first called them late last week.
Of course, like any fresh novelty card, it's a seller's market out there:
On Friday afternoon, a Kremer card sold on eBay for $149.99. Another sold Friday evening for $82. Monday afternoon there was only one on eBay, it had an asking price of $159.99 or best offer.
So far, the Kremers don't have an actual card; Topps did email them a front.
"We still don't know what's on the back of the card," said an amused Cheryl Kremer, Ted's mother, implying that nobody had yet told the Kremers what information might be contained there; with players, the back of the card is typically their year-by-year statistics in the major categories. This one, as shown on an eBay auction, has a paragraph telling Kremer's story.
It might seem like charity to give a person with Down syndrome a chance at being a bat boy for a day. Same with hiring him for the front office. And then to make a baseball card of him. And yet, all of it is deserved. Through his personality, his will and his utility, Kremer made himself a real member of the Reds. He's on the team. He's just as worthy as anyone else. Good for Topps, making a Ted Kremer card.
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