ST. LOUIS – Skip Schumaker was fine with the Rally Squirrel stealing his thunder during the playoffs. Doing it on a baseball card is a different story.
The Cardinals utility man was less than pleased Monday when Topps announced that the famous squirrel that dashed in front of Schumaker while he batted during Game 4 of the Division Series in October would be featured on one of his trading cards.
“It’s pretty ridiculous,” Schumaker told FOXSportsMidwest.com. “I have a shoe on my baseball card. And a squirrel. It’s pretty ridiculous.”
As part of a “Going Golden” promotion in the new 2012 Topps Series 1 set, the Rally Squirrel will be featured on special gold cards that will be inserted randomly into packs.
The card says Schumaker’s name in the bottom left corner but shows only the bottom of his right leg and cleat. Prominently featured instead is the Rally Squirrel darting in front of home plate.
“It’s not disappointing, it’s just ridiculous,” Schumaker said. “I don’t know how else to explain it other than that. You expect to have some sort of action shot or something but it’s like a mascot card to me.
“I’m not frustrated, I just think people are going to look at it and laugh and that’s ridiculous. I don’t care about what I look like or anything but it’s literally just a squirrel that has nothing to do with me.”
Cardinals fans immediately fell in love with the Rally Squirrel and the team store at Busch Stadium began selling Rally Squirrel shirts, stuffed squirrels and other related items for the duration of their playoff run.
Rally towels handed to fans during playoff games in later rounds featured the Rally Squirrel and a playoff commercial produced by Major League Baseball even highlighted his dash across home plate.
“The Rally Squirrel was fun during the series and it worked, so people had fun with it,” Schumaker said. “I had fun with it and everybody thought it was a good thing for the fans. Torty was funny, but is Allen Craig going to have a tortoise on his card? I just think it’s pretty ridiculous.
“That’s really the question. Are they just going to have animals on cards now?”
Unknown is whether Topps plans to make a card for ‘Torty’, Craig’s pet tortoise who became an unofficial mascot for the Cardinals and their fans late in the season – before the Rally Squirrel arrived.
Schumaker, who recently signed a two-year contract to stay with the Cardinals, hit .283 in 117 games with the Cardinals at second base and the outfield in 2011.
A call to Topps for comment was not immediately returned. Schumaker will apparently have a traditional card also included in the set – which he plans to buy.
“I get them all the time and I save them for my kids so I guess it will be a good story,” Schumaker said. “There are worse things in the world, no doubt about it.”