Apparently, living out one childhood dream was not enough for Russell Wilson. On the precipice of leading his Seattle Seahawks into MetLife Stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII, Wilson is now headed toward immortality in baseball as well: He's set to have his own Topps baseball card.
Of course, there is nothing malfeasant going on here. Wilson, a twice-drafted baseball player who was a two-sport star while at North Carolina State, was recently selected by the Texas Rangers in Major League Baseball's Rule 5 draft.
In an effort to highlight that selection—and capitalize on a pretty easy marketing opportunity—the folks at Topps have decided to add Wilson to their Bowman series, which typically highlights the best prospects in the sport.
In an interview with ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett, Topps vice president of product development Clay Luraschi noted the public fascination with two-sport athletes when explaining the decision:
Sports fans have always been fascinated by the two-sport star. When you talk to fans about amazing athletes, you always hear the name Bo Jackson come up. And whenever you have an athlete that could potentially be a two-sport star, there's always a lot of buzz about him.
The series will be available beginning on April 30. In an interesting but not coincidental move, Topps is only producing a certain amount of Wilson cards, dubbing it as a "limited edition" card. Luraschi did not reveal how many cards would be available, though it stands to reason Topps will keep the numbers low to keep demand high.
With all involved believing that Wilson ever playing in Texas is a long shot, it may be the only time fans get to see the Seahawks quarterback in a Rangers uniform.
"Will he ever play for the Rangers? We don't know," Luraschi said. "But we thought we'd make a card to let people know what it would look like if he did."
Fox Sports' NFL Twitter feed had a preview of what the card will look like:
Wilson, 25, never quite reached the heights on the diamond that he has on the gridiron, but he was far from a schlub.
Initially drafted out of high school in the 41st round by the Baltimore Orioles in 2007, Wilson made his professional debut three years later with the Colorado Rockies organization. The Rockies took him in the fourth round in after Baltimore's draft rights had ceased.
Playing as a second baseman in the Colorado system, Wilson hit .229/.354/.356 with five home runs and 19 stolen bases in 93 games of Single-A ball spread over 2010 and 2011. After being drafted by Seattle, he informed the Rockies he would be dropping baseball to focus his football career.
It's been a pretty good choice.
Wilson beat out Matt Flynn in training camp as a rookie last season and hasn't relinquished his starting job since, leading Seattle to a 24-8 regular-season record. The diminutive quarterback has been named a Pro Bowler in each of his first two years, boasting a 52-19 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 100.6 career quarterback rating.
The Rangers drafted Wilson nonetheless in December's Rule 5 draft, which is specifically for young players left unprotected by their current clubs. Texas general manager Jon Daniels admitted that having Wilson play for the team was a long shot, but hoped he could be around and instill his work ethic into young players.
"We talk to our scouts about the makeup we want of our players and the work ethic it takes to win, and Russell Wilson has been an example of that," Daniels told Durrett. "He has off-the-charts character and focus."
Maybe that happens. Maybe that doesn't. Either way, let's hope that the $12,000 Rule 5 fee Texas paid will at least convince Topps to let the club have a baseball card for the memories.
Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter @tylerconway22.
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