Mariners outfielder and reigning Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez is teaming up with Topps for the first-ever integrated campaign for 2023 Topps Baseball Series 1.
Topps is set to kick off 2023 with a bang by launching its flagship baseball set, Series 1, featuring their cover athlete, Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners. J-Rod made a huge splash in the MLB in 2022, becoming an All-Star and winning AL Rookie of the Year. This marks the first time Topps has ever had an integrated campaign with their cover athlete.
The campaign, titled The J-Rod Show, showcases the Mariners outfielder’s charisma and reflects his joy of collecting baseball cards. Rolling out across all social media, retail, digital and OOH channels, the campaign will begin later in February and run through Opening Day.
Boardroom had a chance to catch up with the Julio Rodriguez to talk baseball, Topps, and collecting.
Brett Pickert: Do you collect baseball cards yourself?
Julio Rodriguez: I am from a small town (Loma de Cabrera) in the DR so we did not have much, but growing up I remember I had one card from Pedro Martinez that I loved. I don’t even remember how I got the card, but it was one of my prized possessions. Since I became a pro player, I’ve picked up a few of my own cards but I want to get a few more of the legends like my old Pedro card.
BP: Who are your favorite players to collect? Any specific cards, such as autographs or rare parallels, you like to collect?
JR: I definitely stay with the legends of the game especially from the Dominican Republic. Those are the guys that I looked up to, so I try to get those cards to remind me of my childhood but also give me inspiration.
BP: What does it mean for you to partner with Topps on its first ever integrated campaign?
JR: It means a lot honestly. When you see other guys like Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, and Bryce Harper, it really is an honor to be in that group. And the campaign has been great. It is one of the first largest campaigns of my career so it is an honor that Topps believed in me to be part of this.
BP: The first episode has you cooking as ‘Chef J-Rod.’ Do you enjoy cooking outside of baseball?
JR: I love Dominican food, but I leave most of the cooking up to my mom and my family. That is something I am trying to learn so I can have my favorite foods in Seattle when they are not home.
BP: Which episode is your favorite from the Topps campaign?
JR: Definitely the cooking [laughs]. I was loving the chef’s hat and even though that was the longest episode to film, we were having fun the whole time with that one.
BP: What are other hobbies you have outside of baseball?
JR: Baseball is the thing that has provided so much for me and my family that it consumes so much of my time. Outside of baseball I really enjoy anime, I find inspiration from Naruto and those characters. I am a very laid-back guy so most of my time is just spent relaxing with my people.
2023 Topps Baseball Series 1 is available now. Collectors can expect to find MLB’s current stars, all-time greats, an exciting rookie class, and new card variations. New to this year’s product are the Golden Mirror Image Variations. Each of the 330 base cards will have a limited short-print with an all-new image and golden card back. Some of the rookies to chase are Adley Rutschman (Orioles), Riley Greene (Tigers), Gunnar Henderson (Orioles), Michael Harris II (Braves), Gabriel Moreno (Blue Jays), Triston Casas (Red Sox), Brett Baty (Mets), Nolan Gorman (Cardinals), Oscar Gonzalez (Guardians), and Vaugh Grissom (Braves).
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