Babe Ruth? Mickey Mantle? Jackie Robinson?
If you are in a trivia competition and the answer is: “This person holds the Topps record for most copies of a single rookie baseball card sold,” the answer does not require any knowledge of Major League Baseball or its history. According to Topps, the answer is: Dr. Anthony Fauci, with more than 51,512 cards sold in a 24-hour period.
The head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was chosen for the limited-edition print run because he threw out the ceremonial pitch to launch the 2020 season last week – if you can consider what he did a pitch.
By all accounts, Fauci's effort to start the July 23 game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals was pathetic. He looked the part, garbed in a cap, jersey and mask of the Nationals – his favorite team. But his pitch “went in the wrong direction,” he later told the Washington Post, bouncing well in front of the plate on the first base side. Not even Nationals' pitcher Sean Doolittle, a two-time All-Star selected as Fauci's catcher for this event, could save it.
Mike Nutter, president of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, said he enjoyed watching Fauci's effort, but “I don't think that is the way TinCaps Pitching Coach Burt Hooton taught our guys to throw!”
The TinCaps' entire 2020 season was a casualty of COVID-19, but Nutter is already looking forward to next year. “We would love to extend an invitation to (Dr. Fauci) to try another first pitch at Parkview Field in 2021 if he would like another shot at it,” Nutter said by email Thursday.