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Upper Deck Strips Hillary From the Presidential Deck

The Upper Deck Co. released a parody baseball card of Hillary Clinton in mid-February that takes a page out of her husband’s playbook.

The Hillary Clinton cards , a characterization that matched her with stripper Morganna the Kissing Bandit, notorious for dashing onto baseball fields and planting kisses on unsuspecting players during the 1980s , were to have been manually pulled from the “Presidential Predictors” set, says Kerri Stockholm, director of sports marketing for Carlsbad-based Upper Deck.

The supposedly inappropriate card features Hillary’s head on the body of the buxom, hot-pants-wearing Morganna, whose arms are clenched around an anonymous Cincinnati Reds batter as she plants smooches on his cheek.

Realizing at the last minute that it could be perceived as offensive, executives of the sports trading card company decided to pull it as the cards were being readied for shipping.

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But that meant manually removing them from hoppers and loaded packs, Stockholm says.

The candidate cards were inserted at a rate of one in every eight packs, so the task of finding all of the Hillary cards was like “looking for several needles in many, many haystacks,” Stockholm said.

The card reads: “Hillary Rodham Clinton and Morganna Roberts, baseball’s infamous ‘Kissing Bandit,’ share a similar life strategy: go after what you want and get it!”

It also credits her for generating headlines with “her reforms, initiatives and current bid for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination.”


Do I Hear $3,000?

As of midday Feb. 27, some of the Hillary cards that slipped through were selling on eBay with bids as high as $3,000.

Upper Deck does not reveal sales or production numbers, but Terry Melia, Upper Deck’s public relations manager, says that 98 percent of the Hillary cards were culled.

The card set also includes a parody of Al Gore’s 2000 presidential bid. Gore’s head is shown on the body of Boston Red Sox infielder Jose Offerman, who was called out in the 1999 playoffs against the New York Yankees, although Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch , bearing the head of President Bush , clearly missed the tag.

Barack Obama is depicted as Jermaine Dye, the Chicago White Sox outfielder named the 2005 World Series Most Valuable Player.

John McCain is portrayed as fellow wartime aviator Ted Williams, the Red Sox slugger known as the “Splendid Splinter.”

Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani are also included in the card series.

Former President Clinton, who was notorious for kissing and telling, doesn’t have a card in the series.

Stockholm says that Upper Deck plans to issue another Hillary card at the end of May. The company has not yet settled on the design.


A Collectors’ Item

In the meantime, however, a few of the at-large Kissing Bandit cards that made it to retailers’ shelves have turned out to be a mini-lottery win for some lucky collectors.

Gene Baker, co-owner of Clairemont Sportscards in San Diego, says the trading card issue is selling well, but no better than earlier sets.

“It’s not a gold rush,” he said, adding that that’s probably because there’s such a slim chance of hitting pay dirt with the Hillary card.

“We’ve not had anyone here pull one yet, but the series has only been out for a couple of weeks,” he said Feb. 27.

Baker says he thinks that the Kissing Bandit card was a marketing ploy.

“They (Upper Deck) don’t do anything by accident,” he said. “They’ll never convince me of that.”

Melia denied the retailer’s assertion.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion,” he said. “The decision was made because we got feedback that this card was sensitive in nature.

“We were literally pulling the cards at the eleventh hour, and we knew that if we didn’t get them all, we’d have to roll with it.”

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