|2016 Topps Allen and Ginter Ari Shaffir / Topps|
Shaffir is a comedian best known for his Comedy Central series, “This is Not Happening.” Continuing with Topps’ efforts to diversify their Allen and Ginter set, Shaffir’s inclusion in the set represents Topps’ eye for highlighting rising stars. After a recent performance at The Stand in New York City, Shaffir sat down to discuss the experience of being immortalized on a baseball card. The opportunity arose from a recommendation by a fellow comedian who was in last year's set.
“Sal Vulcano had one [2015 Topps Allen and Ginter] and he knew some people [at Topps] so he recommended me,” Shaffir said. “They e-mailed me and I thought it would be cool.”
|Shaffir performing at The Stand in NYC / N. Diunte|
Growing up, Shaffir collected Topps baseball cards. The hallmark of his collection was an iconic card of Hall of Famer George Brett.
"I was into baseball cards," he said. "I always had Topps when I was little. My favorite was a 1975 George Brett rookie card; it was the center of my collection.”
One of Shaffir’s favorite players growing up was Frank Thomas. Never in his wildest dreams did he think that he would be in the same baseball card set as the Hall of Famer, but with the advent of 2016’s Allen and Ginter set, that dream became a reality.
“I was really into Frank Thomas,” he said. “I followed his career all the way up, from being drafted all the way to the Hall of Fame.”
Part of Shaffir’s inclusion in Topps’ set involved him autographing cards, as well as providing event worn memorabilia for limited edition inserts. He went behind the scenes at Topps' iconic headquarters in New York City to meet with their representatives to fulfill his duties for the set.
“I went to the office in Manhattan and signed a bunch [of cards],” he said. “I ended up giving up my shirt that I wore from my [Comedy Central] special. They gave me a Topps shirt too; it was cool.”
Now that Shaffir has an official baseball card, he is receiving major league treatment from fans. When he recently returned from touring, his mailbox was full with unexpected requests to sign his rookie card.
“I’ve been getting people sending me stuff,” he said. “I got back from two months on the road and I had 6-7 letters waiting in my mailbox. I sign them, ‘S--k it, Love Ari.’”
Shaffir welcomed fans to send him his new card to sign. He offered time-tested advice for making a mail request; send return postage.
“My address is up on my website,” he said. “People can send me some as long as there is a self-addressed stamped envelope; otherwise the card’s never coming back.”