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Gag Card Shows Jeter, Mantle, Bush

Derek Jeter drew quite a crowd for this at-bat _ President Bush waving in the stands, Mickey Mantle studying from the dugout.

Made for a perfect picture on Jeter's new baseball card. Of course, the game never happened.

Instead, this Topps triple play was just someone's idea of a visual gag. It was a card trick _ somebody at the company produced it through digital manipulation.

"We saw it in the final proof and we could have axed it," Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "But we decided to let it run, we wanted to print it. We thought it was hilarious."

The card will be changed when Topps issues a complete set at midseason, Luraschi said.

Jeter said he had not seen the card, which shows him swinging at Yankee Stadium.

"I don't know anything about it," the All-Star shortstop said after New York's workout Tuesday in Tampa, Fla. "I can't tell you anything."

Luraschi did not identify the person at Topps who made the alteration on Jeter's card, No. 40 in the set. Luraschi said that fixing it before it was released would have caused shipping delays.

It's not the first card to have silly errors or odd prints, said T.S. O'Connell, the editor of Sports Collector's Digest.

"For collectors, there's a real giggle factor for something like this," he told the Daily News.

The Daily News put the picture on its front page Tuesday and Newsday also reported the story.

The Jeter card could join other famed oddball cards, like the 1969 Topps of Aurelio Rodriguez. That one featured a photo of a bat boy instead of the infielder.

Another collector said the joke would raise the price of the card, which currently goes for $2 on eBay.

Topps will issue 660 cards in this set, and Luraschi said they were all getting a close look. So are any other strangers showing up?

"Not that I know of," he said.