Back in February, Topps Series 1 was causing quite a stir when Rudy Giuliani was found on a Red Sox card and a mystery Japanese high schooler was found on card FS1.

The Giuliani card was obviously a marketing ploy for the set, but the Uzuki card was initially thought of a mistake like the Alex Gordon card of 2006.

However, as time rolled along, some collectors began to realize that there was more to this phenom than originally thought.

The card said that Uzuki was invited to World Baseball Classic tryouts at 14, struck out 17 batters in a tryout game, but missed the team. It then went on to say that he could throw 104 miles per hour and was expected to jump straight from high school to the Major Leagues.

With the nickname, “The Uzi” collectors across the country were debating whether to sell this now or invest in it until Uzuki came to America.

However, let’s take a brief lesson in Japanese language.

The name Kazuo Uzuki means “the first son of April” which can be interpreted to mean that Uzuki was born on April 1, which happens to be one America’s favorite unofficial holidays April Fools Day.

Topps announced today that the card does indeed portray a fictional player and that Uzuki or a player similar to him does not exist.

The prank was pulled due to the high volume of Japanese players that have been coming the Major Leagues.

“With the latest Japanese imports, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kosuke Fukudome, fans, scouts and even card companies continue to search the globe for the next sensation,” said Clay Luraschi, Topps’ Baseball Brand Manager. “While ‘The Uzi’ is indeed a fictional character, we look forward to the 2008 major league baseball season as the league continues to become more and more global.”

Nevertheless, card collectors who have loss the sense of fun in collecting will be outraged over this prank just like they were about the Bush/Mantle Derek Jeter and Giuliani from 2007 and 2008 respectively.

I will stand outside of this group though. Topps is doing two things with this card:

  • Promoting its brand
  • Bringing the fun back to collecting

There are only so many ways to promote a baseball card release. Before, having a game-used or autograph in the product was good promotion. But as those flooded the market, companies had to find new ways. Topps has done just that. The practice will get old fast as Upper Deck has joined the bandwagon as well with their Hillary Clinton, A-Rod team variations and Michael Buysner cards.

Where do you stand on a company pulling an April Fools prank?