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Dr. Anthony Fauci’s Commemorative Baseball Card Knocks It Out of the Park

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Updated: | Originally published:

Topps NOW’s all-time best-selling baseball card is no longer one of an esteemed athlete. The baseball card manufacturer announced Monday that their sale of a limited-edition card featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci throwing the MLB’s opening pitch has sold out at more than 51,000 cards, breaking the company’s previous print-run record.

Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a member of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce and longtime fan of the Washington Nationals, was invited by the MLB to toss the ceremonial opening-pitch on July 23 to kick off the 2020 season.

Read more: How Baseball Misread the Pandemic Moment

The pitch itself was, by Fauci’s own admission, off-the-mark — not that fans were able to see it in person due to social distancing rules restricting attendance.

But sales of the limited-edition card, which was only available for a 24-hour window, more than doubled the company’s previous record of 19,396 cards sold of Toronto Blue Jay’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“Topps prides itself on capturing the unique moments of the MLB season, one baseball card at a time, and Dr. Fauci’s inclusion in this year’s Topps NOW cards is just one way in which we are highlighting the uniqueness of the 2020 season,” Emily Kless, Topps communications manager, said in an emailed statement to TIME.

“Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series Championship title,” wrote the Washington Nationals in an official public statement announcing Fauci’s acceptance of their invitation to throw the opening pitch.

The record-breaking sale comes as the White House has continued its attempts to discredit Fauci’s advice to control the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. (and after President Trump stepped back from a plan to throw the first pitch at a Yankees game in August).

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Write to Jasmine Aguilera at jasmine.aguilera@time.com