It might seem strange, but what do you expect from the youngest Chicago Cubs player? Addison Russell plays baseball, and many kids hope he’ll sign a card for them. But Russell? He’s looking to get his Pokémon cards signed.
When the Chicago Cubs‘ Addison Russell wanted to find a way to relate with you younger cousins, nieces and nephews, there was one common thread. Pokémon cards. And so it began that the young Cubs’ shortstop started collecting them. That wasn’t weird. But when he started asking All-Stars to sign them for him?
The thing is, no one has turned him down. Even I at my age remember the popularity of the cards and aren’t surprised. And there’s a bit of a twist as to who–and what cards–Russell tries to get autographed. Each one of them is very specific.
"“I’ve signed a lot of baseball cards of myself, and I just thought it would be cool if professional athletes would sign Pokémon cards. I started collecting them more, and now I’m asking guys to sign them.” h/t Jesse Rogers, ESPN"
First, Russell tried to get players that he admires to sign the cards. And then from there, he’s looking for cards that have the traits of the player on them. Fireballs? Easy. Send it over to Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen.
"“It was unique, man, and I was like, ‘OK, so what is he trying to do?’” Jansen said of the unusual request. “They asked for Pokémon [to be signed], and that meant he might like Pokémon, one of his favorite things. I think it was pretty awesome.”"
It’s given a normally quiet kid a potential icebreaker. And in the end, his son may very well end up with an impressive collection of Pokémon cards. Until then, the Cubs clubhouse attendant will be making his way over to the opposing clubhouse, cards in hand. Jansen, Corey Seager and Jose Altuve have already signed cards.
"“A flying-type dragon card because he’s aggressive and I like his style of play,” Russell said of Altuve."
It’s not premeditated. Russell doesn’t have the cards ready when the head to play an opposing team. The mood has to be right, and then he has to pick that perfect card. And even now, Russell isn’t against trading some of his cards. I mean, that what a true Pokémon collector does.