Addison Russell has turned a unique hobby into an awesome pregame ritual. The Cubs infielder is trying to get his entire collection of Pokémon cards signed by opposing players.
Russell spoke to ESPN about his newfound hobby, and the story behind it is really sweet. He began collecting the cards as a way to connect with his nieces and nephews, who all play the game — and now he’s blending that with his career to get his binder full of cards autographed.
“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.”
This isn’t just a case of sending a random card to an opposing locker room, either. He’s putting some thought into this by selecting cards that match with their play style.
“If there are flame balls on them, I’ll get a closer like Kenley Jansen to sign,” Russell said. “I got him to sign when [the Dodgers] were at Wrigley Field. I think he signed my 'Enflamed' card.”
The best part is how players around the league are supporting this. At first many think it’s a joke, but word is getting around that he’s serious. Corey Seager of the Dodgers explained his reaction.
“I honestly thought it was a joke,” Seager said. “But no, that’s his thing; and that’s cool that he found his niche and what he likes to do. More power to him.
Russell had to pick a special card for Jose Altuve when he came to town. The American League batting champ needed some sort of card that encapsulated his play style.
“A flying-type dragon card because he’s aggressive and I like his style of play,” Russell said of Altuve.
The season-long hobby will result in Russell showing the collection to his family and saving it for his son. He has no intent to sell any of his signed Pokémon cards, but could be swayed into trading some of his unsigned ones — so hit him up.
His closing quote might be the best.
“I’m going to keep doing it,” he said. “I have some badass Pokémon cards that I need signed.”