[img width=350 height=249]http://www.bismarcktribune.com/content/articles/2007/02/27/ap/strange/d8ni9cb00.jpg[/img]

NEW YORK - As President Bush smiled and waved from the stands and Mickey Mantle looked on from the dugout, Derek Jeter swung his bat. Talk about pressure. Luckily, the game never happened. It was just someone's idea of a visual gag _ pulled off in a recent Topps baseball card through digital manipulation.

"Somewhere in between the final proofing and its printing, someone at our company _ and we won't name names _ thought it would be funny to put in Bush and Mantle," said Clay Luraschi, a spokesman for Topps in Tuesday's edition of the Daily News.

The president's image is superimposed on the picture, while whoever played the trick took some time blending Mantle into the background of Jeter's card, No. 40 in the set.

Luraschi said that the gag was discovered during proofing of the card, but that it was already in the set. "We couldn't do anything but laugh," he said.


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 said.

The Jeter card could join other famed oddball cards, like the 1969 Topps of Aurelio Rodriguez. That card 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.

Jeter told the News said he didn't know anything about the card. A White House spokesman declined to comment.

Luraschi said he doesn't know whether the card would be corrected in the future.

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