Gary Sanchez graces card No. 7 in Topps' 2017 Series 1 trading card setTopps had reserved No. 7 for Mickey Mantle specials since 1996
The runner-up for the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year Award has a Topps All-Star Rookie designation on his card, but perhaps more symbolic for Sanchez is the fact that he is card No. 7 on the checklist - the first time in more than two decades that No. 7 has been issued to someone other than another pretty famous Yankee.
"After Mickey Mantle passed away in 1995, Topps wanted to honor one of baseball's greatest players, so they decided to include him in the 1996 flagship set under card No. 7, his jersey number," Topps Brand Manager Kevin Eger explained. "Since then, card No. 7 had either been Mantle or no one, which meant a gap in the checklist for the years we didn't have an agreement with his estate."
But this year, after 20-plus seasons of The Mick or nothing, No. 7 can say #IAmGary, and that's thanks in part to Sanchez's status as the emerging face of the latest crop of Baby Bombers.
"Baseball fans are witnessing a great time in baseball right now with an impressive young group of players; we felt it was time to offer card No. 7 to a young, emerging star, but we still wanted it to be a New York Yankee," Eger said. "Gary Sanchez is part of the re-emergence for the Yankees, helping to bring that certain mystique back to the team. He felt like a natural fit for card No. 7."
In addition to the return of No. 7, Topps' 2017 Series 1 collection also features quite a few special inserts, including one subset of cards designed in Topps' 1987 style to commemorate that iconic set's 30th anniversary and another that highlights celebrities that have thrown out a ceremonial first pitch.