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Donruss Produces James Gandolfini's Rookie Card

Texas-based Donruss Trading Cards, a leading manufacturer of Major League Baseball trading cards, today announced a groundbreaking partnership with Emmy award-winning actor James Gandolfini, who stars as Tony Soprano on HBO’s popular series "The Sopranos."

The agreement with Gandolfini headlines Donruss’ Fans of the Game program, a unique component of the company’s Major League Baseball trading card products that will feature autographed cards and rookie cards from some of the most popular and passionate baseball fans in the entertainment and athletic communities.

The first licensed trading cards of Gandolfini, a New Jersey native and diehard New York Yankees devotee, will be available in packs of the Donruss Elite Baseball brand, which is scheduled for a May 2004 release.

"James Gandolfini is an international superstar and his presence in our Fans of the Game initiative lends an overwhelming sense of prestige to this program," said Donruss president and COO Bill Dully. "Thanks to the participation of luminaries like Gandolfini, Donruss Trading Cards will transcend the traditional sports collector base and reach an entirely new mainstream audience."

Gandolfini will be accompanied in Donruss’ initial Fans of the Game offering by celebrated athletes Freddy Adu (an international soccer star at the age of 14 with D.C. United of Major League Soccer), Janet Evans (U.S. Olympic swimmer and four-time gold medalist), Brandi Chastain (a key member of the 1996 U.S. Women’s gold-medal-winning soccer team) and Summer Sanders (U.S. Olympic swimmer and four-time medal winner).

All five superstars will be featured on standard Donruss trading cards as well as on autographed cards, and linked with their respective favorite Major League Baseball teams.

"For most Americans, the thought of having our own baseball card or football card is something we dream about growing up and something that carries universal appeal," Dully said. "In that sense, Donruss is helping make dreams come true for some of today’s preeminent artists and athletes.

"We’re talking about some of the most beloved individuals in the country who, until now, haven’t had a trading card for their fans to collect. Thanks to Donruss, now they will."

Donruss plans to incorporate additional personalities in future Fans of the Game releases this year, with confirmed participants scheduled to include:

  • Regis Philbin, celebrated co-host of "Live With Regis and Kelly" and host of the original "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"
  • Charlie Sheen, actor who starred in the motion picture comedies "Major League" and "Major League II" and who currently stars in the television series "Two and a Half Men"
  • Tom Arnold, actor/comedian and co-host of Fox Sports Net’s "Best Damn Sports Show"
  • Jamie-Lynn Discala, actress who portrays Meadow Soprano on HBO’s "The Sopranos"
  • Corbin Bernsen, accomplished actor who appeared in the successful baseball comedies "Major League" and "Major League II" and who was a fixture on the popular "L.A. Law" television series
  • Steve R. Schirripa, actor who portrays Bobby Baccalieri on HBO’s "The Sopranos"
  • Joe Mantegna, actor who’s appeared in popular TV shows "Joan of Arcadia" and "First Monday," as well as the motion picture "The Godfather: Part III"
  • Peter Gammons, ESPN baseball analyst
  • Jennie Finch, a star member of the 2004 U.S. Women’s softball team
  • Jeff Garlin, comedic actor on HBO’s "Curb Your Enthusiasm" who also co-starred with Eddie Murphy in "Daddy Day Care"
  • Kerry Strug, U.S. Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast
  • Dan Jansen, U.S. Olympic gold-medal winning speed skater
  • Bonnie Blair, U.S. Olympic gold-medal winning speed skater
  • Bode Miller, popular downhill skier and U.S. Olympian
  • Landon Donovan, one of the top young talents in American soccer today and a member of the MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes

Source: Donruss Playoff, L.P.
Date: March 24, 2004

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