You may be seeing Rinku Singh on cardboard once again.
Back in 2009, he was one of two pitchers signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Lucknow, India, and their stories of how that happened ended up becoming a Disney movie. But today he joins professional wrestling hopefuls under contract at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla.
He’s 6-foot-3, 256 pounds now — an inch taller and 61 pounds heavier than what’s listed on his 2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects baseball cards back when he was 20 years old — and apparently impressed WWE officials at an invitation-only tryout last April in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, according to MLB.com.
In five minor-league seasons, he went 10-6 with a 2.97 ERA but never made it past Class-A ball while also playing in the Australian League three seasons. He was out of action for three years before pitching a single inning last season for the rookie-ball Gulf Coast League Pirates and hanging them up. The Pirates found him after “The Million Dollar Arm” competition in India — an event created by former Upper Deck employee J.B. Bernstein, who is now a CEO of an athlete marketing firm.
Because of their unusual story, Singh and Dinesh Patel can be found on a number of baseball cards in prospect releases from 2009 to 2012. Singh appears on about 75 different cards and roughly two-thirds of them are certified autographs from Bowman brands (Bowman Chrome, Bowman Sterling) and from TRISTAR products (Prospects Plus, Obak and Pursuit).
Finding wax from most of those years isn’t that easy to find — some guy named Mike Trout — but singles for Singh are findable but still somewhat expensive because of his unique story in baseball.
Will he have wrestling cards? It’s likely there could be an NXT showing at some point but there are a number of Performance Center signees who have yet to make it to wrestling cardboard — and some of them have past cards, too.
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