Once upon a time, collecting baseball cards was a staple of American culture, but the era of technology has forced the industry to find creative ways to keep itself afloat.

About one month ago, Topps introduced an iPhone app, which allows users to virtually collect and trade cards. If that was tough for card-collecting conservatives to digest, they may have an even more difficult time hearing about Topps' next move:

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model Kate Upton is about to get her own baseball card.

That's right. According to USA Today, when the 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter World Champions Set hits drug store counters, batting cage shops and well, iPhone apps, on July 11, collectors will find Upton's name on the same checklists as Albert Pujols, Justin Verlander and the rest of baseball's stars.

The set is modeled after the original cards provided by the Allen & Ginter tobacco manufacturing firm in the late 1800s. The cards featured paintings of the players and were placed in cigarette packs. The set is known for featuring non-athletes, along with baseball players.

Upton's portrait displays her in a red dress she wore at the SI Swimsuit Issue launch party. According to ESPN, a limited number of cards signed by the model will be packaged in the set.

Upton headlines a class of non-baseball players that includes Michael Phelps, Ara Parseghian, Erin Andrews, Greg Gumbel, Ewa Matay, Colin Montgomerie, Kirk Herbstreit, Swin Cash, Michael Buffer, Curly Neal, Meadowlark Lemon and Arnold Palmer.

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-- Photo Credit: Getty Images

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