Willy, Javy, Rizzo, Ryno, and the Hoarding of a Former Cubs Prospect

Wednesday saw a pile of boxes on my counter as part of a triple mailday. Yesterday, I wrote about the nearly 2,000 cards that came from Vern in New York. Another trade that was conducted on Twitter was from Chuck in Ohio.

Chuck sent over a nice mix of 76 Cubs cards which included quite a few new cards for my collection. I’ll be sending out a package of Cleveland Indians to Chuck tomorrow.

There were a couple top loaded cards in this package including a 2017 Topps Chrome 1987 insert of Jake Arrieta. These are great cards because I love the wood border. The original set was released just before I started collecting cards. So, by the time my collecting was full speed ahead as a 7-year old in 1989 these wood-bordered 1987 Topps cards were “vintage” to me. I’m a fan of Topps using retro sets today, though I have tired of the Archives release. It used to be my favorite set of the year, but now it just seems watered down. I really like what Topps did with these 1987 Topps inserts.

Another top loaded card was this 2017 Topps High Tek Anthony Rizzo. High Tek is a set that I have very few cards from. I’ve gained a few Cubs from the sets via trades, and I have a couple stragglers from a box or case break I participated in last year. They are really cool cards, and I should pursue them.

Speaking of pursuing Cubs cards, I’m always on the lookout for Javier Baez. This is another new one for my collection. Baez will be the first player binder I put together when I get caught up on other card ventures. This is a 2017 Panini Chronicles. I’ll be meeting Javy on May 10 at Club 400. If you’ve never heard of Club 400, check out this blog post from my first visit in January. I’ll make sure to take a lot of pictures on my return trip to see Javy in May.

Willson Contreras is fast becoming my second favorite Cubs player (behind Baez). He shot from relative obscurity to a Cubs top prospect quicker than any other Cubs player I can think of. During his ascent with the double-A Tennessee Smokies I sent him a baseball through the mail (TTM) to sign. It was a cheap China baseball, and he returned a signed Southern League baseball. Very cool! Contreras is featured here on a 2017 Bowman Platinum. I love Platinum, and yes I’m one of those guys that hops from retail outlet to retail outlet in search of the product since it’s retail exclusive. Last summer I visited 11 stores and came up empty. Fortunately, my mom is a good sport and went to her local Wal-Mart and was able to find a collector’s box and some blasters to feed my Platinum fix.

From the “Who’s this Cubs player” department: Jhoandro Alfaro. I love finding these gems. I keep very close tabs on Cubs prospects and minor leaguers, but there are still several that pop up with cards that make me scratch my head. In cases like this Alfaro 2014 Panini Prizm Draft Picks card I get just as excited as seeing a Bryant or Rizzo card…actually probably more excited.

Here’s another new Ryno for the collection. This Ryne Sandberg is a 2016 Panini Heritage Collection. Love the design as well as the textured front.

And finally a player that I was collecting two years ago more heavily than Javier Baez. It’s Dylan Cease, and he was unfortunately traded to the Chicago White Sox last summer in the Jose Quintana deal. I was slightly devastated by this trade as I have accumulate close to 1,000 Cease cards. About 600 of them are his 2014 Bowman Draft cards. After dealing with some injuries he was really dealing on the mound in the lower levels of the Cubs system before the trade earning a lot of praise from Cubs brass. He was on several top 100 prospect lists in 2017, but has fallen off for 2018. Hopefully he can make it. This is his 2016 Bowman Chrome.

Thanks for the trade, Chuck. Your Indians package is ready to ship out and take a ride to Ohio tomorrow.

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