Twee-Commerce – Gwynn Edition

There are all kinds of resources for collectors to purchase cards.  Well, maybe not all kinds, but several.  I have that monthly series showing off my ebay wins.  I recently spent a portion of my Sportlots selling credit on a boatload of cards.  I do a couple COMC buying binges a year.  I know there are other selling websites, but I haven’t ventured into them as of yet.  Maybe someday.

There are also message boards (haven’t tried), craiglist (did get that Cubs season ticket giveaway, but nothing else), online apps (haven’t seen anything worthwhile), and facebook (not a member).

All have their advantages and disadvantages, but the one I’ve have the most fun and most success with lately is Twitter.  Quick side note: if you are a blogger following me on twitter and I don’t follow you back, please let me know because it pretty much has to be an oversight.

I’m not great at interacting with people on Twitter. Many days I’ll just read but not reply.  But a lot of people have started to sell things on the cheap over there and I’ve been inclined to take them up on those offers.  I’ve toyed with selling stuff myself, but that will wait until 2019.  For the time being, I have a big stack of twitter cards to show off (along with big stacks of Sportlots and COMC cards to show off), so let’s get started by just looking at some new Gwynns.

Gotta love that uniform

I may bounce back and forth between sellers, but I start with this 1st Home Run insert from JennyMiller521.  She collects Twins and Miguel Sano and is much better at talking to people on Twitter than I am.

Retail white

These next three are from Mrbkscards (known to most of you as Play at the Plate.  My understanding is that he’s not really collecting actively anymore, so a lot of his stuff can be bought for cheap.

I want a set of people with only one homer total

That allowed me to get this blaster medallion thingy.  I think they’re from blasters.  They’re heavy, and very maroon, and I probably need other players of these, but this gives me the highly coveted full set of Gwynn 1st home run parallels.

There’s a relic version of this because of course there is

This insert is from the same year as the others, and I don’t like it as much.  When I see this, I don’t see bats. I’m thinking bread sticks. I’m thinking eclairs.

I have 6/20 patterns from this year

Also from Brian, is another chance to name that Tek pattern!  I don’t recall ever seeing a colored non-rookie pattern before.  I think these might be a little more short printed than some of the other patterns, but I still got it for less than a dollar from him.

Pattern #18 – Yellow Snow

I don’t like this year’s design, but it’s better in chrome

Lastly for today, are a couple of 2018 Optic Gwynns courtesy of StadiumLites.  I don’t fully know what they collect (aside from ’49ers).  What I do know is they offer a lot of good cheap deals on cards and are super organized.

I feel like I should be able to press on it and make the colors change

Sometimes you have to be really quick to get those cards before someone else.  I get a little tiny adrenaline rush when I see something I need, like this shock parallel, and it’s a thrill when you get the confirmation the card is in your stack.  There are a lot of ways to buy cards, but twitter may actually be the most fun right now.  Thanks to all those sellers out there for these and many more cards yet to be seen on here.

Oh, I almost forgot. There are group breaks, too!  I’ve done some more of those.  You’ll see that after I give thanks for another trade (no purchase necessary) next time.

My Favorite Card of 2018

I’m sure most of you have heard by now that P-Town Tom from Waiting ‘Til Next Year is running a contest, and TIME IS RUNNING OUT, so follow that link!  All you have to do is show off your favorite card in your collection from 2018.

I’m not usually one to enter contests because most prizes are things that don’t fit in my collecting goals and I don’t need more cards that I don’t need, but this contest is pretty simple and easy, so why not.

I don’t have a lot of 2018 cards in my collection so far, but I was still able to find a few contenders.  I’m going to start with three honorable mentions in no particular order and then the one and only winning card.

Great Success!

You may be wondering what kind of things I consider. Well, first and foremost is the photo selection.  I need the unique stuff. Someone swinging a bat won’t do it. Someone running the bases usually won’t do it. Pitching motions are a no-go.

It makes sense that Stadium Club works as my example here.  What I love about this picture is that it captures the celebration. So many cards will show the mid-air toss to first, but here we get a more complete story.  The Cubs’ most dynamic fielder is in the field, on the grass with a fist pump and letting out a victory yell.  Cubs fans are well aware of Javy’s passion, and here it is on display with the home ivy in the background.

You’ve seen this before in an ebay recap

Another thing I like is texture.  Not too many cards have that, but I’m more interested in cards that are printed on different kinds of stock or materials (like acetate) or are embossed or some combination of those.

This near-winner was the first 2018 Topps card I got.  I know some people hate manufactured relics, but I still like them due to the above. I’m a simple guy.  It may not be from anything other than a printing press, but it passes the feel test.  I also like that it pays tribute to the Players Weekend nicknames. Baez has the best one on the team.

Serial numbering can also be a factor, but it’s lower on the priority list.

I wound up with 2 of these

Relics and autographs can also be a factor.  Bonus points for on-card ones.  Relics are cool regardless of where they come from and they pass the feel test.  Heyward’s Ginter relic also passes the photo test.  He looks like a happy kid with his backpack and bat slung over his shoulder and the yellow “sun” behind him.  That’s a guy that’s super excited to play some baseball. Oh, and by the way, you can touch this piece of cloth!

Need some parallels of this

My #1 card of the year is this Topps Big League Thomas statue thing.  There’s no fun tactile elements, but Big League was my favorite set of the year (so design is also a factor I haven’t mentioned yet).  Stadium stuff isn’t featured on cards very often, and this is actually my first time seeing the Frank Thomas statue, I believe.  You have the man and the myth side by side, both larger than life in front of the adoring crowd.  It’s a great tribute to a great player in a great set.  MVP #3 for the Big Hurt.

Can’t Spell “Really Big Card Trade” Without GCRL – Part 1

I’ve been lucky to have several trade partners this second half of the year.  That second wave of trade bait worked better than I anticipated, to the point where I didn’t feel very prepared.

Clearly I’m not all that prepared to thank everyone quickly either, but hey, it’s something to work on in 2019.  That trade bait was months ago and I still have about five more packages that haven’t even appeared once here!  I don’t know how some people do it.

People like Jim, originally known for his blog GCRL (hence the title) and creator of several side blogs. He is now player/manager for cards as i see them.  I don’t know how Jim can maintain all of that writing. That’s a level of speed and organization I can’t comprehend, but can certainly appreciate.

Well, as you might have gathered, Jim sent me a nice bubble mailer I can appreciate as well, stuffed with all kinds of cardboard spread across my various player interests.  It’s too much to fit in one post, so I’ll have to come back later for the other parts, after I’ve sprinkled in some of the other trades laying in wait.

Stick ’em up!

I’m starting off with a nice stack of stickers.  In short order, I got quite a few people trading stickers with me.  That was fantastic and look forward to more of that. You may notice that the Rizzo is hiding and that’s because he went into the album.  Rondon and Baez are already in my albums so they are for my player collection binders.

Through the not as many years as it appears

This package had a bunch of stuff, so to save time in showing the dozens of cards sent my way I’m doing a little grouping.  Here’s a nice assortment of Topps Archives, aka future Heritage (with one past Heritage).  Oh man, I wonder if 1990 will get a turn at Heritage.  Probably not.  Topps would likely reboot and start at 1952 again before that happens.

Not a fan of the back variants they’ve been doing

Speaking of Heritage, we have two years represented but plenty of cards I needed.  Oddly, I don’t even have the regular Arrieta 2016 card to go alongside the League Leaders.

Pre-Arrieta comeback

Flagship sets were well represented, starting back in 2013 when none of these guys were a glimmer in the Cubs’ eyes.

Both update and non-update Lackey

Sorry for the orientation…Zobrist is running away from the poor scanning of the 2014s.

Always great to add a new Strop and T. Wood

I’m pretty surprised I was missing all of these. I bought a box of all three series of 2015. I don’t think I had even seen the Soler rookie debut card before. Would love to have those parallels.

Quick end of an era

Skipping 2016 and into 2017 where the pieces start to get traded away.  It’s weird to see those two with the Royals. It just doesn’t look natural, even though it’s still a blue uniform.

2009 with the white chrome border for the last time

There’s still so much more to show, but for tonight, I’m going to end with a little bit of shine.  This one picture also shows how incredibly varied the trade package was.  So many years and players and sets covered. I’m very thankful to Jim for the thoroughness and look forward to revisiting the rest of this really big trade in a few more future posts.

Card-ography #9 – Jason Hammel

Welcome to Part 9.  For a series that should be pretty easy to put together, it sure does take a while for me to get them out the digital door.  I’m lucky enough to have autographs for several of the 2016 Cubs players at this point, so I have to show them off.  Today’s example is a very nice on-card autograph from a high-end set.  It’s the kind of card that, unfortunately, many would hate to pull from a box of Museum Collection but I’m happy to add to my hit box.

Even after having a hand in the case-breaking world, Autographed cards still fascinate me.  Allow me to explain with this series introduction from the early days of the blog.  To see the other parts of the series, click on the “Card-ography” tag at the bottom.

Now that I’m back into collecting, one of the biggest surprises greeting me at the door was that signatures on cardboard (or on stickers placed on cardboard) are now a regular part of the hobby.  In fact, it’s basically expected at this point.  I know there are plenty of people who feel that if their box doesn’t have an auto – or even the RIGHT auto – then it’s a waste of money.  Hell, I’m still not completely jaded by relics, so I can’t understand this theory.
I know that most of the autos aren’t all that valuable, but seeing that blue, red, and sometimes black ink on a card in your hands still holds significance to me.  It still makes for some of the most enjoyable moments in collecting.
That’s why I’m starting a series that will analyze the signatures we see.  It’s common to see people lump them into “good” and “bad” categories, but I want to take it farther than that.  This player took the time to sign your card (although some of them don’t take tons of time).  I’m going to take the time to inspect it.

The not so common horizontal auto card

This card was purchased at the National.  I tried to focus some attention at getting cheap hits while I was there, and did pretty well in that quest.  Jason Hammel only had one card with a print run over 50 in that Museum Collection and you’re looking at it.

If you didn’t know his name, what would you think this said?  “O v t o”

Style points:
That first section was tough to write.  Honestly, it looks like a flying stick more than anything.  I have no idea where his name fits into this signature, but it’s cool looking.

Space Usage:
Jason does take advantage of the space given to him and isn’t afraid to bleed into the picture a bit as needed.

There isn’t any from my perspective.  It looks like he’s adapted his signature to be quick and easy, but consistent and dynamic.

What’s interesting is that I have proof that his signature has changed.  I have an older auto from his rookie year that shows more letters and gives a better sense of his name, but I like this simplified way more.

Jason hasn’t signed a lot since that 2005 rookie year, and didn’t get many cards after that, either.  So it’s awesome to have an on-card auto with the Cubs uniform on. I have several more to chase from his Chicago tenure, and it’s great that they can be found on a low budget for a neat looking signature like his.

Tony Gwynn Is In The Club

Recently Topps sort of brought back the Members Only Club.  You may have missed it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you did.  Basically they did an online offering to spend $200 and in return you get a few small sets across the 2019 season and some other “member” exclusives and autos.  I considered joining, actually because it didn’t seem like a terrible price.

I ended up not joining, but not because I lacked the desire or funds, but because I didn’t know it was a limited quantity or time-sensitive offer.  I debated a bit too long and it sold out.

Well, once again, I’m not one of the cool kids.  Too bad.

I wasn’t one of the cool kids back in the ’90s, either.  That was very much due to cost.  Kids can’t afford these types of memberships.  Only the Burger King Kids Club types, but those didn’t come with cards.

That’s some outfit in the background

Well, even though I’m not, Tony was in the Stadium Club and had been for years.  It’s surprising how few SC cards I’ve posted on here, considering Andy used to master collect the product. I love bendy bats.  If I can find enough, maybe I’ll make a post about that.

Such a ’90s nameplate

As you’ll see, Tony had a good run of photos through this product.  I know it’s known for the photography, but not everyone is all that lucky, and it became less important over time.

I’ve never been a quick start

Like this is an example of a not-so-great one.  It is for a subset, though.  Gwynn’s never been known for his speed, and it looks like they added a motion blur to the background.

He’s surprisingly unimpressed

That’s just an unfair advantage.  I also want to know the ground rules for balls that hit the on-field bench.

Special Ozzie cameo

Look, even this relatively mundane act of sliding into the base looks great.  Pretty sure he’s going to be safe since that ball is hiding in front of Gwynn’s back arm.

No need to blur the background more here

Back to the quick start, I see.  I love the embossed nameplate and it shows that even the best players don’t bat 1.000 in good SC pics.

Foil logo rears its head

More embossed design, but a better picture choice.  Again, a standard running shot gets elevated.  With the ball above the head and no view of the base, I would have to guess this will be an out.

Also other year All-Stars

This is from the Stadium Club Dome, which might have been a members only type of thing. I’m not too sure, really, but the dome itself looks awesome.  All I know is that I recently bought this off of Sportlots with some of my building credit that’s been unused for years.

I didn’t know they played games in space

Lastly, how can you not include a Members Only card.  This is a Members Only 50 insert thing.  To be honest, I have no idea if this was just for club members.  Topps tended to use that label for stuff that appeared in packs too.  Either way, it’s interesting and I don’t recall ever seeing this before.  I also nabbed the Frank Thomas one, but we’ll have to wait until he enters the Club.  I’m sure they’ll let him in, whether he’s a member or not.

A Golden Trade With Reader Nate

I love posting trade bait, because it not only helps me get rid of some of my many unwanted cards, but it gives me an odd sense of accomplishment as well.  It’s a time consuming process to scan, sort and list them all. Part of that process is also making sure I have them listed in my Sportlots store as well (which is why sometimes you’ll see “SOLD” next to a card instead of “TRADED”), so the dual data entry eats up the minutes and hours.

Still, it’s a great feeling to release trade bait for a few sets in a row and get just that tiny bit closer to having a fully organized card inventory for people to trade or buy from.  It’s a small victory in the grand scheme of things, but I’ll take it.  At this stage, my trade bait posts are way behind my SL store, but the store is very close to having everything from 2015 to present that I don’t need listed.  I’m working backwards, and in a few months, I hope to have even more up for sale there.

The trade bait is slower, and part of that is time like I mentioned, and the other part is that I have a good amount of trades to still work through on the blog.  I’ll still trade with people, but my want lists are not fully updated anymore and I have bindered stuff in well over a year….  There’s a lot of housekeeping I need to do.

I need to get on it, so I can get more trade packages like the one I got from Nate.  I apologize if I’m totally idiotic and ignorant, but I don’t believe he has a card blog to link to.  Anyway, he took advantage of the trade bait posts and got some of my Braves cards in return for a few goodies we’re about to see!  I need more of this.

How about those new Miami uniforms

Nate reserved this gold parallel for me.  It’s always nice to add new Dempster cards to the collection.  It’s getting harder, but it’s great that people are still looking.

Another picture….

I had the gold parallel of this card way before the base card.  Kerry is clearly disappointed in me, or maybe it’s just the Indians uniform.

The better older days of Studio

Panini has teased us with some Studio insert cards here and there, but they owe the card community a full on comeback attempt. It’s perfect for a logo-less product.

Love the 90s TV intro inset.

1995 Donruss is a complete blind spot for me, and maybe it was for a lot of people since it took years before this came my way.

Starring Frank as The Big Hurt

And I didn’t have Frank Thomas’ card either.  Crazy!  They’re mine now, though.

That pitcher better hurry to first!

That’s soon to be back-to-back AL MVP to you.

Ripped jeans attitude of 1995

These two are such big stars that they can cover up the words and you still know exactly what it says.

Foil borders are not great for a flagship set

The little foil stamps Upper Deck put on the cards some years really throw me off.  I can never be sure if they are parallels or subsets or normals without looking it up.  This is normal, for the record.

Square those bases

I love this picture, because it looks like someone took a Frank Thomas sticker and accidentally put it on their baseball page diagonally.

I know who my number one is

Tim Salmon and David Justice are not names you hear a lot anymore.  I actually didn’t know or remember that Justice played in the AL.

He was the best and didn’t even play most of those floating years

Everyone cares about who had the best On-Base Percentage.  It’s talked about all the time.  So, I don’t have to tell you about Frank’s dominance in that area.

Don’t all rush at once

I started with gold; I’m ending with gold.  The early days of parallels where you got one per pack from a massive set, and allowance money was scarce so getting a star card felt like winning the lottery.  Striking gold, if you will.

I’m glad to have this and all the cards sent my way. Thank you very much Nate! Hopefully we can make another deal the next time I can get around to posting more trade bait stuff.

October 2018 Ebay Wins

I almost didn’t get this past month’s haul posted this month.  Part of this is I’ve had several nights of being out with the wife, or having people visit or whatever else, but the other part is that I was waiting a couple weeks for my last October purchase to arrive.

Late PWE arrival

I bought this card on 10/31, but it never arrived.  I was going through some of my cards to get my ebay scan done and saw on my purchase history that it was never marked shipped, but had an expected delivery date of 11/10 or something like that.  Well, I opened an issue and sent a message asking them to confirm when it was sent, and the next day it was marked as shipped (no contact or message back) and it came a few days later.

Realizing Schwarber doesn’t sign a ton comparatively

I deal with free shipping sellers quite a bit, so the PWE is expected, and honestly the Hendricks was the first quasi-problem I’ve had.  I’m sure I’m just lucky.  Most of the stuff comes in bubble mailers though. I’m not sure which one this Silver came in.

Too many variations, but this looks nice

This month was good for my Rizzo collection.  I don’t know why, but I’m not complaining.  Remember that pretty much all of these are going for minimum bids + s/h.  I don’t mind doing that for a card #/50

Throw ALL the shapes!

I got the Bryant before, now it’s Rizzo’s turn. I have to believe that part of this is the Bowman name and how collector’s don’t care about non-prospects even if it’s a low print run.

You’ll want to look down

I’m not looking forward to seeing whatever new layers of parallels they add to Chrome next year.  This was the year where they started putting in both gold (this) and gold wave refractors (not acquired yet).  I’m so far behind on chrome stuff already.

Easier to spot parallels this year

I didn’t open any Topps Fire myself.  I joined a group break and got my base set that way.  Now it’s time to slowly pick up the numbered stuff, starting with this R1220 purple.

You’ll want to look down, also

While the Rizzo was #/99, the Purple relic is out of 50.  This is my second relic from Fire. The first came in a trade I haven’t posted yet (sorry!!).

This is why you look down

Okay, so no autograph this month again (and not looking great for November), but I managed a couple big ones that I wasn’t expecting to find.  This year has been incredibly kind to my unripped rip card collection, because I got this guy and he brought a friend.

That’s the look of accomplishment

I won both from the same seller for a surprisingly low amount of money (when talking about unripped rip cards, that is).  I thought for sure I would be outbid on the Bryant, but there was a good amount of buffer between the end price and my max.

I could be wrong, because I haven’t double checked, but I THINK I have all the 2017 A&G Rip Cards I need.  I know that I have Bryant, Schwarber, Rizzo, Maddux, Thomas.  If this pace keeps up, maybe I’ll have all years covered by next November.

I’ve Seen This Before

Whether you like it or not (and the answer is probably not), reprints are a part of the hobby these days and they don’t show signs of leaving anytime soon.

It’s understandable that card companies want to celebrate their history and take advantage of what’s already well known to potentially draw interest. I imagine it may also be somewhat cost effective as they don’t have to spend money working on new designs.  That’s how we get popular products like Heritage and Archives and the like.

Reprints take it one step further in that they don’t have to find new pictures either. I have no idea if they’d have to re-license the photo or not, but if so it’s probably an easier task since reprints are so prevalent.

And Stretch

Reprints aren’t exactly a new trend either.  This first example is from 1994 and Leaf’s 5th anniversary set.  This Thomas card quickly became iconic because of the scarcity and popularity of the player.  It was (and still is) the card to get from 1990 Leaf. That’s worth celebrating, I’m sure.

And hold…

4 years later, they chose a different year for their anniversary and gave us the multi-tiered 1998 Leaf Fractal, complete with a bunch of reprints.  These first two aren’t that bad because they at least did a little something different with the photos.  It’s tough to tell, but this is on plastic. There’s no mistaking it for the real thing.

And release

Even a simple stamp is okay.  I can’t say I understand the reasoning behind picking this 1996 card.  Maybe they chose one from each year for these 2001 reprints but there has to be a better picture in the set.

The font is close but not exact

Also from 2001, this is more well known.  Not a great picture, but it is his XRC, so that lends itself to being reprinted.

Not exactly Tiffany

The chrome versions are possibly the best way to do reprints, if they have to be made.  Of course, they don’t have to be made.

Sure it was thrown out by some, but not an iconic 1994 card

Reprints aren’t part of every product, but around 2010 they came back in droves as Topps gave us the Cards Your Mom Threw Out marathon insert.  That one was full of weird choices and ugly printing, like this Gwynn.

Font is way off

This is from the same set, but a better choice of card.  Sadly, they did both the name and the NNOF version of Frank.

No insert # on back – NINOB

They also took the terrible step of making an original back parallel of each one.  This is for the non-NNOF.

What’s so special

What makes matters worse is that they did it again the next year, to celebrate their 60th year, complete with original back versions.  I think back to back massive inserts really, and rightly, got on people’s nerves.  Check that fine print! This wasn’t the first time the Gwynn 1997 has been used, and I can’t understand why.

Far from second year card

The last one I’ll show today is from the 2016 Berger’s Best insert, which is basically the same crap but after a 5 year gap.  I could show some newer sets as well if I had the cards in hand, but these are all the previously un-seen ones I own.  Give it another year or two and I’m sure I can do another round.  Whether you like it or not.

Trading To Fill In Some Junk Wax Gaps – Part 3

So many trades, so little time.  I feel like posting trades as every third item is a good way to go, but after getting an influx of packages last month, it’s anxiety-inducing and I feel like I need to do nothing but trades, all the time.  Well, until I start hearing people complain about being too slow, I guess I’ll stick to my guns.  However, that also means that some people have to wait a little longer as I also mix in some multi-part trades.

One of those is from John, known on the Trading Card Database as herkojerko (here’s his profile, should you be so inclined, and you should).  You can see the first part of our exchange right here, and the second part here.  As I mentioned in previous posts, many of the cards he sent were from the so called junk wax era, which is not a problem at all.  I still need a lot of that stuff.  Often times, it’s so prevalent that people may forget to even check those years, including myself.

Thankfully, John didn’t forget and so I have a few gaps filled.  Today, we’re looking at some Frank Thomas stuff, which will carry over into the fourth and final part in the future.

With his eyes closed!

Out of all the early reboot days of Bowman, I am least familiar with this year.  I had already started switching over to basketball at this time, and 1992 Bowman was so danged expensive, that it turned me away.

From year one, he was the franchise

Score should make a comeback.  There are a lot of untapped brands over at Panini and this could be the biggest.

Oh, I was wondering who was the on-base percentage leader

Select was brought back as a higher end thing one year, but just about all the Panini Baseball stuff did poorly that year.  I really liked what they did with it, though.

No fielders to be found

Keep in mind, when I’m saying Score can come back, I’m talking about the multi-colored borders and subsets, not the ultra sticky UV coating that tears cards.

Underrated design

The Triple Play reboot was a fun set, but also proof that sets geared solely towards kids and/or without any semblance of “hits” just doesn’t survive the way we would hope.

I wonder how many of these are in the basement back home

I’d like to see more checklists in current stuff.  Throw a player picture in the background like this, if needed, but they’re still fun to look at.

Insert checklist

This turned into an inadvertent tour of modern Panini stuff, so I might as well finish with a Pinnacle card.  That’s another one I wish would have lasted longer.  Maybe it will come back again with some foil like this.  In the meantime, I’m still looking for plenty of these originals from the late ’80s to mid-’90s. So, thanks once again to John for helping me fill in those gaps.

2018 Cubs – Best Players Of The Season

Alright, it’s time we wrap thing up for the season.  As you may have seen, I was awarding a player of the game for each Cubs win.  It was a sort of quick and certainly easy way to show off some additional cards from my collection.  I enjoyed the exercise if only for the fact it gave me some content that didn’t require me to think all that hard.

Well, I took the time to choose players for all 95 wins, so I might as well rank them and see who I thought was the season’s MVP.

Overall, twenty different players earned a spot on my tracking series, and all but three earned the “honor” twice.  I won’t add comments on everybody, but let’s revisit some of the season’s success together.  I’ll show the position on the list, and the number of times they were player of the game after.  This is how WAR should work.

Tied-18th) Darvish – 1 – Yu will have more opportunities next year.  An injury-shortened season reduced his impact and paved the way for a couple others seen elsewhere on the list.

T-18) Farrell – 1

T-18) LaStella – 1 – Riding the bench all year, he got his one appearance in the last week of games.

T-13) Chatwood – 2

T-13) Edwards Jr. – 2 – Relievers usually didn’t have a chance, but with nothing else spectacular going on in the games, Carl earned a couple.

T-13) Happ – 2 – Honestly a disappointing showing for someone that played as much as he did.  Maybe the young kid will rebound in 2019.

T-13) Montgomery – 2

T-13) Quintana – 2

#12) Hamels – 3 – Cole joined the team late and made quite an interesting impact. I’m afraid of what a full season would bring.

Not #86…#9

T-9) Almora – 4 – Almora got a good amount of playing time this year and he did pretty well.  His defense was important and occasionally flashy.  His hitting was strong for the first half of the year to the point where I would have picked Albert as our fourth All-Star, if we were to have one.

Hoping he doubles this

T-9) Bryant – 4 – Kris was also hampered by injuries.  That’s too bad, because I have plenty of cards I could have used.  We need our MVP back and close to form.

I love these blues

T-9) Contreras – 4 – The first catching All-Star since Geovany Soto, I believe.  His second half wasn’t as impressive, but he did enough and I enjoy watching him.

He’s been more dominant

#8) Hendricks – 5

T-5) Bote – 7 – Okay, I’m not showing a Bote card (or Coghlan), but he had a lot of impactful moments in his Bryant-filling-in.  I doubt 2019 will be as kind to him, but for now he’s a fan favorite.

If honeycombs were triangles

T-5) Heyward – 7 – Jason markedly improved at the plate, and I hope the trend continues.  It seems the power is mostly gone, but that’s alright.  The glove is still there and we have enough power guys.  Someone needs to be on base for those homers.

Waiting for the Old Age Performers

T-5) Schwarber – 7 – Looking back, I’m surprised his number was so large.

This is the purple refractor

T-3) Lester – 8 – On to #3, Jon was clearly the Cubs best pitcher, and earned an All-Star slot.  I’m hoping he can continue to hold it down.

Couldn’t find a good Cubs card, so here’s the blue mojo #/75

T-3) Zobrist – 8 – Zobrist was the under the radar winner this year.  He was consistent for the first half and steadily increased production in the second half.

Gallery of Very Good

#2) Rizzo – 10 – Second place was a ten game win from Anthony Rizzo.  There was once a time when he was considered to be a future MVP.  I don’t know if that’s still on the table, but you never know.  For now, that narrative has shifted to…

Many wanted to trade this man

Team MVP) Baez – 15 – You had to see this coming.  Javy was deservedly the runner-up for the NL MVP race.  Yelich was the better player overall, but man was it a blast to watch Baez play this year.  And last year. And it will be again next year.  Just don’t trade him!