Friday, October 12, 2018

Top 5 Cards; Jose Altuve

After dominating the first round of the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row with this years' victim being the Cleveland Indians, the 103-win Houston Astros team led by reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve are definitely going to pose a threat to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS with Game 1 starting at 8:00 pm tomorrow from Fenway Park.

One of the best if not the best player on a loaded 2017 World Championship team, 2nd baseman Jose Altuve combined his stellar speed with an extremely productive offensive and defensive season on route to a 2017 AL MVP award. Although he didn't match his numbers from last season in 2018, his .316 average with 13 homers and 61 RBI cannot be ignored nor can his 17 stolen bases this season. 

Throughout their 2017 playoff run, Altuve was a major contributor to the Houston offense, and he's already homered and driven in 2 so far in the 2018 playoffs. In fact, it's these types of performances that have caused my Jose Altuve player collection to reach 41 total cards. With a thrilling series set to begin tomorrow, here are my 5 favorite cards of Jose Altuve.

#5 2016 Topps Archives 1969 Topps Super
Though it's not my favorite of their current day uniforms, the alternate dark blue Astros jerseys feel a bit underrepresented to me, at least on baseball cards. One of the standout insert sets from the last few seasons, the 1969 Topps Super cards from 2016 Topps Archives did something I always like to see from an Archives or Heritage set. They chose excellent photography and paired that with an equally well-recreated set design. 

In the end, the product was an insert set, and a specific card, that continues to stand out to me among recent releases.

#4 2016 Topps Team Franklin
Another 2016 insert set to make the list, the Team Franklin inserts from 2016 Topps is another standout set to me, only for different reasons than the 2016 Topps Archives card above. While the 1969 Topps Super recreated set stood out to me because of it's homage to the original modern design, the Team Franklin insert is memorable for very different reasons. It's sleek and modern design is another standout, but by having the cards based off Franklin batting gloves, the concept is far more interesting than just the regular inserts you'd see in Topps Flagship. 

#3 2017 Panini Diamond Kings Aurora
When I picked this insert up at a card show around a year ago, I specifically remember choosing Altuve and I believe Clayton Kershaw's 2017 Panini Diamond Kings Aurora inserts because of how well they covered up the fact that the card is unlicensed. While the gorgeous colors already do enough to distract you from it, the placement of Altuve's jersey and cap could not be better at hiding the fact that Panini cannot show logos. That's why ever since I first picked this insert card up, it's been one of my favorite Jose Altuve cards.

#2 2013 Topps
Since this is a top 5 cards for an Astros player, I can't forget to mention the crazy and colorful rainbow jerseys from the 1980's that the Astros players occasionally wear today for various home games. I recall being ecstatic that one of these cards made it to cardboard, let alone a Topps base card with tons of possibilities for parallels. As of now, I have only the base version and the Opening Day card, but I could definitely add parallels of this card to my long list of cards that I look to purchase someday on COMC.

#1 2011 Topps Update
I don't always choose rookie cards to make it on top 5 cards lists due to the fact that I don't always find they're the best I have to offer of a player, but Jose Altuve's 2011 Topps Update rookie card is an exception to this role. The card is from 2011, a couple of seasons before the Astros' move to the American League and the changing of their jerseys. That, combined with the fact that I found this Altuve rookie in the dime bins and that I'm currently in the process of getting it graded makes this card extra special for me and an excellent choice for the #1 spot.

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