Greetings from Chicago!
Earlier today, my Dad and I arrived in the Windy City to attend the 40th National Sports Collectors Convention which begins tomorrow.
After having the time of our lives at the show in Cleveland last summer, we made the decision, almost instantly, to return for our 2nd NSCC show. The fact that this year's convention is situated in Chicago made this even better, for we're seeing the Cubs battle the Brewers this Friday at 1:20 pm.
Admittedly, I haven't been following the Cubs as closely over the last 2 seasons as I did from 2015-2017. Although the purpose of this trip is certainly to acquire Baseball cards, I hope it also revives my interest in the Cubs as a whole.
After all, they have an incredibly talented roster, and they're playing extremely well in 2019, led by their franchise player, Kris Bryant.
When healthy, KB is one of Baseball's greatest all-around players. His 2018 season was plagued with injuries, and he was never truly at his best. Now, Bryant, Rizzo, and the rest of the Chicago Cubs are having an incredible season, so this game against Milwaukee is destined to be memorable.
Despite being just 27 years old, Bryant is among my sizeable player collections. Before leaving for The National, I had 72 cards cataloged of the 2016 NL MVP. I'm interested to see if and how that number will grow over the next few days.
#5 2018 Topps Kris Bryant Highlights
Though I'm not typically fond of these single-player insert sets, exclusive to Target and Walmart, I'll admit that I love the design of the Kris Bryant cards from 2018 Topps Series 1. This isn't the final time you'll this iconic photo appear on the list, but that doesn't make the card any less special.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Bryant's reaction to the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series will go down as one of the most iconic photos in recent memory. I was thrilled to see his smile immortalized on cardboard along with an excellent card design, especially with the ivy on the lefthand side.
#4 2016 Topps Heritage
I'm going to ask for you guys' help regarding these Chicago Cubs caps because I am totally unfamiliar with and have never seen these hats before. Regardless, Bryant's 2016 Topps Heritage card was one of the first cards I ever pulled of his, so I remember all the details very well.
Most importantly, I remember how excited I was to finally be able to collect Kris Bryant without paying a premium. This card, along with his Series 1 base card, allowed me to collect cards of the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year more easily.
The All-Star rookie trophy definitely succeeds in giving this card a 60s vibe, but it also makes me wish that Topps would bring these back for modern-day cards
#3 2019 Topps Gypsy Queen
Due primarily to the lack of value, I'm always skeptical when it comes to purchasing Topps Gypsy Queen, no matter how much I'm thinking of spending. Even when you take all of my problems with GQ into account, there's no denying that the base cards, especially in 2019, are gorgeous.
The 2019 design is my favorite set since at least 2013, and the beautiful cards may go down as the best of all-time when all is said and done. Kris Bryant's base card is no exception, for it features a beautiful Wrigley Field background and a near-perfect shot of #17.
The set seems perfect for the photo of Bryant while also embodying what Gypsy Queen is all about. However, it was up against some tough competition, so the highest I could rank the 2019 card is #3.
#2 2017 Topps Stadium Club
I don't know what it is about the Oakland Athletics dugout, but it seems to make frequent appearances on Topps Baseball cards. From Xander Bogaerts' 2017 Topps Bunt insert to Carlos Santana's 2019 Stadium Club card, it appears that non-A's players are featured more in this dugout than members of the Athletics.
With that being said, Bryant's 2017 Topps Stadium Club card takes this to another level. For starters, he's wearing the iconic Cubs pajama uniforms in what I assume to be a throwback game against the A's. Second, his teammate Anthony Rizzo appears on this card as well.
If any 2 players could get 1 card together in a set like Stadium Club, Bryzzo would get my vote. These sluggers have been the face of the Chicago Cubs for years now, and they played a critical role in the 2016 World Series.
#1 2017 Topps Heritage Action Image Variation
I mentioned earlier that this iconic photo of Kris Bryant would appear once more on the list. Evidently, that placement is the #1 spot, featuring an action image variation card from 2017 Topps Heritage.
Along with the notorious Cubs quad relic, I remember pulling this card of KB just after the Cubs ended their 108-year title drought. There were a ton of Cubs cards in 2017 Topps Heritage, and this fantastic SP happens to be one of them.
I know the 1968 Topps set has received mixed reviews from Baseball card collectors, but I personally love the risk that Topps took with the set. The burlap design has become one of my favorites, particularly as far as Heritage is concerned.
If you compare the 2 backgrounds, it's evident that Topps photoshopped the 2017 version to include more overjoyed Cubs fans, a thoughtful effort but an inaccurate representation of the game.
That doesn't change my opinion of the card though, because, photoshopped or not, the Heritage SP does an unmatchable job of capturing one of the greatest moments in sports history.
Now that is a card worthy of the #1 spot.