By David Yarger
Co-Host The Chase
The MLB season is rounding second, as the All-Star break signals it’s time to begin the back half of the trek around the bases. While many players have turned heads in the hobby, one player has stood out and made a name for himself – proving to be worth the hype.
While the kid is still young at 21 years of age, Elly De La Cruz has done nothing but act as a human highlight reel for the league. With his mix of defense, power and speed, he’s been a regular on the MLB social media pages.
In just 30 games, De La Cruz boasts a .325 average with 16 stolen bases, four home runs and 16 RBIs. These numbers have helped catapult the Cincinnati Reds – projected by many to be basement dwellers in the National League Central – to a 50-41 start and in control of the central division by one game.
While the stats are dandy and highlights even more exhilarating, hobbyists are going crazy for the Reds young phenom.
Saturday, De La Cruz stole second base, third base and home plate within just a couple pitches, becoming the first Reds player since 1919 to steal all three bases in the same inning.
The highlight still sends rushes through this collector’s veins after multiple views.
The feat, though, didn’t go unrecognized by Topps, as the very next day, a Topps Now card was published to their site.
There was a base version with a picture of De La Cruz diving into home plate and also a triple relic card featuring the bases and home plate swiped by the speed demon. The relic card, which was priced nearing $500, sold out rapidly.
On the back of the relic card, Topps wrote, “The home plate relic contained in this card was obtained from American Family Field on 7/8/23 under the auspices of the MLB Authentication Program. The base relics were obtained from the Milwaukee Brewers.”
This card featured versions numbered to 199, 99, 49, 25, 10, 5 and 1.
Since his call up on June 6th, Elly mania has erupted in the hobby. Dave & Adam’s own Alaina Jonathan recently did a video featuring the top-five most expensive De La Cruz cards, which required two recordings, because of the ever-changing atmosphere of the hobby.
In the video, several Bowman Sapphire cards make the cut, with all five topping five-figure sales. The craziest part of the ordeal is that the top card is NOT a one of one.
The one of one Superfractor pulled from 2022 Bowman Baseball was pulled by Best Card Breaks and the lucky recipient of the card turned around sold it for $8,400 on Goldin.co in June of 2022. The even crazier note is, this card was graded a PSA 10.
The transaction bares the question – how much would this card be if it was held?
From one collector to another, I get that it is definitely difficult to project that Elly would be as good as he has been and it is tough to shy away from over $8,000.
To give some insight on De La Cruz’s jump in the hobby, let’s take a glimpse at eBay’s price guide tool. With a simple search of “Elly De La Cruz First Bowman” collectors can see that on April 24, the average De La Cruz First Bowman sold for an average of $18.17. At the time of publishing this blog, the average price is now $54.52.
While the majority of the products that you can find De La Cruz in include Bowman and Topps Now, just to name some we have discussed, it will be interesting in the months and year to come to see when his first official rookie cards come about.
We all know what the chase was like for Anthony Volpe, Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, Corbin Carroll and many more rookies these last few months in Topps Series 1 and 2. Once it is announced what product De La Cruz will debut in, it’s easy to suspect that hobbyists will rush to hoard all the De La Cruz rookies possible.
Whether or not De La Cruz can keep up this pace of play is still to be seen, but for now, Elly Mania is alive and real.