I absolutely love it when I stumble across a new trading partners and then that turns into an actual trading relationship. I put together several trades in 2019 with Brandon S. (stoob at TCDB), who has become one of my favorite trading partners of late. In fact, we have another one in the works as of this post.

The first trade came back in October, and was a lovely small PWE affair. I landed that beautiful 2019 Stadium Club card of Nolan Ryan that you see up top, as well as a non-RC rookie card of Yordan Álvarez from 2019 Bowman Platinum. It makes me unreasonably livid that he missed the RC shield cutoff by a single day.* Gonna be fun to pick up 2020 RC’s of the 2019 Rookie of the Year. Oh, excuse me, could you hear my eyes rolling?

* Literally a single day. Tommy Edman debuted on June 8th, and got the RC shield. Yordan debuted on June 9th and does not. I’m speechless, aside from a lot of choice words for Topps.

The other thing that makes me unreasonably angry about Astros cards in 2019? Oh, just the fact that Kyle Tucker is the solitary rookie prospect shoved into all the small sets,* even though he didn’t make it back up to the big club until the end of the year.** I get it, there’s a lot of hype around him, and the Ted stuff from last Spring Training certainly doesn’t help dissuade that. But, like, the kid has far from proven himself and we have some other prospects. I’m stoked to have some Tucker cards, but I wish Topps and Panini had varied the checklists a bit. At any rate, this pair from Panini Chronicles was pretty nice.

* There was a small bit of variance here, with the occasional Forrest Whitley insert appearance and Corbin Martin getting onto a couple of the Chronicles checklists, but by and large it’s Tucker you see on all the checklists.

** Literally the 45th of 45 Astros to appear in a game this year.

This package finished out with some aughts Astros stars. I really like that Flair Showcase set, and Roy O is always welcome around these parts. The Lee is from a 2009 Allen & Ginter insert series.

I think as soon as those cards were sent off, I got another trade offer from Brandon. That led to this trio of shiny things in early November: a lovely Unparalleled* Alex Bregman from Panini Chronicles, a Dean Deetz refractor from 2019 Chrome, and a sepia refractor of Cionel Pérez from 2019 Chrome Update. Oh, back to things that infuriate me about Topps: They used standard numbering for Chrome Update (without the US), but didn’t designate anywhere on the card that it is from Update. So the normal set and the Update series are indistinguishable if you’re just looking at cards and don’t have the checklist.

* This design was so sharp that I decided to build the full set.

The break before the next PWE in the string was a little longer this time, as these cards came in early December. I finally picked up that ’01 Topps Mazeroski from the Golden Moments subset. That it took this long to find one is sort of wild. The two other cards were some spectacularly shiny parallels from the 2019 Prizm set, a red Brantley and a purple Valdéz.

We had two trades going on at that same moment, but one envelope rolled in and after about a week I started wondering where the other was. Well, it turns out that some scumbag broke into Brandon’s car and took, among other things, the outgoing mail on his passenger seat. So he sent these two along to make up for it. See what I mean about Tucker getting into all the small sets? Here’s a holo (prism) version of his card from the Titan set in Chronicles.

Our latest swap rolled in a few weeks ago, and started off with these two Astros parallels. That’s a Wood parallel of Correa from 2018 Gallery and a super-duper holo prism parallel of our lost boy Gerrit (single tear) from 2019 Optic.

Then there was this trio of baby-Stros from 2013 Pro Debut. Tropeano and Singleton both had stints with Houston, but Aplin never reached the majors. He spent last year split between Arizona’s AAA club and a stint with Lancaster of the Atlantic League.

There were a couple cards in this package that actually weren’t Astros, but rather for some sets I decided to build this year. That included a lovely Ohtani for the 1970 Candy Lids out of Heritage and a Brendan Rodgers rookie from the Unparalleled* set out of Chronicles.

* Yes, this set has parallels.

And finally, some minis. The Marigold nets me another flower for the lovely In Bloom set, and the trio of baby animals brought me quite close to finishing the New to the Zoo set. I’m down to just four of those left, so if you have a spare of the Hippo, Rhino, Orangutan, or Tiger, please hit me up.

Thanks for all the trades, Brandon! Looking forward to the next one arriving soon, and whatever comes afterward.

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