Kansas City Royals' Minor Leaguer Daniel Tillo Is All About Trading Cards

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Daniel Tillo, a minor league starting pitcher in the Kansas City Royals organization, was drafted in the third round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Earlier this month, he purchased the most valuable and sought after baseball card of himself on eBay, a 2017 Bowman Chrome Superfractor, which is serial numbered 1/1. Superfractors are regarded as the most sought after Bowman Chrome card in the sports card world. Once Tillo purchased it, he tweeted out that he had just bought the card of himself.

Tillo had seen his Superfractor listed on eBay for about a month and was going back and forth with the seller trying to obtain the card. “I ended up getting the card for around $325,” said Tillo. Almost immediately, he received reactions about the tweet of him buying this unique card of himself. These reactions included many sports card enthusiasts throughout the world, including Gary Vaynerchuk, Kansas City Royals fans and other sports card collectors and buyers.

One Royals fan, Terry Gardner, even offered Tillo another similar card of the pitcher, serial numbered 1/1, the Bowman Black base version. “When I saw his tweet, I thought it was cool that he had bought his own card and liked collecting. I got to thinking about it and remembered that I had one of his cards,” said Gardner. Eventually, Tillo and Gardner were able to connect through Twitter. “I just tweeted to Daniel I had one of his cards and wanted him to have it. He offered to buy it, but I did not want money for it. He has since put a signed baseball in the mail for me and my son,” said Gardner. Tillo also suggested in a tweet that he may be able to obtain game tickets for Gardner and his son should he receives a call up to the majors in 2020. Gardner got back into sports cards starting in 2011 and has been collecting Royals ever since.

Tillo has always been interested in sports cards dating back to his childhood: “I have been collecting since I was ten years old, my older brother first got me into sports cards,” says Tillo. The process of having your own baseball card being created is an exciting experience for an athlete. “Once I realized I was going to be a high draft pick, I realized I was going to get a card of myself,” said Tillo.

Sportscard collectors or buyers collect a wide variety of players and products, and the same applies to Tillo. “I collect all sports, especially football, Prizm football is my favorite product and Optic is growing on me,” said Tillo. One of Tillo’s favorite football players is Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield. “The way he goes about himself just fires me up,” said Tillo.

Similar to a lot of sports card collectors or buyers, Tillo is collecting as a hobby but also wants to start buying players cards that can increase in value. “I enjoy buying and collecting as a hobby, but now also investing in players that I think will jump in value. Keston Hiura is a guy I like a lot to go up a lot in value for the 2020 season,” said Tillo.

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Many sports card collectors or buyers are always wanting to expand on what they are buying, and the same applies to Tillo. “I started expanding more into buying more baseball and basketball cards. Once I signed my contract is when I started buying more cards again, ripping more packs and getting hobby boxes,” said Tillo. Since Tillo invested in sports cards, are there more professional athletes doing the same thing? “I haven’t seen too many other professional baseball players buying sports cards that I know of, I know Phil Hughes does a lot and many of my teammates want to show me their old cards,” said Tillo. There is still a big unknown if other athletes like Tillo are buying sports cards, let alone cards of themselves. Will other professional athletes start buying sports cards more or possibly invest in a high-end sports card of themselves similar to Tillo? Only time will tell.

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