Elly De La Cruz Is the Face of 2024 Topps Chrome

Elly’s Topps Chrome Madden Moment

Date: Jul 5, 2024
Author: Tom Devoto
Topics: 2024 Topps Chrome Baseball, Cover Star, Elly De La Cruz, MLB, Tom Devoto
Length: 710 Words
Reading Time: ~4 Minutes

From the day he arrived in Major League Baseball on June 6, 2023, Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz was a threat to his opponents. 

In his first game, Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers took a surprising amount of care not to throw anything over the plate to the young rookie. In his first-ever MLB at-bats, he was already getting the superstar treatment. He ended up smacking a double and earning two walks. 

But his first swing of his second game officially put the entire league on notice. Former All-Star righty Noah Syndergaard tried to challenge De La Cruz with an 0-1 fastball high and tight, but De La Cruz wasn’t fooled. Not only did he catch up to it — he sent it a mile, nearly out of Great American Ballpark. 

“Oh, goodness!” yelled Cincinnati Reds play-by-play announcer John Sadak. “That ball had a family!”

As the ball landed in the last row of the right field grandstands, De La Cruz flung his bat aside and flashed four fingers on each hand to his dugout to represent his jersey number. Yes, the league would be on high alert from then on.

More than a year and 150 games later, De La Cruz still regularly wows spectators with incredible feats of athleticism — whether he’s up at the plate, manning shortstop, or running the bases. He is the cover star for 2024 Topps Chrome Baseball.

Elly’s 2024 Topps Chrome Moment

In the mind of Topps senior brand manager Wes Elliott, that gargantuan home run stands out as Elly’s signature play. You could name many others, too. There were his successive steals of second base, third base, and home in the span of two pitches. He’s only the second player to have done that in one plate appearance, and the first since Hall-of-Famer Rod Carew in 1969. 

There are also the seemingly routine plays that he makes look unbelievable, like when he reached a running speed of 31.2 miles per hour to beat out a line drive hit to first base for an infield single. Or when he uncorked a 99.7 mile-per-hour throw from shallow center field to thwart speedy outfielder Corbin Carroll’s inside-the-park homer bid. 

How can these routine plays — an infield single, a relay throw — be so mind-boggling? Yes, with Elly, the mundane is anything but. And that’s part of the reason Elliott knew he’d have to be on the cover.

“He’s just electric,” Elliott said. “Coming in and making waves like he did — almost as if he was a vet — he seems destined to be a star.”

In his second season, De La Cruz has continued to electrify. Slightly more than halfway through the season, the six-foot-five infielder has 15 home runs and is leading the majors with 42 stolen bases — and the next closest only has 28. He’s also tops in the National League with six triples. Since it seems like he approaches every at bat with the goal of literally demolishing the baseball, De La Cruz also leads the league in strikeouts — much less taboo than it used to be, as today’s game prioritizes power over contact. It’s just part of the Elly Experience — whenever he factors into the play, he’s going all-out, no excuses.     

And he fits an electric card product. Taking the baton from 2023 cover star Adley Rutschman, De La Cruz encapsulates the spirit of Topps Chrome: bold, remarkable, and unforgettable. The Topps 2024 rookie class is deep, so De La Cruz was anything but a shoo-in — this year’s rookie set also includes Baltimore Orioles infielder (and top prospect in baseball) Jackson Holliday, Texas Rangers outfielder Wyatt Langford, and New York Yankees outfielder Jasson Dominguez. 

But in the end, it couldn’t be anyone but Elly. Like its cover star, Chrome cards shine — in this case, thanks to upscale chromium card stock. With tons of rookies and established stars to collect, this year’s Chrome set gives the Hobby plenty of reasons for excitement — and, of course, Elly sets the tone.         

“If there were ever a product deserving of a rookie who delivers that kind of excitement, it’d be Topps Chrome,” Elliott said. 

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