Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Join the (Stadium) Club Part 1: The Hits

Like many of my fellow bloggers, I took advantage of a Cyber Monday sale at Dave and Adam's Card World and picked up a hobby box of the highly-anticipated 2014 Stadium Club for only $50. This contained three mini-boxes of six packs each, and this is the first time I've bought a hobby box of a current-year product in ages.

Despite that, these are not my first cards from 2014 Stadium Club. In fact, I composed a good deal of this post before the box even arrived. As you will see, I've already developed some pretty favorable impressions.

2014 Stadium Club Rainbow #66 Matt Cain
The photography in this set is amazing! Topps really put some effort into avoiding recycled shots and taking some truly entertaining pictures, like the trio of World Series champion Giants (including World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner) in retro wool uniforms. More on that in part two of this post, where I'll show some of my favorite base cards.

This one of Cain and two of his rotation buddies is a Rainbow parallel, and while there are several parallel sets, Topps hasn't gone overboard like they do in their flagship set and made a dozen different parallel colors. In fact, that's one of the benefits (and requirements) of a full-bleed design. The photography is so good that it doesn't even need a border.

The only thing I think is missing are "First Day Issue" parallels. I'd much rather see that (especially if they followed historical precedent and did a print run of 2,000) than the numerous colored parallels that Topps is becoming known for. During the overproduction era, First Day Issue cards were probably my favorite parallels, even more so than ToppsGold.

1994 Stadium Club First Day Issue #351 Scott Livingstone
You could reasonably expect to run across one once in a while, but they were still a big deal to find on a 10-year old's allowance.

I am also partial to the mid-1990s TSC logo rather than the current logo.

1995 Stadium Club #233 Shawn Green
Topps' retro department is welcome to use any of these ideas for future releases or inserts.

I've heard complaints about this set not having enough "hits" for high-end collectors. I don't get it. Three autographs per hobby box? In which galaxy is that not enough? In addition to the Charlie Blackmon autograph that I got from Julie at A Cracked Bat, this box also included on-card autographs from the American League: an Oriole and two Mariners.

2014 Stadium Club Autographs #SCA-RE Roenis Elias (AU)
Cuban southpaw Roenis Elias looks ready to deliver something that us mere mortals would have no chance of hitting. And he remains a Mariner, even after all the trading that has been going on this off-season.

In fact, this box would have been great for a Mariners fan, as one of the parallels is of ex-Yankee Robinson Cano in a sharp-looking Seattle throwback uniform.

2014 Stadium Club Rainbow #38 Robinson Cano
Like Cain's card, this is of the Rainbow variety, as were most of the parallels in this box. I did pull one each from the Gold...

2014 Stadium Club Gold #190 Todd Frazier
...and Electric Foil insert sets.

2014 Stadium Club Electric Foil #65 Yu Darvish
I've seen these referred to as "sparkle parallels", and that is an apt description, as the finish comes across well on the scanner, better than the Gold or Rainbow cards.

In fact, this might be the lone complaint I have about 2014 Stadium Club. Other than Gold, the special finish of the parallel cards is really hard to see unless the light is just perfect. I had to do a couple runs through the stack under bright light to make sure I didn't overlook one. I suppose it's a small price to pay for full-bleed printing, a design element that has all but vanished since Upper Deck lost their license.

On to the inserts, and a great shot of the Say Hey Kid interacting with some late-'50s fans. Part of what makes this product rather enjoyable is the inclusion of numerous retired stars and hall-of-famers.

2014 Stadium Club Field Access #FA-5 Willie Mays
This insert is unusual in that it is a rectangle. Most of the inserts seemed to be of the die-cut variety, which my scanner did a pretty good job on.

2014 Stadium Club Future Stars Die Cut #FS-2 Gerrit Cole
I am in agreement with Topps in labeling Gerrit Cole a "Future Star". His stat lines are impressive for such a young pitcher, and he already has some playoff experience under his belt with a strong Pirates team. Just as long as he can keep his elbow healthy.

Another player in that 10-card Future Stars insert set is Masahiro Tanaka, who after a short but unbelievably dominant stretch for the Yankees last year, is facing elbow problems. I didn't pull his Future Stars die-cut, but I did find his Triumvirate card with an even more elaborate design.

2014 Stadium Club Triumvirates Luminous #T7B Masahiro Tanaka
Triumvirates are part of a three-card grouping that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and look something like this when completed. This was the only one to be found in the whole box, but I like this concept and design, which has enough hexagons to eclipse even 2003 Topps Finest.

2003 Topps Finest Refractors #66 A.J. Burnett
The last die-cut I pulled was from the 10-card Legends set, which contains mega-stars like Stan Musial, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax...

2014 Stadium Club Legends Die Cut #LDC-8 Ken Griffey Jr.
...and Junior, who did not win the Rookie of the Year award in 1989, as the back of this card points out. This photo is from the strike-shortened 1994 season, when players league-wide wore the sepia-colored 125th Anniversary patch on the right sleeve. Sharp eyes will have noticed this on Shawn Green's 1995 card above.

That about does it for the "hits" from this discounted hobby box. I have a stack of base cards picked out for part 2 of this post, and it'll be a challenge to whittle it down. The photos are just that good.


4 comments:

  1. You got a Griffey! The box was a success.

    I, too, miss mid-90's Stadium Club. The ones you showed here are two of the best.

    And nothing against Greggggg Olsen, but I'm still irked about that ROY snub.

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  2. That Mays insert is fantastic!

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  3. I think it is safe to say that Stadium Club was my favorite set of the year. Great post!

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  4. $50 - half the release price! I'll wait it out next year and hope for a better deal. Good for you Adam!

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