For Part 2, I'll focus on some of my favorites from the 200-card base set, which is chock-full of awesome photography, as anyone who has seen this product knows.
|2014 Stadium Club #117 Don Mattingly|
More on the retirees later, but for now we'll shift gears into some current baseball stars, starting with Prince Albert.
|2014 Stadium Club #60 Albert Pujols|
The unusual perspective of this picture lets an interested fan pinpoint it to the day. The catcher behind the plate is Brayan Pena, who wore #55 for the Detroit Tigers as a backup catcher. He only spent one season as a Tiger, and the only game he started in Anaheim that year was on April 21st, 2013. I find that this kind of detective work is one of the most fun things to do with a baseball card. When the photo allows it, the card gains a certain immortality, like George Brett's 1994 Topps card, which Nick crowned as one of his earliest "Gems of Junk Wax".
|1994 Topps #180 George Brett|
The great (and often horizontal) photography continues, capturing Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes mid-swing.
|2014 Stadium Club #29 Jose Reyes|
Something about this top-down shadowy photo reminds me of another of this community's favorite cards, Orel Hershiser's from 1997 Upper Deck.
|1997 Upper Deck #53 Orel Hershiser|
I can't pinpoint this one to the day, but southpaw Jon Singleton is either motioning for the ball...
|2014 Stadium Club #4 Jon Singleton (RC)|
I still long for the days of Houston being an NL club, as was the case when they wore these jerseys:
|2014 Stadium Club #94 George Springer (RC)|
Some of the most boring sets in history (read: 1990 Topps) could take a lesson from this. No one would care about that set in the slightest if not for Frank Thomas' "No Name on Front" error card.
[Scan not available. That's an $800 card.]
I mentioned earlier that there are a mixture of current players and retired greats to be found here. I'll start with perhaps the most Canadian baseball card ever, of Colorado native Roy Halladay throwing out the first pitch.
|2014 Stadium Club #21 Roy Halladay|
Halladay only recently hung up his spikes, but some older legends appear too.
|2014 Stadium Club #113 Johnny Bench|
Something about this set (perhaps the lack of recycled photographs) keeps inspiring me to research each one as though I were some kind of baseball-obsessed art historian. (As though?) Armed with my hypothesis, I found this photo on Getty Images, which confirms my guess of Shea Stadium, though doesn't specify a date. It's probably the same place Topps got it.
The cards of retired players even go back to the black-and-white days, such as a very young-looking Al Kaline.
|2014 Stadium Club #77 Al Kaline|
While we're on the subject of milestones, I think this is an appropriate time for Roberto Clemente to appear.
|2014 Stadium Club #127 Roberto Clemente|
The Puerto Rican Hall-of-Famer was the first Latino player to make it in to Cooperstown, blazing the trail for the many Latino players and prospects in the game today. The card back tells us that "schools and streets have been named after Roberto", and his memory inspired a conversation my girlfriend and I had a few days ago, when she mentioned the amazing Puerto Rican cuisine (specifically rice and beans) that can be found near Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago.
Another player that put his career aside to serve a greater good was Red Sox great Ted Williams, who flew for the US Marine Corps in training during World War II, returned to baseball, and then saw combat action in Korea several years later.
|2014 Stadium Club #133 Ted Williams|
In addition to being a Marine aviator, "The Splendid Splinter" (how awesome are those old-time nicknames?) was the last player to hit over .400 in a season, and even ran his own baseball card company in the early 1990s.
|1994 Ted Williams #79 Bill Mazeroski|
For one last card, I'm going to co-opt all the orange that appears on Adam Jones' card...
|2014 Stadium Club #102 Adam Jones|