Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Less Exclusive Club

I've been adding to my vintage collection a bit lately, but don't for a moment think that I'm abandoning current cards.

Stadium Club's resurrection is back in force for a second year, and now available in convenient pack form at your local big box retailer. Last year, the high rollers in this hobby didn't think it stacked up to the overpriced insanity of Museum Collection and the like, so Topps must have figured that it wasn't quite appropriate as a hobby-store-only product.

So I tossed a pack into my red handbasket and ended up with a dozen cards of full-bleed awesomeness.

2015 Stadium Club #12 Giancarlo Stanton
They feel a little thicker than last year, and the subtle lightening under the nameplate reminds me a bit of Flair. And the top-notch photography just can't be beat. I can't quite tell who's behind the plate, absorbing pitches as Stanton bides his time to crush a monster home run. But it's a great example of an all-dirt "Tatooine" card, and we get a pretty good look at how the batters box and infield can be watered differently.

Stanton seems surprisingly forward in the batter's box, and if he tried to swing here, he definitely checked it.

2015 Stadium Club #88 Chris Davis
There were quite a few horizontal cards in this pack, but the vertical ones are typically more plentiful anytime there's a mixture. That holds true for 2015 Stadium Club, and let's be honest, Chris Davis' forearm is pretty much the focal point here. The steroid era may be over, but it still takes plenty of strength to lead the Majors in home runs. Of course, that happens the year after I picked him in fantasy baseball.

2015 Stadium Club #136 Reggie Jackson
I do enjoy seeing retired legends appear in the base set (as long as it's not in flagship), and Reggie rounds out a trio of HR-hitting stars. Though Davis and Stanton are both quite young, they have a long way to go before they match Jackson's 563 career dingers.

Jackson is probably most well-known among casual fans for his performance in the 1977 World Series, but as this card points out, he had quite a successful run in Oakland before donning the pinstripes.

2015 Stadium Club #35 Ryne Sandberg
Sandberg, on the other hand, was a Cubbie almost his entire career, at least until he returned to Philadelphia to manage the team that drafted him. I've seen this card on many blogs, and it's a favorite of mine, too. The sharpness of modern printing does blow me away from time to time, as the texture of Ryno's jersey and the stains on his hat almost pop off the cardboard.

2015 Stadium Club Legends Die Cut #LDC-04 Willie Mays
If you remember the hobby box of 2014 Stadium Club I bought, then you'll recall that I pulled a Willie Mays insert from one of the mini-boxes that year too. Between the card above, last year's Field Access card, and a serial-numbered rarity from Topps High Tek, I've been having awesome luck pulling Mays cards the past year or so.

Die-cut cards are hit or miss for me. Topps Chrome has been going way overboard in recent years, but this Mays is just about my speed. And the color-coding across this insert set is great, especially this copper-colored Giants card.

2015 Stadium Club #13 Ernie Banks
It's not every day that President Obama drapes a Presidential Medal of Freedom around your neck. Like Mays and of course Jackie Robinson, Banks was one of the first African-American players in the MLB. Despite the obvious challenges that remain in this country, a baseball card depicting America's first black president awarding a medal to an early black baseball player many years his senior is a positive and inspirational image, reminding us of how far we've come, yet also how far we have to go.

Other than the obvious Sammy Sosa, Banks is second all-time in Cubs home runs, so his baseball career is nothing to sneeze at, either. Unfortunately for both him and Ryno, neither ever competed in a World Series, but after the recent passing of Mr. Banks, this would be the perfect year for the Cubs to change that.


  1. This is really a nice set. One of the few modern sets I'm working on putting together. I dig that Mays card

  2. A gorgeous Sandberg. So refreshing to see new shots being used!