Card of the Day: Will Clark 2020 Topps Stadium Club #200

Card of the Day: Aaron Nola 2016 Topps Stadium Club Auto

Card of the Day: Erik Pappas 1994 Topps Stadium Club #448

Card of the Day: Chan Ho Park 1999 Topps Stadium Club #112

Card of the Day: Pat Elynuik 1992-93 Topps Stadium Club #410

Card of the Day: Todd Zeile 1996 Topps Stadium Club #420

The Topps Foil Test Technology That Brought Us Desert Shield and Stadium Club

Upper Deck set a new standard for card quality after they released their first set in 1989.  Collectors got a taste of what “premium” cards were like, and they weren’t about to turn back.  Other card companies had to figure out ways to amp-up their cards.  If not, they could’ve easily lost their fan base.  Adapt or die!

Topps wasn’t completely out of the loop when it came to making “premium” cards.  Long before Upper Deck arrived, Topps made Tiffany factory sets.  These mimicked the overall design of that year’s Topps set, but were printed on higher quality card stock.  To this day it still amazes me what some collectors are willing to spend on a Tiffany base card of a star.  Even when its not a rookie.  But just switching to better stock for their normal sets wouldn’t be enough to compete.  It was time to bring on the foil.

1990 Topps Baseball is a poster child of the overproduction era.  Unless you’re talking about it’s Tiffany counterpart, Frank Thomas no-name rookie, or George Bush card, there isn’t much value to look for.  The base design is one of my all-time favorites though – lots of color!  While browsing through the grocery store in 1990, I bet many of you can remember spotting those 100-card bricks known as jumbo packs.  Inside each of those packs was a specially made Glossy Rookies card.  The set commemorates popular rookies from the previous season.  Most of the players have rookie cards in products from 1989.

In order to step-up their game, Topps tested some new printing techniques.  They took tons of regular Glossy Rookies and printed a foil stripe across the front.  You can find them in a variety of colors – blue, purple, green, red, silver, and gold.  The stripe can be in multiple locations as well.  One card may have it straight across the player’s face, while another could be near the bottom.  Multiple colors for each player can be found in many different positions.  Occasionally you’ll see cards with two stripes, but I’ve never seen one with two different colors.  Usually if there are two, the colors match.  If that isn’t enough, the asterisk variations carry over to these foil tests.  Every player in the Glossy Rookies set has a card with one and two asterisks on the back.  For those collectors who are obsessed with variations, this could be an endless battle.  Ken Griffey, Jr. is the most popular foil test.

Looking back at what companies tested in order to stay relevant and in the game can be interesting.  The lessons Topps learned from this foil test issue were implemented in their Desert Shield and Stadium Club sets.

Card of the Day: Jim Harbaugh 1991 Topps Stadium Club #396

Card of the Day: Brady Anderson 1992 Topps Stadium Club #303

2019 Topps Stadium Club Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

In an age where high-end hits continue to be the main focus of box breakers, Stadium Club aims to change that.  I’m going to say this right now.  Every Stadium Club box opened is a good box.  There isn’t a bad one in the bunch.

2019 Topps Stadium Club continues the tradition of superb and unique photography.  That’s what Stadium Club is all about.  The photos Topps uses are so entertaining to look at.  I truly believe this brand could survive without any hits at all just because of the photography.  That’s saying a lot, especially today.

When diving into a hobby box, you’ll find (16) packs with (8) cards inside each pack.  Sitting on top of the packs is an oversize box topper.  Some of these box toppers can be found with autographs and numbered to (10) copies or less.

The base set consists of (301) cards.  Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. made it in with card #301.  Full bleed photographs without a border really makes the pictures do all of the talking.  The checklist covers rookies, veterans, retired stars, and Hall of Famers.  Parallels of the base set include Red Foil (1:3), Black Foil (1:8), Sepia (Retail), Black/White (1:48 Hobby), Rainbow Foilboard #’ed/25 (1:147), Members Only (1:256), 1st Day Issue (1:367), Photographer’s Proof (1:513), and Gold Rainbow Foilboard #’ed 1/1 (1:1,808 Hobby).

SP Photo Variations are a bit more difficult to pick out because of all the unique photos used in the base set.  CMP codes can help:

  • Base – #768
  • SP Photo Variation – #805

What could make these base cards look better?  How about printing some on chrome stock?  That’s exactly what Topps did.  (90) Stadium Club Chrome cards can be pulled and have the following parallels: Refractor (1:64), Orange Refractor #’ed/99 (1:124), Gold Minted (1:257), and Superfractor #’ed 1/1 (1:5,976 Hobby).

Like I mentioned earlier, I strongly believe this brand could standalone without any hits.  But the on-card autographs do look really good.  Each hobby box should come with (2) autographs.

Autographs that you can get include Base Autographs, Base Chrome Autographs, Beam Team Autographs, Co-Signers Autographs, Emperors of the Zone Autographs, Lone Star Autographs, and Power Zone Autographs.

Inserts include Beam Team, Emperors of the Zone, Instavision, Power Zone, and Warp Speed.  Instavision inserts return as case hits.  Its fun to see the attention they receive on the secondary market considering they aren’t autographed.

I think its time we see some exclusive Stadium Club cards made for the National Sports Collectors Convention.  Its been years since that’s happened.  That concept could be taken in all sorts of directions.

It doesn’t matter if your two autographs are super valuable or not.  Once all of the packs are ripped, you’re going to be left with a nice selection of cards featuring memorable photographs.

Complete Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Stephen Tarpley Base Auto Redemption
  • Ramon Laureano Base Auto

Parallels

  • Javier Baez Warp Speed Red Foil
  • Charlie Blackmon Black/White
  • Yadier Molina Stadium Club Chrome Orange Refractor #’ed/99
  • Ronald Acuña Jr. Stadium Club Chrome
  • Javier Baez Black Foil
  • Chris Taylor Black Foil
  • Corbin Burnes Red Foil
  • Albert Almora Jr. Red Foil
  • Niko Goodrum Red Foil
  • Matt Chapman Red Foil
  • Robbie Ray Red Foil
  • Ramon Laureano Red Foil

Inserts

  • Juan Soto Oversize Box Topper
  • Christian Yelich Beam Team
  • Mookie Betts Warp Speed
  • Byron Buxton Warp Speed
  • Nolan Ryan Emperors of the Zone
  • Trevor Bauer Emperors of the Zone
  • Matt Carpenter Power Zone
  • Miguel Andujar Power Zone

Favorite Card

  • Christy Mathewson #29

Christy Mathewson attended Bucknell University, which is just a few miles away from where I live.  He’s buried in a cemetery next to the school.  Pretty neat considering he’s a member of the first Hall of Fame class.  Depending on the year, he’ll either have a bunch of cards made or none at all.