Friday, October 16, 2009

Box Break - 1991 Topps Stadium Club Series 1 Baseball

I picked up this box about a month ago when I made a run to the local hobby shop on a Friday night. I remember this set vividly from when I was a kid, it was released when I was just 8 years old. From what I recall this was a "higher end" product, which in 8-year-old terms was around $2.50 - $3 per pack. Needless to say I didn't end up with very much of it at the time. Thanks to overproduction and a waning interest as the years have passed, the cards can now be found for much cheaper, as is the case with most sets from this era. The only really viable hobby shop left in my area almost never has anything but new packs and vintage singles, so when I saw this box for $15 I was more than happy to pay that price. Before I even picked it up though, the owner saw me eyeing the box and said he'd part with it for $8. Sold!!!

This was the first year that Stadium Club was produced. Hockey and baseball sets were released as well with basically the same exact design, I'm not sure about football though. The fact that this is the first full Stadium Club baseball release, combined with the great photography and a solid design make this an essential set for my collection. I've finally got all the cards busted and sorted. 12 cards per pack, 36 packs in the box for 432 cards. There is only a 300 card base set, no inserts or parallels (those were the days!) so I figured I'd end up with most of the set and a good pile of doubles to trade away. All said and done I got 285 out of the 300 base cards, 95% of the set. I have 184 doubles and triples, and 12 cards were damaged and discarded. There are so many good cards in this set, but here are a few choice favorites...

#5 - Will Clark - San Francisco Giants - This is one of the cards I did have from this set when I was a kid. Will Clark and Nolan Ryan were the two players I collected, and this was always one of my favorite Clark cards.

#8 - Marquis Grissom - Montreal Expos - Whole lotta blue on this card...

#26 - Dave Justice - Atlanta Braves - I think this was one of the better cards to get from this set back in the day. Definitely one of the cards I remembered before opening the box.

#42 - Lee Smith - St. Louis Cardinals - Great portrait shot of one of the game's all time best closers. Will Lee ever make the Hall of Fame? It doesn't seem likely but I'd love to see him get in personally.

#48 - Steve Avery - Atlanta Braves - I picked this card just because I really liked the sharp contrast between the red uniform and blue wall behind Steve.

#49 - Walt Weiss - Oakland Athletics - Great action shot featuring B.J. Surhoff, who will make an appearance a little further down the page.

#70 - Ozzie Guillen - Chicago White Sox - Nice shot of Ozzie Guillen in a retro uniform. Most if not all of the Chicago White Sox in this set are featured in these same uniforms. Good stuff...

#95 - Gary Sheffield - Milwaukee Brewers - This is back when I actually liked Gary Sheffield.

#108 - Ellis Burks - Boston Red Sox - I think I like horizontal cards better because you get so much more of the background captured in the shot, like this great scene at Fenway Park.

#120 - Rickey Henderson - Oakland Athletics - Rickey looks like he's about to be tagged out by Sandy Alomar.

#138 - Eric Show - ? - I don't know what to say about this one. Of course, there were some cards in the hockey set that were just as bad.

#200 - Nolan Ryan - Texas Rangers - Probably the most iconic card from the set, Nolan featured in pitching stance with cleats and Rangers hat, but in a suit against a photo studio backdrop. Say what you want about the card, but I like it. At least it wasn't short printed, and I recall it bringing a lot of attention to the set at the time. Card #1, Dave Stewart is very similar, with Stewart in a suit against the same backdrop.

#206 - B.J. Surhoff - Milwaukee Brewers - I can't explain why I like this one, I think it's just the horizontal layout with Surhoff off-center to the right. Makes him look like he's really flying around the base-paths.

#220 - Barry Bonds - Pittsburgh Pirates - I absolutely detest this man (although I do admit he takes the brunt of a problem that corroded the entire sport), and I've basically banned his cards from my blog and collection. In this case he looks so foolish that I'll make an exception.

#224 - Bo Jackson - Kansas City Royals - Bo really looks like a football player here. If you replaced that glove with a football, photoshopped a helmet on Bo and some hulking offensive lineman in the foreground, you could fool a few people...

#230 - Ryne Sandberg - Chicago Cubs - Great action shot with the Wrigley ivy in the background, like many of the Cubs cards in this set.

#244 - Orel Hershiser - Los Angeles Child Molesters - I've seen this one on other blogs, maybe Night Owl Cards, can't remember. Anyway, I'll leave it alone because I always liked Orel.

#255 - Todd Zeile - St. Louis Cardinals - The moment before impact...

#259 - Shane Mack - Minnesota Twins - I have no idea where Mack is, but I like the card.

#263 - Dave Winfield - California Angels - Another great posed shot here. Look at all those great California Angels batting helmets in the background.

#270 - Ken Griffey Jr. - Seattle Mariners - One of my favorite Ken Griffey Jr. cards...

#292 - Frank Viola - New York Mets - Killer glasses Frank. You can really see the dugout and sidelines in the reflection of the lenses, more interesting than your average card.

Well, that was a great experience for around the same price as eating out at McDonald's. I've got a whole bunch of doubles, so if anyone else is going for this set let me know. As always, I've updated the Zistle library will quality scans of every single card. If you still haven't checked out Zistle what are you waiting for?


night owl said...

Yeah, the Orel card was on my blog. I like Orel, but that thing is frightening.

The Shane Mack card is bizarre. Is Mack batting against his own team? Staged shot probably, but still odd.

Wrigley Wax said...

A little background on the Ozzie card: That was the Sox last season in old Comiskey and they held the major's very first "Turn Back the Clock" game. I went to the game with my dad and my two older boys- it was his father's day present. They didn't use the PA system and the organist, Nancy Faust, roamed the stands playing an accordion. They tried to make it feel like you were in Comiskey Park, circa 1910. After the Sox success, the concept of throwback uniforms took off.

PeteLevin said...

Check out Barry Bonds's wrist bands!! It's a picture of himself with the quote "Say no to drugs" underneath!

shoeboxlegends said...

Wrigley Wax, thanks for the background on the Sox uni's.

Pete, that is hilarious!!!

Sharpe said...

Wow, you're right the Clark card from this set is nice.

I don't have it and I'm a Clark collector.

I just started the '92 set as I found a big chunk of those cards when bringing everything back from my parents basement. I still need a few from Series 1 if you have any from that year that need a home.

Sal said...

Damn. I might have to add this to my very short "Baseball Set Want List". I own only 2 complete baseball sets, but might try to pick this one up if I find it.

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