Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Beg You Topps!

A great photograph of a baseball player will make for a great baseball card.  This is simple and baseball card collectors love seeing a creative pose, a goofy image or a great action shot showcased on cardboard.  I also feel that a cool looking photo can make up for a crummy set design.  When a great photo and a snazzy card design are combined, that will make for a truly memorable set.

There used to be a time in the baseball card world where Topps had a set that seemed dedicated to making the greatness of the photograph the key element to a set.  This set was called Topps Stadium Club.

The cards were glossy and clean.  The photos and colors were sharp.  The sets seemed to be next level photography, whereas their other sets seemed to buy photos from some amateurs fresh out of college.

Topps Stadium Club was for the pros that new about color schemes and perfect lighting.  Topps needs to bring Stadium Club back.

Luckily, Colbey from Cardboard Collections brought some Stadium Club boxes into his monthly group break rotation.  He was breaking some great boxes from my youth in the 90s.  I immediately jumped at the chance to claim the Dodgers in this break.  That was the type of break that I have been waiting for.

Brett Butler diving headfirst into a base and he has a mustache.  Wait, Butler had a mustache?!?!  I had no idea.  The image of Brett Butler having a 'stache had completely escaped my mind.

This may be the only image of such a sighting and it happened to be a photo taken by one of the great sports photographers that teamed up with Topps.

As I was flipping through the cards that Colbey sent me, I was thinking of doing a bunch of posts about the awesome Stadium Club cards that I received.  I was going to break it down by player.  The stack that I got from the break was over a hundred cards.  Topps in the 90s actually gave us a decent amount of cards per a pack back then.

Instead of weeks of posts about this break, which probably would have burnt me out on these sets and would inflame my handful of fans, I decided to pack some of the highlights in one post.

It was fun for me just to sort out all my group break winnings.  I saw some multiple great looking cards of players I liked such as Brett Butler and players I loathed such as Jose Offerman.

Even this photo makes Jose Offerman actually look like a pro ballplayer.  He looks like a player with skill and that adds excitement to the game.  The magic of Topps Stadium Club.

Offerman, of course dropped this ball that was thrown to him.

Mike Piazza is pinning down his prey in this action shot.  This shot reminds me of a lion pouncing on a gazelle.  I hope Piazza didn't eat his fallen opponent.

Their was some other nice looking Piazza cards from this break but, I wanted to show my top two.  Topps even came up with flashy names for its Stadium Club subsets.  Extreme Corps is so 90s.  Everything was more extreme back then even baseball cards

This Chan Ho Park rookie card was a 90s classic.  At least it was to me as a card collecting Doyer fan.

The sky with Park's high leg kick makes this card a center pager in a 9 pocket plastic page.  I wish I had some pages that were able to display this card horizontally.  Does Ultra Pro even make pages like that?

The photographer caught Dodger prospect bust, Billy Ashley lumbering along the base paths.  Ashley looks like he is a neanderthal turning into the Hulk as he is rounding the bases.

I don't have a memory of Billy Ashley the base runner.  Maybe it is because he wasn't on base that much.


Double plays happen a decent amount during a baseball season.  Stadium Club did a good job capturing the contact, physicality, and grace that occurs when a double play is being turned.

If Jody Reed was a better Dodger, I may have a framed poster of this photo in my bedroom.  Top notch card and maybe one of the better cards of Reed's career.  I will let Night Owl try and determine that.

I hope Topps does add Stadium Club back into the fold.  I dig retro sets such as Allen and Ginter and Topps Heritage.  I will give up Gypsy Queen for a reasonably priced, glossy set such as Stadium Club.

Very fun break, Colbey.  This was one of the better ones that I have joined on your blog.  Thank you.


Backstop Cards said...

That was indeed a great break! I'll be posting my Padres loot soon. That is one sweet Jody Reed card. I can say that without any Dodger animosity, since he was a Padre before he was a Dodger.

Yeah, definitely can't beat the TSC photography.

Fuji said...

Great post. I was a huge fan of those early 90's Stadium Club sets... busting a ton of those cellophane packs. Like you said, the photography was second to none. When you pair that with a borderless card design and glossy cardstock, you get pure awesomeness.

Fuji said...

Oh... and that Chan Ho Park photo is swwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetttt!

It should be hanging up in a museum.

Stealing Home said...

yeh, dude, i used to love those stadium club sets.

lol on a couple of zingers you threw in there. i used ot love to hate jose awful-man too.

good post.

gcrl said...

jose e-ferman. love that jody reed - it should make the cut in the greatest double play card tourney i am working on setting up.