Topps Stadium Club 1991 to the present
Stadium Club has long been a set that displays some of the very best photography in sports cards. I was blown away by the quality of the product in 1991 when it was released. Topps teamed up with Kodak that year to release their first premium set. This was a direct response to Upper Deck, Leaf and Ultra that were all hitting the market in 1990-1991. The set featured a new special UV coating and did not have a normal border like other card products. This card was 100% photo and there were some stunning cards in that initial set. While I loved the set in 1991, the price tag was a whopping $7 per pack. This was unheard of and out of my price range so I only remember picking up occasional packs.
1-1/4″ Black Wood. (gold aluminum pictured) Outside Frame Dimensions: 16 x 13″ Windows: 2-3/8 x 3-3/8″ Each kit includes: * Clear acrylic front sheet; 3/32″ thick; blocks 98% of UV rays * Outer front window mat (specify color) * Inner front window mat and outer back window mat, both the same color (specify color) * Appropriate number of PAT-tested, crystal clear, polypropylene sleeves, to mount cards * Assembled frame * Sawtooth hanger Note: All mats are white-backed with cream cores.
Stadium Club was originally produced from 1991 through 2003 and provided collectors with beautiful images from baseball, basketball and football. They even produced a limited run of Hockey Cards. When the product was first introduced, collectors were given the opportunity to become a “member” of Stadium Club; with perks such as a special set of Member’s Only cards, a Bronze Nolan Ryan and a keychain, all delivered in a nice “Welcome Box.” It was really a groundbreaking set for 1991 and was highly sought after by collectors everywhere. I remember my first Frank Thomas Stadium Club card and the high value Phil Plantier RC that I pulled.
After Topps took a break from the product after 2003, it returned for 2008 in baseball, football and basketball but only made an appearance during that one year. As quickly as it came back on the market, it was again placed in the witness protection program, much to the dismay of many of its hardcore collectors. Finally, in 2014, it returned only to the baseball card market (thanks to license exclusivity) and has made a solid run over the last few years. Topps has tweaked the product a little over the last few years and I think have finally hit that “wow factor” level from 1991. In 2014, hobby boxes hit the market with 2 mini boxes included and one on card autograph in each. In 2015, they moved back to a traditional hobby box with 16 packs of 8 cards each. They still included the 2 on card autographs per hobby box and included one parallel or insert card in every pack.
2016 and 2017 have stuck with the same formula from 2015 and it seems to work best. The one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the wonderful photography. Stadium Club provides photos that are unbelievable and unrivaled by other card companies. Even the retired legend cards have a super crisp photo and look as close to a modern day photograph as you can find. My personal favorite is the Rod Carew that depicts him signing autographs in Minnesota. The card looks like a normal, everyday 2017 baseball card and really doesn’t have the normal look of a vintage photo card.
2017 Topps Stadium Club was released on July 12, 2017 and has a superb checklist that includes many of the major rookies from this year; Aaron Judge, Dansby Swanson, Andrew Benintendi, Yoan Moncada and Alex Bregman. The 300 card set also includes several veterans to go with the modern day stars. There are variations, chrome cards, autographs and the ever popular “Beam Team” inserts that can be found throughout the set. Beam Team harkens back to the 90’s and were hot! There are even Beam Team autographs now. Other insert sets include Contact Sheet, Instavision, Power Zone, Scoreless Streak and Lone Star Signatures. Besides Beam Team, I love the design of the Instavision insert as it reminds me of the 80’s and Atari, which I hold dear to my heart. The hobby box configuration is 8 cards per pack, 16 packs per box and 16 boxes per case.
For a review of the cards, I bought a retail blaster that includes 40 cards (7 packs + 1 Bonus). As with most retail blasters, there is no guarantee of autographs or any particular inserts. What is guaranteed though is great photography. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
Here is a beautiful Donnie Baseball!
As a Braves fan, I love this Larry Wayne Jones!
More Braves love with John Smoltz.
This is an unbelievable shot of Tyler Skaggs!
Lucas Duda and the Big Apple.
Here is Justin Upton with a throwback to a famous Ken Griffey Jr. card.
I remember this moment with Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre. Beltre faked like he was going to catch the ball and Andrus caught it right behind him. Andrus couldn’t help but laugh after the play.
Here is a prime example of a crisp veteran photo.
This Lou Gehrig speaks for itself.
The inserts were Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Correa Contact Sheet, Max Scherzer Scoreless Streak and Bryce Harper Power Zone.
This is really Topps Stadium Club at its finest!
This is a base Mark Melancon and a Sepia version found 1:8 packs.
Finally, my favorite card from this blaster box was a Gold Foil (1:5 packs) of Shawn O’Malley.
I absolutely love the look of 2017 Topps Stadium Club. I usually stick to building sets from previous years but I can certainly see myself trying to put this one together before the year is out. The hobby box is pretty reasonable at around $120 and I pulled 40 cards from this $20 blaster with no duplicates. I’m excited about this set and if you love baseball cards that show off beautiful photos, you should be too.
BASEBALL 22 x 28″ outside frame dimension. Cards are not included.