Monday, July 1, 2019

Stuck in traffic with Stadium Club

I did something irresponsible the other day: I opened packs of baseball cards while driving.

This, I suppose, sums up my love for Stadium Club in a nutshell. I risked bodily harm for a quick peek at the newest cards. So maybe that's a bit melodramatic: I was actually stuck in traffic at the time, not moving an inch. And I suppose it's not against the law -- there's no such thing as a DWOP (Driving While Opening Packs). But still.

In my defense, I bought five 12-card rack packs of 2019 Stadium Club on the way home from work last weekend, and I'm happy to report that four of those made it home with the packaging still intact.

Pack 1:

#165 Ryan O'Hearn

The first of those packs, however, will go down in history as the first (and hopefully last?) cards I've ever shown on this blog that were opened while yours truly was at the wheel of an automobile.

#154 Didi Gregorius

Being stuck in traffic makes for quite possibly the dullest moments in life, so thanks, double-dipping Sir Didi, for supplying some excitement there.

#54 Hank Aaron

The Law of Blogs states that when one pulls a Hank Aaron card, one must show said Hank Aaron card.

#7 David Fletcher
#8 Max Scherzer

#272 Pete Alonso

I'm rich now, right?

#276 Ozzie Smith

If I would've been driving as I opened this pack, and not merely stuck in traffic, chances are this one would've caused a five-car pileup.

This...this is why Stadium Club remains the perennial Set of the Year -- where else can you find a card of Ozzie Smith doing a Cooperstown?

#117 Brian Anderson (red foil parallel)
#WS2 Trea Turner -- Warp Speed insert
#212 Starling Marte
#5 David Dahl
#125 Michael Fulmer

Pack 2:

#63 Dustin Pedroia

Thankfully, my patience won out and I was able to make it home in time to open the remaining four rack packs within the safety of my room.

#108 Willians Astudillo
#49 Bryse Wilson

#13 Ted Williams

Ted Williams was (is) a legend.

#191 Nick Martini

#260 German Marquez


#264 Felipe Vazquez

#118 Trevor Richards (red foil parallel)

Each of my first two rack packs produced a red foil parallel of a stupid Marlin, but at least this one is a hallowed multiple-exposure card -- as far as I can tell, it's the first produced by a major brand since 2010(!).

#PZ4 Aaron Judge -- Power Zone insert

Stadium Club might be the only set where the inserts are the least exciting cards of the pack.

#192 Sandy Koufax

The aforementioned Law of Blogs applies to Sandy Koufax, too.

#246 Juan Soto
#266 Bob Gibson

Pack 3:

#100 Anthony Rizzo

Pack 3 stars with a heroic shot of my hometown dude.

#101 Max Muncy

This photo has been used at least once before this year, but I don't care -- use it to your heart's content, Topps, because it's a fantastic moment.

#113 Brandon Nimmo


#183 Amed Rosario
#271 Kyle Freeland
#292 Chris Archer
#248 Willie Calhoun
#39 Rafael Devers (black foil parallel)

#EZ20 Blake Snell -- Emperors of the Zone insert

I've recently started collecting Blake Snell because the dude seriously seems to fall out of every single pack I open -- plus this one earns extra points for using the word emperor in the title of an insert set.

#120 Mike Piazza
#213 Blake Snell (see what I mean?)
#30 Carlos Correa

Pack 4:

#12 Brooks Robinson

Brooks Robinson + bunting + suit-and-tied crowd dudes = a helluva baseball card.

#140 Myles Straw
#176 Matt Olson
#130 Jeff McNeil
#168 Christin Stewart

#215 Ty Cobb

I like when dead-ball stars sneak into Stadium Club.

#67 Justin Verlander
#264 Felipe Vazquez (red foil parallel)

#WS9 Mike Trout -- Warp Speed insert

This is probably the first time I can definitively say that I like a Stadium Club insert (dig the '90s-era TSC logo!).

#185 Jose Canseco

Here's a nice Jose Canseco card, which almost seems oxymoronic to say.

#46 Michael Kopech
#257 Ken Griffey Jr.

Pack 5:

#128 Jose Berrios

It's almost impossible to pick a single favorite card from all the greatness Stadium Club has to offer, but this one might well be it.

#142 Adalberto Mondesi

I've never classified Gatorade Showers as an official mini-collection of mine, because I just kinda assume that everyone knows I want these.

#135 Eddie Rosario
#51 Robbie Ray
#296 Hunter Renfroe

#253 Jameson Taillon

Gatorade Shower hot pack (with a bonus throwback to boot!).

#167 Robinson Cano (red foil parallel)
#PZ23 Matt Carpenter -- Power Zone insert

#SCC83 Mookie Betts (chrome parallel)

I don't think Stadium Club needs chrome parallels, and for the moment I'm stuck with owning this one without the base version (which I want even more now), but it's still nice surprise to see a gem like this fall out of a pack.

#80 Matt Kemp

The last card I'll show proves that Stadium Club can be weird, too: this is obviously a shot from Matt Kemp's fashionable trip to the All-Star Game as a Dodger last year.

Problem is Kemp has since joined -- and been subsequently released by -- the Reds (Short Term Stop!), but Topps chose to stick with this photo's red? Dunno.

#258 Roberto Alomar
#123 Miguel Andujar

Once again, Stadium Club seems to be the runaway favorite for Set of the Year. What I've shown here is only a small fraction of the greatness in this year's gallery (the rest of which I'm hoping to pick up at the local card show next week). It's the kind of set that, well...that causes me to be an irresponsible card-collecting adult, I guess.

Don't open packs and drive, kids.


Mike said...

Some great photos and a great selection of vintage heroes..i see why you were bugging me to check Targets for the last 2 weeks,haha!

night owl said...

I suppose it could be worse. You could be stuck in traffic with Series 2:

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

That Kemp might be a photo variation, check the code. The base cards end in 3768, the photo var. end in 3805. BTW, In GA, and just so happens as of TODAY FL opening packs while driving would get you a ticket for "distracted driving".

Zippy Zappy said...

"#108 Willians Astudillo"

The Law of Blogs also states that when one pulls a La Tortuga card, one must show said La Tortuga card.

Fuji said...

The German Marquez and Jose Berrios cards are gorgeous. Love that Brooks Robinson card too!

P-town Tom said...

I need to know more about this Law of Blogs. I like what I've seen so far and will abide by such laws when applicable.
Did you unearth a manuscript or something?

Bo said...

When I buy a big haul of cards I put some boxes next to me and hope for red lights to flip through the cards.

Trevor P said...

"Did you unearth a manuscript or something?"

Yeah, knowing Nick he probably found it and additional Dead Sea Scrolls for a dime each at a card show.

Matt said...

"The law of blogs" - Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter...

Angus said...

I've opened cards while stuck in traffic way backed up on a bridge waiting for customs while traveling home from my PO Box once.

Defenders50 said...

Just when I think I've seen all the cool cards for this year's Stadium Club, another few pop up. In this case that Didi Gregorius, Canseco, and Taillon. Good night, is there a just okay card in the set?

Chris said...

I don't think I'd be able to wait until I got home/off the road to open these beauties, either. These cards are fantastic! But the Pedroia makes me sad, because that's basically all he's done for the past 2+ years.