Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Seeing double

Those of you who participated in or watched Nacho Grande's Stadium Club group break probably already know what I am going to write about, so go click on riveting election coverage if you're bored.

I hardly ever join group breaks anymore. Someone who needs to save every dime shouldn't be playing slot machines. But this group break was different.

This year's version of Stadium Club isn't available in retail stores. And it's a beautiful product. If I wanted a chance to own the Dodgers in the set, I had to join. And so I did.

As expected, I received a bunch of Dodgers. Also, as expected, I received a bunch of dupes. You don't bust a bunch of cards from a 200-card set and not expect doubles. But Stadium Club -- at least in my experience --  is especially known for horrid collation. You got your full bleed photos. You got your quality pictures. You got the same damn cards over and over again.

But if you want some gorgeous cards sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. Fortunately for me, I received more good then bad, as you'll soon see.

Here are the cards that I got, scanned extra big to see the beautiousness:

Yasiel Puig. Got two of these. Right now, someone is writing an angry missive to a newspaper about how the Dodgers can't win playoff games because Yasiel Puig dares raise his hands over his head.

Sandy Koufax. Got two of these, too. I don't know how Stadium Club made the black-and-white pix almost more fantastic than the color ones, but they did it.

Duke Snider. Two of these as well. Look at the size of the "B" on that helmet.

Adrian Gonzalez. Nachos pulled three of these for me. That's appropriate, because in 2008, Gonzalez was in every pack of Stadium Club.

Carl Crawford. Two of these. Great shot. Love Mr. Hollywood in the front row.

Mike Piazza. Two of Mike.

Jackie Robinson. Probably the highlight of the set. With all of the endlessly repeated photos of Jackie on baseball cards, this is refreshing, and tells a story that may never end.

Oh, got two of those, too.

Alex Guerrero.

Received just one card of Alex. Which makes me scared that Stadium Club is short-printing base cards again, like they did in '08.

It's interesting to me that I didn't receive a card of Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw or Hanley Ramirez in the group break, all three of which were in a recent card package sent to me.

Chris lamented the repetition of cards in his group break and it's true he received lousy collation as the boxes were very similar. But whether that's just his bad luck or whether some cards are more difficult to pull than others, I don't know.

As you can see this set is filled with Dodgers. I have 11 already and I haven't checked to see if there are any more (poor Marlins or Twins fans probably have 1 or 2 cards to collect from this set).

That's the back of '14 Stadium Club. Not terribly exciting.

I also received a Legends diecut of Koufax. The Legends things are 1-in-3 mini boxes, so I lucked out a little there.

I didn't receive any of the parallels, but I always thought Stadium Club parallels were silly (sorry, I didn't grow up in the '90s). Gold foil, silver foil, rainbow foil, special stamped items, blah, blah. Not interested.

What I was interested in is maybe getting an autographed card. I heard they were on-card. The chances were slim, although I've received an autographed card from a group break before. I totally didn't expect anything except for some base cards.

And then this was pulled:

If I could hug a card without ruining it, I would.

You can't make a finer card then that. You just can't.

I had no idea that Wills had an autograph card in the set. I expected the autographs were mostly of second-year players that the baseball public barely knew. Jake Marisnick, people like that.

But Maury Wills? Well, the slot machine just won't stop spitting out coins.

And then, this was pulled:

If I could hug a card without ruining it, I would.

You can't make a finer card then that. You just ... oh, right I just said all of that.

Anyway, what are the chances of getting two of the same autograph in one group break?

I don't know.


I think I like the second Wills card better than the first, with the way the "M" arcs majestically out of the autograph box.

I'm sure I am the only one happy about this development. I thought Chris was going to quit baseball card collecting forever when he pulled the second Wills autograph.

It's typical Stadium Club collation and pretty infuriating for someone buying boxes. But I ain't complaining about this.

Unless I receive an irresistible offer, I'm going to hold on to both Wills for a couple of months -- in the unlikely event that he is elected into the Hall of Fame on the latest ballot.

I just looked at the checklist and it turns out I'm missing the Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu cards to complete the team set (The Dodgers have 13 cards, almost 7 percent of the set -- holy cow, Topps tone it down on the blue, huh?).

But again I'm not complaining. I am a happy, happy owl.

For once, Stadium Club treated me right.


  1. I don't totally understand how Topps has recycled the same 2 or 3 photos of retired players in every damn set for the last 3 years, and then suddenly pulls out jaw dropping photos for Stadium Club. I don't understand it, but I'll certainly take it. Nice haul!

  2. Two Maury Wills autos! That's a holy s--- moment if I have ever seen it.

    I'm not a Dodgers fan as you well know, but I don't think I would ever get tired of seeing that Sandy Koufax picture. I think it's one of the best ideas to commemorate multiple no hitters that I've ever seen.

    Well done....

  3. It all makes sense now. Topps keeps using the same old photos over and over again for years on end so that when they finally release a set with new sets of photographs we all go crazy over how new and fantastic the photos are and buy it to relieve all that pent-up frustration. Although it does beg the question, how long do we have until we see the photos used for this set being used over and over again?

    Anyway congrats on the nice cards and hits.

  4. i was going to ignore this set, but when i saw the jackie and duke photos a few weeks ago, i bought the team set. except for the piazza for some reason. his card is one of my nefarious 9, by the way. just sayin'.

  5. Congrats. Much better than a Scott Van Slyke auto or something.

  6. You and I made a clean sweep on the autos. Topps did a great job with the vintage players. The Clemente has a great look too.

  7. SO I'm building the base set, and I need the Piazza, Puig, Snider, and Adrian Gonzalez. If you need someone to PWE those dupes to, I'm your man!

    There's a Strawberry in it for you.... (a '92 Studio Heritage Strawberry, to be exact)

    1. You've got the Puig, Snider and Gonzalez. gcrl beat you to the Piazza.

    2. Actually it turns out that I have the Snyder and the Gonzales too. Still Puigless... Thanks Greg!

  8. Those B & W cards and two Wills autos make this a fantastic post. Congrats on your 'winnings'!

  9. The Wills is great. Koufax is pretty awesome also