Topps Stadium Club has been one of my favorite sets since its first year, way back in 1991. It’s the one set that I wish Topps could get “right” again. I don’t think this year’s release is quite “there” yet, but I hope it does well enough to stay on the Topps release calendar for 2015.
The base card design would fit in with any of the sets released late in the brand’s original run, and the photography – Stadium Club’s hallmark – remains impressive. On the down side, the set is too small to include a full representation of any team – the sets I loved had over 600 cards, while in 2014 the set is made up of just 200 cards. And I’m not sure there’s enough “bang for your buck” to satisfy people who are buying Stadium Club by the box instead of picking up the singles they want from casebreakers.
Here’s a look at the Mets’ base cards and select inserts:
I can’t tell for sure if the Jarrod Saltalamacchia had the ball, but Curtis Granderson had to be out on this play if he did.
One of the places we stopped on Saturday was Don’s Collectibles on Main Street in Strasburg, Pa. Don runs a very cool little shop with a wide variety of collectibles, but of course I went for the baseball cards. I picked up a few shrink-wrapped bricks of cards from late-1990s sets that I had never collected – they were a dollar a piece and they each included a number of stars and some potential future Hall of Famers.
But if you’ve been reading Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff very long, you know I’m going to focus on the Mets cards. And for a while, I was starting to think some Topps photo editor was a really big Yankees fan.
The Mets closed out the first half with a pair of disappointing losses in San Francisco, but overall I’m very impressed with how well they’ve done. This is a team that started the year with a 5-13 stretch, yet managed to go into the All-Star Break above .500 at 46-45.
They’ve done it despite having David Wright, Ike Davis, Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, Jason Bay and Ronny Paulino all spend time on the disabled list. They’ve done it despite all of the off-field turmoil caused by the team’s financial situation. And they’ve done it when they were the only ones who believed that they could win for much of the season.
The 2011 Mets have been fun to watch, but there are some other numbers that should influence trade deadline decisions more than their record.
The Mets trail Philadelphia by 11 games in the NL East. Worse, they trail Atlanta by 7.5 games for the wild card, with four other teams in front of them. As much as I want to believe, this is not 1973 when everybody in the division hovered around the .500 mark.
Sandy Alderson should spend the next couple of weeks trading away players that don’t fit into his plans for 2012.
Friday night, Ronny Paulino became the 908th player in Mets history. He grounded out batting for Tim Byrdak in the 9th inning of the Mets’ 10-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
I don’t think many Mets fans were still watching by that point, so Paulino has another chance to make a first impression on Mets fans tonight when he makes his first start for the team.
Edit: Paulino made a great impression, going 5-for-7 and driving in the winning run in the Mets’ 14 inning 2-1 victory over the Phillies.
Paulino’s luck hasn’t been good so far. He missed most of spring training because he had difficulty getting a visa. Shortly after he arrived in camp, Paulino was diagnosed with anemia and was unable to take part in baseball activity. After serving the final few games remaining from his suspension last season, Paulino had to go on the disabled list. Just when he was ready to join the Mets, Paulino strained an oblique muscle that kept him out another week.
Hopefully he’ll be able to put that bad luck behind him.
I purchased an autographed insert card from the 2008 Topps Stadium Club set this winter for less than $3. When Paulino gets a baseball card showing him in a Mets uniform, I’ll try to upgrade for my collection. So far, 13 players have made their Mets debuts this season. I’ve been able to place autographs for all but two in my collection – I still need cards signed by Blaine Boyer and Jason Pridie.
When I went to Target yesterday, I also picked up a half-dozen packs of retail Stadium Club cards. Though they don’t include an autograph in each pack, the retail version has a much friendlier price point ($2.99 for 5 cards).
The packs advertise “One Rookie Card Inside!”, but I actually did better than that. Some of the packs I bought had as many as three. (I wonder… is this because I’m really only interested in the 1-100 veteran cards?)
The cards are beautiful, there’s no question about that. I’d love to collect this set, but I don’t know that I’m going to because of cost & availability issues.
I spent $19.20 after tax for 30 cards, and I still need another 120 for the set (if I don’t worry about whether the card is a regular base card or a 1st Day parallel.)
After I was done buying these, Target had around 12-15 more packs left, and I haven’t see the retail version anywhere else yet.
Today’s item of the day is a 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Jose Reyes sketch card. Sketch cards have been a popular insert in many of Topps’ recent non-sports offerings, so they’re bringing the idea to their baseball line with the Updates & Highlights and Stadium Club sets.
From the cards that are showing up on eBay, I’m not sure whether this is really such a great idea. Take this Jose Reyes card. Yes, it’s a piece of original artwork. Yes, there’s a certain sense of style to it. Yes, it’s even in color. But is it a sketch of Jose Reyes? I don’t really think so. Would I spend $24.99 to add it to my colletion? No, definitely not.
Now I’m not trying to pick on artist Paul Lempa. I would much rather own this Reyes card than this one of a mystery pitcher. Lempa, at least, put some effort into the design of his cards.