Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The 20 Best 2015 Stadium Club Cards I got from JustCommons


It was only a matter of time.

Once 2015 Stadium Club hit the stands, it was like Ryan Gosling pulling up to a beach. The outcome was inevitable. I was bound to pick up some of that sweet, well-lauded product, just as quickly as Gosling's shirt would be thrown onto the towel.

Before you ask, yes, I do adore this set. I do adore the photography, the cardstock, the finish, etc. I've only gotten a bunch of commons of it at JC, so I don't know anything about relics or inserts, or any of that.

I got a bunch of base cards, but I'm gonna show you the 20 best ones I pulled, in no particular order. Werth makes it 21, but I needed a good header photo.

Good one to start with.

I, as a Yankees fan, was a bit frustrated with last year's Stadium Club set, in that all the new Yankees (McCann, Ellsbury, Beltran) all got wide, zoomed in, pedestrian shots. I was kind of disappointed to see people like Jose Reyes and Jayson Werth have all the fun, while the Yankees got sort of ripped off. This year, none of that.

This shot of Tex pretty much redeems Topps for that last bit of nonsense. It's the kind of photo I'd use for a custom. Glad they made it a landscape, too.

I think Nick from Dime Boxes brought this one up, or tweeted it, but I kind of knew I needed to have it. This is pretty unheard of for Topps, including a current photo of a player in a set full of current players and old photos of former players. The Eckersley is also pretty current. But...this is Banks getting a medal from President Obama, within a year of his untimely death. It's a gorgeous card, but it means so much, especially just leaving Obama in the background.

(By the way, this marks the second Stadium Club set in a row to feature President Obama)

Pretty similar to the Jose Reyes one from last year, but including the catcher and ump in the mix does add a touch more perspective.

Looks like something off an SI cover from 1997. Excellent stuff. I love the idea of putting 90's stars in these sets, but putting a bit of variety in there. I-Rod is not a quintessential 90's star (though I'm pretty sure he's a Hall of Famer), but he's a nice, quirky addition to this checklist, like Albert Belle and Ron Gant (and Bip Roberts)

Best part about getting great cards like this is that Pence is a guy I collect. Also, the look on all these kids' faces is amazing. They all LOVE Pence, and they all love that he's signing their stuff. I remember his year in Philly, there were tons of Pence shirts going around my high school. He's a fun player.

Just an awesome casual shot. He's just peeking 'round the corner, checking out what's going on.

CHUTLEY! A very dramatic shot, accented by some subtle filtering, and the depth of those stairs. The mirror also adds a lot.

Excellent shot from Konerko's last game. Says a lot about the White Sox fans, their devotion to this guy.

This card is awesome enough just being black and white. It's also an awesome shot, and it's also a rare shot of Cepeda as a Cardinal. Don't find those everyday.

There is so much to love in this shot. The sky, the stadium, the smile on Springer's face, the uniform. Just spectacular.

Love those old Pirates uni's. Pops looks so happy. Man, I really do applaud the inclusion of black and white into this set, because it really helps, and it captures emotion surprisingly well, and dates the photos a bit. Gives it a very retro feel, which is something I didn't think Stadium Club could pull off.

The angle makes this shot so great. If this were a vertical it wouldn't be this good. The fact that it's at this angle, and it's a landscape, makes it truly great. The spotlight affecting the rest of the shot is also a great touch.

This has been on a bunch of blogs, but I have to show this. This is perfect in so many ways.

Making this one a vertical helps it a lot, too. The joy becomes so much more real. Plus, you get more detail to the custard.

Taken right after he pitched a no-hitter against my Phillies. Also, counts as a sunset shot, and definitely beats any other nominee for 'best one'.

Early candidate for best card of the year. Last year we had a beloved pitcher riding a horse. Now we have a beloved pitcher playing golf. I truly adore this set.

Great shot of Molly. I love the helmet just barely staying on his head.

Never turn down another Crime Dog. I think this one took place in the '96 (or '95) World Series. Zoomed back juuuust far enough.

I don't know why, but this reminded me of an Upper Deck card. If they were still making licensed products today, this might be what their inaugural 'Max Scherzer as a National' card might look like.

Probably the most important baseball card that will be released this year.

A current, black and white, card of the two first African-American players in the NL and AL, chatting, sharing a friendly conversation, bats in hands. That's so good. I don't know if they're gonna be able to top that.

Excellent stuff, Topps. Well done. Keep up the excellent work.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

JustSplurging


(Blows dust off of scanner)

I did make a few JustCommons purchases during the school year, but due to my lack of a scanner, never got a chance to post any results. Thankfully, I got a nice sampling of cards today from JC. I'll say this is probably the most eclectic mix I've gotten from them. You can go wild on that site. I must have gone 'oh, they have some of THIS set?' about forty times (though a bit disappointed over the lack of 2010 National Chicle, as I need to complete that set ASAP).

I can separate these cards I got, which includes that awesome shot of Dave Stewart from '94 Score above, into a few very simple groups.

Junk Wax Era cards of players I collect:

Look at Orel.

LOOK AT HIM.

That's a pretty awesome card of a pretty awesome player. I'm just beefing up my Orel collection this year, as I have a ton of Orel Dodger cards, but not enough from the later half of his career. Also, the guy went to my high school.

He was one of the many guys I wanted to nab in terms of early 90's cards.

Molly was another one.

As a rule, anybody in the HOF automatically goes into my HOF binder, and I automatically collect any dufex-era-on cards of them that look cool. Molly is one of those guys I have a lot of respect for, and he's probably be in my binders even if he wasn't in the Hall. I also adore the 90's UD Checklists.

A bunch of early Vizquels. I forgot how cool the '94 Bowman design looked, especially in scans. Plus, the '93 UD one is a great shot.

The three stages of late-career Goose: Pre Japan, Post-Japan, and Somebody-Get-Me-Out-Of-Here.
Mariner Goose looks pretty horrified to be a part of the '95 Fleer design. He's not alone.

A rare card of Carlton Fisk playing first base. That's pretty odd. Great shot, though.

Two more natural positions for Carlton. Reminds me I need some more '92 Pinnacle in my collection. Such a cool set. So simple, too.

I've been collecting a lot more Jack Morris, too. Great pitcher. Veterans committee will definitely get him into Cooperstown. Because he deserves it.

In other news, Eddie Murray is freaking awesome. Yesterday was the anniversary of his 500th home run. I love all four of these sets, too. The Flair one actually came from another source (which I'll get to one of these days), but fit the theme.

One more awesome shot of Murray from a '92 UD checklist. Just awesome.

The three stages of early-era McGriff. Funny thing is I have a ton of Brave McGriffs, and not too many Blue Jay or Padres ones...for the binder that is.

Two horizontal Padre-era McGriff's. I love the UD checklist. So cool.

A quartet of Edgars. Yeah, if this guy doesn't make it to Cooperstown, then, to quote Russell Hantz, there is a flaw in the game. I do really dig the '93 Bowman one. Great shot.

Three Blylevens. I'm still a bit puzzled as to why he got inducted into the Hall of Fame, but I'm not arguing. I'll still collect his cards.

Topps' Final Tribute card for Blyleven. One I'd been looking for for a while. Great shot, too.

Gary Carter made a nice few appearances in my JC order. Interestingly enough I only got one card of him as a Met. I love getting cards of great players in unfamiliar unforms, which is why I wanted to get cards of him as a Giant and Dodger. I was looking for his '93 Topps issue for a while. And that Pinnacle one might be the best of his final year.

However, Lee Smith was definitely the star of this portion of the package. I've been collecting Lee Smith forever, and he's one of the greatest closers of all time (and a perennial HOF sunb). I got cards from every portion of the last leg of his career, from his Boston days...

...to his career-defining year or so as a St. Louis Cardinal...

...to the last legs of his career. That '97 Circa one is so frenzied that I love it. The '96 Score one is the best, though. He looks so happy.

Okay, now onto another part of the package:

Recent Sets I Thought Would be Cool to Get Some of:

I've always been a fan of Donruss' Diamond Kings sets. When I heard they'd be returning with Panini, I had mixed thoughts...and it didn't help that the reviews were generally meh. I still wanted to get a few cards from it, so I got a smattering, including this admittedly awesome shot of Robby Cano.

As you can see, the set loses a lot without logos, but it's still got the right Diamond Kings idea, and the cards still have that patchwork feel. Besides, there are some standouts, occasionally, like the Utley.

But still, as this was a Donruss product, there was really only one reason for me to venture in...

...and that's Ichiro Freaking Suzuki.

I think I heard somewhere that he's coming back to Topps, signing a new contract and all of that. I'm very happy about that, but still, I'm gonna sweep up as many of his Panini cards as I can, because...it's Ichiro. You have to. And for the record, this card looks pretty damn cool.

However, I didn't stop at Diamond Kings.

I heard some of the most glowing reviews about last year's Topps Finest, so I had to snap up some commons. And yeah, it's a pretty well-designed set, popping off with color and blending the shot into the design. Very, very impressive.

I got a little over 20 of these. These 9 are just the ones I'm showing. Very, very cool stuff. Probably the best Finest set in over a decade. Extra points for the Sale.

An Ellsbury because he's awesome.

That leads to our final segment for today...

Awesome Insert Roundup:

JC has a ton of nice  inserts from the last decade or so of Topps/Assorted other products. They had a slew of Gypsy Queen inserts, which, in my opinion, are the best part of that product. Nice to pull a Beltre-as-a-Dodger every once in a while.

I got nine inserts dedicated to awesome pitching over the years. Pretty nice that I could get a Bob Feller card for the same price as a Trevor Bauer card. What a world we live in.
Also, that Halladay is a nice one.

I've always been a huge fan of the Propaganda Posters from 2009 Topps. Probably my favorite insert set of the last few years. So, I got a couple I needed. Bottom row- Maryland special.

This is the nicest of the bunch. Best part is he's only gotten better since his monstrous 2009 season.

A trio of cards from my second favorite insert set of 2015. Those throwbacks are just too cool.

Oh, I bet you want to know what my favorite insert set of 2015 is...

First Pitch. No contest.

I've toyed with the idea of making customs of celebs throwing out the first pitch for the longest time now. Paul Rudd as a Royal was practically BEGGING for one.

Jon Hamm's a pretty big deal already, as he's a great SNL host and a very nice actor. But putting him on a baseball card, in a Cardinals uniform? Genius.

Four other favorites. Ulrich's a must, especially as a music fan. Kevin Hart, regardless of the fact that I don't find him very funny, looks great in an 80's Sox uni. Chelsea Handler looks like she's having a great time at Wrigley. Maroney had to have been a cool one.

I picked up Jeff Bridges, Tom Morello and Macklemore earlier this year, and I still need to nab an Eddie Vedder and a Jack White, as well as a few others from Series 2 (Chris Pratt much?)

However...I did happen to take home the best card from First Pitch with this package...

Take it in, true believers.

Stan Lee, one of my all time heroes, the man who's made an appearance in almost every Marvel movie, created some of the most famous Superheroes of all time, and has inspired me to create amazing, and fun worlds. And he's on a baseball card. In a Giants uniform.

This is the best baseball card I've pulled so far this year. So awesome. So wonderful.

That's it for the JustCommons haul for today. There's a bit more to show, but, it's for another day. Besides....you know that huge, awesome set that came out last week? Well...I got some of it, and I got quite a bit of it.