Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Nostalgic Box Break: 1995 Stadium Club High Number (Part One)

Back to the Stadium Club grind, because I feel like it.

In 1995, as Stadium Club was beginning to transition toward its future as a two-series, harder-to-complete set, instead of putting out three series like usual, Topps gave Series 3 the 'high number' treatment, and made a smaller set with minimal base cards, plus two set-encompassing subsets- Extreme Corps, featuring star players that were deemed EXXXX-TREEEEEME enough to be mentioned, and Trans Action, a subset which has nothing to do with Laverne Cox fighting killer robots, but actually players that had been traded over the course of the 1995 season.

So...1995 High Numbers exists, and Shawn Green is the poster boy. So...this will probably be a fun rip.

24 packs, 13 cards per pack. Not too shabby. On with the show.

 Pack 1-
Cards I needed: 12/13
Dupes: 1/13
GROOVY Subset Cards: 4/13
Hall of Famers: 1/13
Yankees: 2/13
 Base cards are the same, but it's refreshing to see traded players in this design. I forget that Pat Borders was on the Royals (I saw him as a career Blue Jay).

 Kevin Brown's our 1st Transaction card, and...it's a very boring one. Also, a reminder that Tony Fernandez was a Yankee for a little while.

 Jack McDowell going to the Yankees was actually a pretty big deal in 1995, which must have sucked when he absolutely fell apart upon arrival. The Extreme Corps ones make up for it, with Cal Ripken being in his prime in 1995, and Galarraga bringing the home runs in Denver.

 Pack 2-
Cards I needed: 11/13
Dupes: 2/13
Guys on the HOF Ballot: 2/13
Guys That Missed the Cut for the HOF: 1/13
Hall of Famers: 1/13
Future Hall of Famers: 1/13

 Swift looks bored. At least Ron Gant making a great catch in his lone year in Cincinnati will cheer him up (maybe?).
 Oh yeah, Larry Walker's first year in Colorado was 1995, so he gets the Transaction insert here. Tony Gwynn is the Extreme Corps here, and the better of the 3 I got...

 Not to disparage Joe Carter and Jeff Bagwell, both great players.

 This...may be the highlight of the box.
Mariano Rivera is one of the greatest closers of all time, and this is Topps' first mainstream acknowledgment of his existence. And it's a pretty great card, too, with enough wideness to get all of Mo in there. Great card to have, and great reason to pick up a box of this.

Pack 3-
Cards I needed: 12/13
Dupes: 1/13
Cool Dudes That I Collect All Cards of: 1/13
Doug Jones, as part of the rotating assortment of Orioles relievers in the 90's, and Bobby Higginson, in something resembling a first-year card, stretching out for a good decade of mediocre baseball.

My TransAction card in this pack was Brian McRae, which must have been a big deal in 1995, but barely registers on the Jordan-o-meter. Even Joey Cora's a bit confused.
Meanwhile, Fred McGriff looks pretty happy to be A.) A member of the World Champion Braves, and B.) A member of the EXTREEEEME Corps subset, along with Albert Belle.

Pack 4-
Cards I needed: 6/13
Dupes: 7/13
Cards of Great Players in Incredibly Odd Uniforms: 2/13
Cards of Incredibly Odd Players That Were Once Considered Great: 1/13

Lance Parrish as a Blue Jay! Andy Van Slyke as an Oriole! Both of these sights are odd, and both of these cards somehow predicted the AL Wild Card game, happening tonight!

Meanwhile, the Extreme Corps insert was of Greg Vaughn, one of the more unusual BIG STARS of the 1990's.

Pack 5-
Cards I needed: 7/13
Dupes: 6/13
Hall of Famers: 2/13
Robb Nen, Glenallen Hill- two guys that were pretty big deals in 1995. Also, a very nice shot of Joe Oliver making a play at the plate.

Cal we already pulled, but Barry Larkin's Extreeeeme Corps is very cool, and very reminiscent of his legitimate star power back in the day.

Pack 6-
Cards I need: 10/13
Dupes: 3/13
Surprisingly Potent 90's Stars: 2/13

I love this shot of Steve Finley, mostly just because of the cool backdrop they gave him, and the fact that this was a new uniform for him in 1995. Also, Mickey Tettleton, in one of his last seasons in the bigs, hitting something out in a Rangers uniform.

Joe Randa, which this counts as a sort-of first-year card of, making a nice hit, as well as Marty Cordova, again...sort of his first-year card Plus, I threw in a card of Kevin Ritz mowing them down in Denver for good measure.

SUBSET CORNER! The two TransActions are kind of odd now...Gregg Jefferies was great back in the day, but by the end of the 90's he was kind of a foresight. Tony Tarrasco...I don't even know who he is. The Extreme Corps of Jeff King isn't much better- I get that the Pirates needed an entry to the set, but Jeff King would be slumming it in Kansas City within a year.

At least this ULTRA AMAZING CARD OF DAVE STEWART can save the pack. This was Dave Stewart's last season, and he's hang up his spikes as an A, and this is a pretty cool final tribute for the guy.

Pack 7-
Cards I needed: 6/13
Dupes: 7/13
Blogger Legends: 1/13
Guys Who are Still Being Paid by the Mets: 1/13
Steroid Abusers: 1/13
Legitimately Amazing Closers: 1/13

Dustin Hermanson, who was in a ton of products in 1995 and was being touted as a super-rookie, looks kind of nervous...maybe because of the hype. The TransAction is of Derek Bell...again, big deal in the 90's.

This Jim Abbott card, one of the few mementos of his notoriously bad season in Chicago, is a pretty nice one, and great for people who love Abbott. Also, the Extreme Corps for the Mets was Bobby Bonilla, because...they didn't have a lot in 1995.

At least the Marlins had a legitimate star in Gary Sheffield, who was pretty great in '95. But the real highlight for me was the TransAction subset of Lee Smith on the Angels. Gotta love that guy.

Pack 8-
Cards I needed: 10/13
Dupes: 3/13
Hall of Famers: 1/13
Potential Borderline Hall of Famers: 1/13
Yankee Legends: 2/13

A reminder that Esteban Loaiza, for a period of one season, was a legitimate pitching threat. Also the two TransActions had varied results- Scott Cooper is a mystery to me, while Marquis Grissom became a powerful and valued member of a perennially great Braves squad.

My Extreme Corps ones were a little better- Kirby Puckett was just rounding out a really nice career, while Paul O'Neill had a few rings left until he hung up his spikes.

Speaking of Yankees and rings...

A second member of the Furious Four wound up in this pack, and it's a semi-kind-of-first-year card of Andy Pettitte, which is a pretty nice pull, as well as a great gift to a Yankee fan, along with the Mo from earlier.

I'll leave it at eight, and post Part 2 in the next few days.

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