Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Box Break: 2019 Topps Stadium Club (Part One)


As the blogosphere's resident Stadium Club expert (according to me) I find it only fair that the first major box break of 2019 Stadium Club happens on this blog. It just makes the most sense. Plus, it's the third year in a row that I've celebrated the start of SC season by breaking a hobby box on the blog. I was not expecting this box to get here so early, but...lemons from lemonade and all.

16 packs, 8 cards per pack, and guaranteed hits. Brief disclaimer...we are not here for the hits. They're nice, but...original Stadium Club was not about hits. It was about amazing base photography and state-of-the-art inserts. And both of those are definitely gonna be here, regardless of satisfying hits.

Oh, before we get to packs:

 Stadium Club comes with a box-topper this year. Instead of being some niche carve-out, or three-card printed cut, or's just an oversized base card.

...I don't know what the checklist was for these, but regardless...I think I did pretty well with this one. Like...I know of no mammal who will ever say no to a Roberto Clemente card. He's just that universally loved, and he's one of the few legends that doesn't feel overplayed by appearances in modern Topps products.

Alright, on with packs:

 Pack 1-
Okay, so...already I feel like this set is back on the right track. I didn't realize it until breaking 2019's set, 2018's set feels a bit disappointing in comparison. This design is minimalist, but last year's was...too minimalist. This brings us right back to the style of the 2016 and 2017 sets...granted, that means it's slightly Fleer Ultra-esque, but it's still good.

And photography-wise? Come on. These four are awesome, and yet they might not even factor into my Top 10 on the set. Even the Ichiro. EVEN...THE ICHIRO.

 This pack's insert is a rather colorful one for SC, Emperors of the Zone, this one featuring a throwback-rocking Zack Greinke. I dig it. My one problem with a lot of the inserts in this set is the lack of dufex, because that's what made them feel like inserts back in the day. This is...considerably cheaper to produce, and a lot less reliant on foil. More on Topps, but...this is Stadium Club. Maybe step it up a bit more next year in this category?

Three more base to finish us off. Acuna's is the coolest one here, but I dig the grace of Sevvy's.

 Pack 2-
Relatively standard horizontals for this set, though I appreciate the new uniforms on Donaldson and Realmuto. Albies' shot is probably the coolest one here.

 Now for some parallels. Ender's is a black parallel, seeded 1:8 packs. George Springer's is a Chrome parallel, seeded 1:16 packs.
Plus, rest assured, this product still has fantastic legends base cards. I can't decide which of these I like better, though...those clouds in Kaline's are pretty awesome.

 Pack 3-
A return appearance from George Springer, a cool throwback from Carlos Rodon, and a gracious salute from Jonathan Schoop.

 Two definite base/star highlights in Cody Bellinger's triumphant run, and Blackmon's super-cool batter's box shot. I wonder if the Topps guys know what kind of season Bellinger's having in order to give him a super-cool hero card here.

 And while we're here, let's do a second Emperors of the Zone card, this one of Walker Buehler. The mix of colors on these are pretty damn cool.

...Sometimes Topps is so good at this set that it makes me mad. This Spahn card is too damned beautiful. I mean...COME ON.

 Pack 4- Let's start with these two...comparatively simple base cards of guys on the ASG primary ballots. Marte has the best chance of making the final lineup as I write this, though.

 Beautiful stuff. The wide angle on the Jansen, the zoom on Gleyber, and...the entire landscape dynamic of that Chris Sale card. Absolutely masterful.

And here are some super-fun legends. Like...lord almighty these are some fun cards. Look at that goofy Rod Carew smile. Look at Bagwell's red-sleeved jacket AND his super-90s goatee. Where the hell do they find these photos???

 Pack 5- Lorenzo Cain's is very similar to Keon Broxton's from...last year I think, but I'll let it slide. I also love Urias'.

 Strasburg between two legends. Brett's is a pretty cool one.

We have hit our first hit. At best, I've gotten a Julio Teheran or a Darryl Strawberry out of this product. At worse, I've gotten a Philip Evans or a Tim Cooney. Let's see where this first one falls...

Uh...actually I can get behind this one.

For those unaware, Beeks was a crucial piece of the trade that brought Nate Eovaldi to Boston. Somehow, Tampa ended up winning that trade though, as Beeks has become a reliable, at times scary, relief pitcher. So far this season, Beeks has been used as the long man to relief opener Ryne Stanek, and is doing Ryan Yarbrough's job from 2018 better than Yarbrough did it. I see some promise with this guy, so...yes, this sort of counts as a good hit.

I mean, it's better than either of my hits from last year's hobby box.

 Pack 6-
Lots to love here. Suarez's expression, Braun's throwback, and the entirety of Murphy's. I feel like contemporary SC has picked from this photo shoot before, but not this shot. That's a nice one.

 Always nice to see Rogers Hornsby in a set like this. Diaz' and Arenado's shots are hella dramatic.

This is what Beam Team looks like this year. Again...d'you think they cut back on the dufex a bit? This is...just a bit too bland in places, too grey.

 Pack 7-
That Jake Lamb card would be awesome if he was able to stay healthy.
And...glad to see Topps is embracing multiple-exposure shots again with that Richards card.

 Lindor stands out the most of these, but good on Topps to really highlight the blue on Pollock's. Also, nice dramatic base card for the new Houston hero in Bregman.

 Two cards I'd been waiting to pull. One is Andrew McCutchen's first SC issue as a Phillie. Injury aside, great to see him in Phils colors. The other is the sell-sheet preview of Mookie Betts, a really dynamic, dramatic card that I'd been looking forward to pulling.

And we get to hit #2:

Sean Reid-Foley. Beeks may have been the slightly better hit here.

Reid-Foley had an alright come-up last year as a starter in Toronto, but so far has been used to fill holes. He started a game, and that didn't go to well, so now he's a bullpen piece? Unlike Beeks, I can't really see where Reid-Foley fits into this pitching staff. So, definitely not as good as the Beeks auto, but...I mean, he could get better?

 Pack 8-
Infielders in action. Jeter's is probably the best, but Bogaerts' is a cool one too.

 Interesting cases here. Felix's is a throwback uniform, but not the Turn Ahead the clock one. Matt Kemp's has a red background, and is a credited Reds card, but...Kemp was a Dodger when the photo was taken. Did they not have a Reds photo of him? I know he was only there for a month, but they had photos of him on the Reds. And Mize's card is a Cardinals issue, which begs the question: are we ever gonna see another New York Giants issue of Mize? Yanks and Cards ones pop up all the time.
Let's end with dignity. Here's a Power Zone insert of Chipper Jones. Yes, once again there's less foil,'s Chipper, and I kind of like some of the design elements here.

So that's half the box of Stadium Club. Tomorrow is the other half. We've gotten through both our hits, so all that remains is just...base and inserts. And with SC, sometimes that's enough.


  1. I'm excited to pick some Stadium Club up for myself soon. Seeing a multiple-exposure shot in a current product brings me joy -- they're not extinct yet!

  2. Hmm. Still finishing up last year's inserts, but I might have to dive in again this time. These look pretty good.

  3. 2018 was still good, but this- this is almost untouchable. Dang. I love what Topps has done with this brand the last few years.