Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Christmas Eve Box of 2014 Topps Stadium Club

When a set comes out that you've spent most of the year clamoring about its golden days, and when that same set gets some of the most glowing reviews you've seen in a while, the only logical step is to get a box of it yourself.

Unfortunately, 2014 Topps High Tek was a bit too pricey for me. So instead I got a box of 2014 Topps Stadium Club.

Let it be known that I was super-excited to break this box, ever since I ordered it from Amazon. I'd seen most of the blogosphere break numerous boxes of the stuff, and share their favorite bits of photography from it. And I saw how outstanding this product looked, and got even more excited.

I broke this mini-box two days ago, and I'll say, without spoiling anything, that it outdid my expectations.

Let it be known that this was the very first card I pulled out of Pack One. So, already, they're throwing a New York Yankee at me, and it's a pretty nice New York Yankee too.

It's also a really nice photo of him. Sure, it falls into the category of 'subdued action', like a lot of current Topps, but making it full bleed, as Stadium Club was intended for, certainly helps the action.

Here are the other three base cards that came out of the first pack, of three solid stars, two of which have already been traded this offseason, one of which should be sticking around. Again, the photography is so crisp, so refined, that it makes you forget about flagship Topps.

One of the few basic inserts this year is 'Field Access', which reminds me of 'Best Seat in the House' from the '95 set. If the regular set has enough great photos, than this insert set has even more. This Verlander is not only shot well, but filtered well. Plus, it looks like he's having a great time.

Pack 2's first card, and most intense, was of Julio Teheran, one of the best starters on the Braves right now. I think the filters make the details on Teheran's face deeper.

This is a very nice base card. Not only does it feature great lighting and coloring on the yellows and greens, but it features a really nice throwback uniform. Plus, Starling Marte's a great young player.

I'm a bit confused as to why the border color is red, rather than black or yellow, but I'll let it slide.

Two base cards of two borderline hall of famers. Beltran's looks nice, as it's one of the few instances this season where he wasn't injured. Verlander's is cropped nice enough that it captures the full tension of the pitch.

Now...brace yourselves, folks. What I'm about to show you is one of the biggest pulls I've ever gotten out of a pack. It's not even the box's guaranteed autograph. No, it's better. Bigger, even.

This is a base variation of Sandy Koufax. It's a lot shinier than the base version of his card. This is, apparently, what's called a Foilboard Parallel. But that's not what makes this card amazing.

This card is numbered to twenty-five. This is a low-numbered card of one of the greatest Dodgers of all time, and one of the greatest pitchers of all time. This is an outstanding pull, and it made me gasp when I pulled it.

So yeah...two packs in, I've already got a nice hit, and I still haven't gotten to my auto. I'm in a great mood.

Pack 3 started with these two guys. I like the alternate uniform that Trumbo has on.

Now, these two had the photography that I'm used to in Stadium Club. Carpenter's is cropped closely enough to get our attention, and Desmond's is captured at the exact right moment. Really good stuff all around.

Our insert here is a Beam Team one of Andrew McCutchen, one of the best players in baseball right now, in a sweet throwback uniform. Again, Stadium Club is doing everything right here.

Pack Four started on a nice note, with these two AL West guys. I like Andrus' because it gets his motion in the right moment, and his smile counteracts the run. Cron's is a posed shot, but he's standing in front of a mountain, so it's all good.

This is a nice card of Adam Wainwright. The filters on this one are making it just dramatic enough.

I like the emphasis on retired stars as well as current stars in this set, and I like how the black and white cards have as much action as the color ones. This Duke Snider is a perfect example.

And cap the pack off with one of the greatest catchers of all time, Johnny Bench, in a Legends Die-Cut card that's pretty damn cool. I love this inserts in this set.

Pack 5 began with a sole current player, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, and this shot is indeed pretty awesome, complete with a Canada Day alternate uniform.

But the other four cards in the pack would be all legends.

Four Hall of Famers in one pack. Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. All four of these cards are excellent. The Babe's is nice, especially considering that it's a photo that Topps hasn't used before.

The pack didn't have an insert, but the Babe is a one-per-minibox rainbow foil parallel, which isn't numbered, but still pretty nice.

Pack 6 started with one of the best defensive shortstops in the game right now, Andrelton Simmons.

Both of these shots are really good. The Crawford is a nice outfield catch shot, set against a background of Dodgers fans. The Maddux is a great, wider pitching shot, set against a well-colored background. Again, well done Topps on the photography.

Joe DiMaggio is our last base card of the box, and it's a pretty nice one, with a great black and white photo. Also, I can't not love a card of Joe DiMaggio. It's a law.

I wish I had done better on this auto, as I had to look up who Chase Anderson was. Evidently he had a nice rookie season, but compared to what other guys are pulling, this isn't great.

I'm still not complaining though. This was a fantastic box, a fun one to pull, complete with an amazing hit and really nice base cards.

I might be getting another box of Stadium Club, in some capacity, soon enough.

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