Wednesday, November 26, 2008

2008 Baseball Cards in Review - Stadium Club

Hearing that these cards might be hard to find, I wasn't expecting much at the local Target. I found one pack, sitting in an open box of Upper Deck MVP basketball. But at WalMart, I found a blaster box. The set consists of 185 cards. The first 100 cards are a mix of current and retired players. I pulled the Nolan Ryan below from the single pack at Target. It's the best regular card I got. From the box I also pulled a Roberto Clemente card.

The cards are nice. Glossy on the front with a minimum of silver foil. I really don't see much to recommend them over, say, Upper Deck, another full bleed set. The photography is mostly good, but some of the photos are not so great. All of the insert autos and relics are at pretty long odds (1 in hundreds of packs). That's a lot of blasters.

There are about 30 short-print cards, numbered to 999 in the 100 first cards. Cards numbered 101 to 149 are rookie cards. Each card has a short print (numbered to 999) variation. I got one of these. This is the non-variation of the Joey Votto card. There were 8 packs in the box. All of the cards in the first 4 packs I opened were vertically oriented while all the cards in the 2nd 4 packs were horizontally oriented. Seems a weird way to pack the cards. The box says one rookie card per pack which is what I got, except that the short print card (of Mitch Boggs) was an extra rookie. Cards 150-185 are autographed rookie cards. The pack says the odds of getting one of these is 1 in 60 packs.
The set also includes "First Day Issue Cards", which is a Stadium Club parallel set which first appeared in 1993. I thought I was pretty lucky when I got one of these in the single pack, and a rookie card no less. But then I got one of them in each pack in the blaster and all were rookies. According to the checklist on, there are also variations on the First Day Issue rookies. Beckett has a description of each of the variation cards. As near as I can tell, all of the cards I got are the variations. Certainly, the Votto First Day Issue card below is different from the card above. And the description matches. These variations are not numbered.
In the past, the First Day Issue cards were short printed, and in later years they were numbered. But Beckett does not indicate that these are short printed and I suspect they are not or there wouldn't be one in every pack.

The set also contains the following inserts (which I didn't get): Beam Team Autographs (in 4 flavors), Ceremonial Cuts (these may be cut autos), Sketch Cards, Stadium Slices (in several flavors) and Trimvirate Memorabilia Autographs (also in black). The regular cards come in several flavors of Photographer's Proof Cards. Printing plates are also available.

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