Thursday, October 25, 2007

1991 Stadium Club Series 1

Moreso than 1989 Upper Deck, I remember '91 Stadium Club causing collectors to completely lose their minds over high end premium card sets. That may not actually be the case as my memory is probably somewhat skewed. I've always been more of a Topps guy. I dismissed Upper Deck when it first came out and didn't pay much attention to it. A dollar for a pack of cards? Madness! By 1991 I also had more money and a driver's license, so I was able to hit the card shops more often and see the craziness first hand. It was amazing how batshit insane people went for this set. Granted, it was fantastic looking for the time. The photos were great and it was a stroke of genius to market the set as Kodak quality. I remember a few dismayed shop owners who proudly displayed the cards in their front window only to have them fade from the sun after a while. The backs were pretty neat too, with their weird BATS rating system and the coolest thing ever, a picture of the player's Topps rookie card. This set got real expensive real quick, and while I liked it it was out of my league. I bought one pack at the time at Atlanta Sports Cards for the kingly price of five dollars for one pack. (What is it with me and 5 dollar packs?) I eagerly opened it up and looked through the cards. The best card in the pack was - and I am not kidding about this - Teddy Higuera. The shop keeper who had just sold me on a pack of cards for five dollars proceeded to laugh in my face. "Wow, that pack really sucked!" I passed on a second pack. The last laugh was by me as I ended up picking up most of the set in common bins for less than a penny a piece a few years later. I found a couple of boxes of this stuff selling for a tenth of what I paid in '91, so I picked up a pack of series 1 and 2 for a buck. Here's what I got:

101 Lou Whitaker
220 Barry Bonds
177 Eddie Murray
200 Nolan Ryan
Stadium Club Membership offer
235 Tom Browning
5 Will Clark
42 Lee Smith
80 Randy Milligan
280 Rex Hudler
274 Robin Ventura
291 Shawn Abner

Wow. Not sure you could do much better than the four cards before the advertisement. Check out Sweet Lou's Baseball-reference page and look at the similar batters section. It's a who's-who of Hall of Fame arguments. Eddie Murray is the shiz-nite as Master Shake would say. Barry is looking smarmy as hell in that fake Olan Mills portrait. The Nolan Ryan tuxedo card was the one people were really going berzerk for. I never understood it, because tuxedoes look ridiculous to begin with and a Rangers cap and Nikes don't help. The second half of the pack comes down to earth a bit, but Will Clark, Lee Smith and Robin Ventura (wisely keeping his distance from Ryan) are pretty dang good in their own right. Hell, if I had gotten Will the Thrill in that pack 16 years ago, I would have been happy enough to go for that second pack. If I had gotten this exact pack I would have soiled my shorts and opened a box. I dug up my old Beckett from September 1991 (The one with Dave Justice on the cover) and The Nolan books for 10 bucks and rising, Will is $2.50 with an up arrow and the rest range from 20 to 90 cents. Frank Thomas was the big seller at 18 bucks a pop. I don't see any of them listed in a recent Beckett, just the Bagwell and Gonzalez rookies. Gotta make room for the new Topps Triple Threads listings I guess.


Hoiles said...

Nowadays you can probably get a complete set of this for what it would have cost for two packs in 1991. Lesson: if you REALLY want an autographed game-used Dice-K rookie, wait until 2020 and you'll be able to get it for a couple of bucks.

Ben Meers said...

well, i looked all over and could not find a photo of the '91 Stadium Club Scott Erickson that everyone went batshit over.

Mike S said...

Is this it?

Unknown said...

Okay, I'll post the prices listed in my Oct/Nov 2007 Beckett Baseball Plus:

Nolan Ryan: $2-5
Barry Bonds: $1.50-4
"Unlisted Stars": $.50-1.25
"Semistars": $.30-.75
"Minor Stars": $.20-.50