Like many people in the blogosphere, I was a big fan of Stadium Club back in the day, for all the reasons mentioned here. Mr. Cracknell hit the nail on the head with that post and if you haven’t already, make sure you check the campaign link on my sidebar. Today I will review a Stadium Club product from its later years, a short-lived spinoff called Stadium Club Chrome.
So what happens when brilliant, full-bleed photography meets chrome? In 1999, Topps decided to find out when they inserted Chrome and Chrome Refractor inserts into packs of Stadium Club. Between the 2 series, there were 40 total cards, each seeded 1 per box (2 per box for jumbo packs). The refractors were seeded 1 in 4 boxes (1 in 2 boxes for jumbos). Hmm. They look pretty nice, but what would a whole set look like? In 2000, the first, and thus far only, Stadium Club Chrome base set was made. Boxes contain 24 packs of 5 cards each and can be had for about $25-30 plus shipping. Here’s what I pulled…
Base cards: There are 250 cards in the base set, the last 50 of which are young stars/prospects. In the regular Stadium Club set, these were shortprinted and seeded in every 5 packs. In the Chrome set, they are not. The cards feature the great photography SC is known for, with a colored pennant at the bottom of the card serving as a nameplate. One thing I did notice was that unlike most other chrome cards, these cards don’t curve nearly as much, which is a huge plus. I received 111 different base cards without any duplicates.
Refractors (1:12 packs): There are 3 parallels to the base set, the most common being the Refractors. They are seeded 2 per box and look terrific, especially with the great photos. You can’t say enough about them! My 2 refractors were Robin Ventura and Randy Johnson.
First Day Issue (1:33 packs): The second parallel I pulled was the good ol’ First Day Issue. These aren’t very easy to spot as the only difference between these and the regular cards are the words “First Day Issue” scrolling across the top of the pennant in very small print. The text is in gold and if you pull one of a player who has a yellow pennant on the card (like I did), they can be particularly hard to spot without flipping the card over and seeing the serial numbering on the back. These are limited to just 100. Unfortunately, my player was Keith Osik, who backed up Jason Kendall in Pittsburgh for years. If any Pirates fans out there want this, let me know. Also, there is a First Day Issue Refractor, numbered to just 25!
Eyes of the Game (1:16 packs): Many of the insert sets in this product have very similar odds. Also, in similar fashion to the Bowman Chrome inserts I just reviewed, these also come with a rarer refractor parallel. The first insert is called Eyes of the Game, which is 1 of 2 acetate insert sets offered by SC Chrome. Each card has a transparent background with a close-up shot of the player’s stare. My pull was Mark McGwire. The stare in the background doesn’t compare to this Ken Griffey, Jr. The refractor version is found 1 in every 80 packs.
Capture the Action (1:18 packs): This insert set has a mixture of stars, rookies, and legends, all with individual color themes on each card. I beat the odds here by pulling 2 of these – Mike Piazza and Sean Casey. The refractor version is found 1 in every 90 packs.
Visionaries (1:18 packs): These are beautiful cards. Each card is predominantly gold with 2 smaller background images of the player against a baseball background. I pulled a Pablo Ozuna (I’ve been getting a lot of him!). The refractor version is found 1 in every 90 packs. I happened to pull a refractor of John Patterson, who is formerly of the D’Backs but currently with Texas.
Clear Shots (1:24 packs): Here is acetate insert number 2. This insert set was featured on Things Done to Cards. These have the transparent background and a different color scheme for each player. Tons of small pennants saying “Clear Shots” can be found in the background while Greg Maddux stares in for the catcher’s sign in this pose. If you flip the card over, you can actually see the player’s back. I’m not sure that any other inserts out there have this trait. The refractor version is found 1 in every 120 packs.
What WASN’T Pulled: Aside from the Visionaries insert, I didn’t pull any of the refractor versions of the inserts above. I also did not find a First Day Issue Refractor in my box. The stated odds on those are 1 in every 131 packs. Plus, there are only 25 of each so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that I didn’t hit one.
Final Thoughts: This box was a LOT of fun to rip. I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would! Everything I pulled looked great. The colors, photographs, and technology used made the cards memorable. Sure, there are no game-used or autographs to chase after, but so what? The inserts and parallels are all awesome and the base set is a very nice one to shoot for. It’s disappointing that SC Chrome only lasted for 1 year, but perhaps that’s what makes this underrated set so special (I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I actually liked this set). I’m definitely going to build the base set so expect another box of this on my blog soon! For barely over a dollar per pack, you can’t go wrong. Try one!
As always, thanks for reading and good luck with your own breaks, new or old!