Sunday, February 8, 2015

Topps Stadium Club 2014 vs. 1995

Here is another probably irregular feature on The Old Arbitrary: comparing one product 19 years apart.

Today I'm looking at Topps Stadium Club. I got a deal on a 2014 minibox at last week's card show in Mounds View. This week at the Valley West show, a vendor had a ton of "vintage" packs, including these 1995 Stadium Club series 1 and 2 for 50 cents each.

1995: 14 cards per pack, 4 packs (56 cards) for $2.00

2014: 5 cards per pack, 6 packs (one autograph card, 30 cards total) for $28.00

Not surprisingly, the new product is more expensive. I don't recall how much these packs cost in 1995, but it was definitely more than 50 cents. 2014 has an on card autograph in every box, though.
Advantage: 1995

Base cards:


The only thing that can beat Stadium Club photography is more Stadium Club photography. While the gimmicky poses are fun, they are really cheesy and so '90s. 2014 is a cleaner classy look and the photography is top notch.
Advantage: 2014

Card backs:
1995: Very 90s, video game style bar charts (Topps skills rating system), two more player photos, busy busy busy, and yet, no career stat line.

2014: A fairly clean look, with a background image of home plate, reminiscent of the first few editions of the product. Shows 2013 stats for active players and career stats for all.

Advantage: 2014

1995: Virtual Reality, Best Seat in the House, Cover Story, Statistical Extreme

2014: Luminous, On Card Auto, Field Access, Legends

I only listed inserts that were in the packs I opened, I'm sure there are more. What is the difference between the "Virtual Reality" insert and a regular base card? Not much. "Statistical Extreme" is very 1995 Fleer. I kind of hate die-cut cards- I'm always worried they will get dinged up, but I do really like the Rickey Henderson card I pulled.
Advantage: tie, because inserts

Hall of Famers:
1995: Greg Maddux, Ozzie Smith

2014: Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Duke Snider, Lou Gehrig, Ernie Banks, Bob Feller, George Brett

Really not a fair fight, as 2014 has a ton of retired players from all eras. Projecting the active players I pulled from 2014, probably David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre, Clayton Kershaw are the most likely. The Wizard wins the no-prize for being in packs from both sets.
Advantage: 2014


1995: Alex Cole - hit his first career home run in 94 (it was his 1,317th MLB at bat), was a decent speedy CF in 1994. He came up with Cleveland, was an original Rockie, wore turtlenecks and shades, but didn't last much longer after that season and a half with the Twins.

2014: Joe Mauer - That's kind of a stupid looking hat, Joe. Good thing you've won an MVP and three batting titles, because otherwise I was leaning towards the turtle.
Advantage: 2014

Have to say that as much fun as it was to open the 1995 packs, I don't miss the '90s that much. The 2014 Stadium Club might be my favorite version of the product since 1992. The first few years of Stadium Club were a revelation. 1994 and 1995 seemed to be starting a slide of the whole hobby into some really unnecessary inserts and parallels.
Winner: 2014

Where would you rank 1995 Stadium Club?


  1. I'd probably rank '95 Stadium Club near the middle of the pack. I like the late '90s/early 2000's Stadium Club a whole lot, even though I think they get lost in the shuffle over the earlier sets. I'd give 2014 the nod here as well.

  2. '95 is one of the few SClub sets I put together (besides '92+3 since they were so easy). I think the design is distinctive enough to set it apart from a lot of the other years. I can't really tell a lot of the later years' apart from one another, they kinda blend together.
    I'd really like to get a set of the 2014s though. They are far and away some of the best ever.

    1. I do really like the 1995 base cards - like you said, distinctive from the other sets and the design makes room for the picture.
      The inserts bug me a bit though. I did figure out that the "Virtual Reality" insert is the Stadium Club version of Cyberstats, the super depressing reminder that there was a baseball strike and Gwynn could have hit .400, Matt Williams could have out homered Roger Maris, The Expos could have won their division...