The first “premiere” set from Topps, 1991 Stadium Club also was the first true set to be broken up into series. I say “true” because in years past, Topps not only produced “Traded” sets that included rookies and traded players, but also “high-number” series that often were more difficult to come by.
A special 200-card Stadium Set was produced in 1991, but it had nothing to do with wax packs for the base set. This set featured 100 draft picks, 50 All-Stars, 25 Team U.S.A. cards and a few others, packaged in a replica Toronto Skydome display box.
One of the things about 1991 Stadium Club that I now find appealing actually is a big turn-off to most newer collectors: There are no parallel sets and no subsets. What a refreshing change from today’s plethora of gold, silver and platinum subsets, and parallel cards numbering into the hundreds!
In card collecting’s simplest form, 1991 Stadium Club offered well-done photography, often close up. There was almost nothing else on the card fronts except the Stadium Club logo and the player name, which were small enough to not crowd out the photo.
One of the things I liked best about 1991 Stadium Club was the miniature rookie cards on the card backs. The statistics aren’t nearly as complete as in basic Topps sets, but when producing something different, it helps to actually look different, and the mini rookie cards were a brilliant idea.
I could have done without the hitting and pitching percentages on the card backs, but we can’t have everything we want, can we?
Cards of Dave Stewart (#1) and Nolan Ryan (#200) showed each player in a tuxedo, with a cloth backdrop instead of an action photo.
A glaring lack of rookie cards keeps the value down on this set. Jeff Bagwell is the only notable rookie card in the set.
If you’re a new collector looking to increase the size of your collection, this set has enough stars to make it worth the space on your shelf. If you’re a long-time collector and don’t already have the set, you probably don’t want it because these cards can be found in abundance for well under the high book price.
1991 Topps Stadium Club Baseball
Complete set: 600 cards (Series 1: 300 cards; Series 2: 300 cards).
High book: NM-M, $20.
Top Stars: #21 Don Mattingly ($2); #126 Greg Maddux ($2); #159 George Brett ($2); #200 Nolan Ryan ($3); #220 Barry Bonds ($2.50); #270 Ken Griffey Jr. ($1.50); #309 Roger Clemens ($2); #399 Mark McGwire ($2.50); #430 Cal Ripken Jr. ($2.50).
Top Rookies: #388 Jeff Bagwell ($1.50); #317 Wes Chamberlain – UCE ($0.50); $459 Phil Plantier ($0.50); #576 Luis Gonzalez ($1); #578 Jeff Conine (0.75).