Tuesday, September 4, 2007

91-92 Topps Stadium Club

You know, for their first try at hockey cards without O-Pee-Chee's help since the '67-68 season, Topps' Stadium Club is a pretty good effort. It's half way in between a premium set (it has a glossy finish and gold foil trim) and the regular meat and potato sets that the Topps/O-Pee-Chee brands were known for (there were no inserts or sub-sets, just 400 pictures of hockey players).

The thing that I always liked about the few 91-92 Stadium Club cards I had as a kid was that each one had a picture of the player's rookie card on the back; it kind of felt like I was getting two cards in one. What I didn't realize until I bought the set a few weeks ago is that they only show each player's Topps rookie card. And since Topps always released smaller sets than O-Pee-Chee, it meant that a lot of players didn't have their Topps rookie card until several years after their O-Pee-Chee rookie. Mark Messier was an NHL All-Star and Conn Smythe trophy winner before he got his Topps rookie in 1986-- six years after his O-Pee-Chee rookie. Many of the other lesser players in this set either have their regular 91-92 Topps card shown on the back, or in some cases, their Stadium Club card-- meaning the same card on the front and back.

Overall, the photography in this set is pretty good. Topps made an effort to include a decent amount of action shots, which I appreciate even when it's hard to tell who is supposed to be the main focus. There are a few cards which are slightly dark or spotty, and there are some awkward dressing room photos, and my favorite, Tim Kerr looking like a casino owner, but compared to most early-90's cards, it's hard to complain.

Five of my favorites:
#306 - David Shaw - Other than action shots, my favorite thing to see on cards is fans going nuts. The guy with the glasses is cheering because that player knocked down that other player.

#318 - Garry Valk - I know I always talk about horizontal cards, but you can fit so much cool stuff onto a horizontal card if you do it right.

#381 - Ray Sheppard - Or you can leave it empty.

#391 - Stephane Matteau - Another card where it's not totally obvious who is supposed to be the main focus right away. But it's a pretty cool angle.

#249 - Bill Ranford - This one is perfect. There is lots going on, but you know exactly who is the center of attention.


Josiah said...

man, that card that says "now with red wings" in the middle made me laugh so hard!

Annice said...

Good post.