Sunday, August 07, 2011

Top 10 National Pick-Ups: #10. It's for "Members Only."

#10: 1991 Stadium Club Charter Member kit (w/o membership card).

Paid $10.

Has it really been 20 years since Topps first introduced Stadium Club? Yes, yes it has. Sadly, I am no longer the little bastard who pilfered those $8 Series One packs ($8! For a pack of cards!) into the waistband of my Umbro shorts, then ran out the fire exit into the Cherry Hill Mall parking lot. Nor am I the kid who begged my parents to eat our ceremonial Friday night dinner at McDonald's just so I could get a Series Two pack for $1.99 with the purchase of any size order of Fries.

The Hobby had never seen a card like Stadium Club before, but what few collectors remember is that Topps' Stadium Club was exactly that, a club. If you've ever ripped into any packs of early-to-mid-90s Stadium Club, you probably remember those one-per-pack solicitations to get you to join this club. For a one-time annual fee, Topps would send you a special "Members Only" set.

Yeah, that's right. MEMBERS ONLY. It even said so on the bottom of the cards.

For a brief period in the early-90s, Topps also published a bi-monthly magazine, and they threw in a subscription with your membership. In later years, Stadium Club members also were given the privilege of purchasing special "Members Only" factory sets of that year's Stadium Club set. These factory sets were extremely limited and, as a special bonus, also included most of the inserts. In all my years of collecting, I have yet to see any of these Members Only factory sets. I've seen some singles, but not an in-tact set.

As part of the launch of 1991 Stadium Club Baseball Series One, Topps gave all the initial Stadium Club members a special collector's kit. The kit included an exclusive 50-card "Charter Member" set. About two-thirds of the cards were of baseball players, and the rest of players from the two other sports Topps had licenses to at the time (NFL & NHL). The kit also included the standard membership card, a Stadium Club key chain, and a bronze ingot of Nolan Ryan.

The Ryan ingot looks like one of those cheesy "Gold Cards" you probably saw Don West shilling on Shop at Home back in the day. But this thing is FUCKING HEAVY AS SHIT! You could probably do some damage with this thing if you needed to. And as an piece of advice, I wouldn't recommend carrying this thing through airport security.

Being that my parents (wisely) wouldn't trust me with a checkbook and an ATM card, I wasn't able to join the Stadium Club few the first few years. But I have been able to pick up the various Members Only sets over the years. So when I saw a Charter Member kit for sale for only $10, it was a no-brainer, and #10 on my list of National pick-ups.

But to be honest with you, I got this for one thing and one thing only: The key chain.


#10: It's for "Members Only"
#9: The case of the mysterious rookie reprint
#8: 75 for 25
#7: A point is a point
#6: OH NOEZ!!!!!
#5: What do they know about partying? Or anything else?
#4: Epix Mo-Jo!!!
#3: Satisfyin' the ladies, one printin' plate at a time
#2: The Mother of all junk waxboxes
#1: Ironic ain't just the name of an Alanis Morrisette song


Anonymous said...

Great pickup, can't wait to see the rest. I looked it up on BCP, and that's one cool checklist. Delino Deshields, Randy Johnson, Ottis Anderson, and Mario Lemieux all in one set! Quite the time capsule.

Ryan G said...

I don't know how I did it, but I ended up as a charter member of the Stadium Club. I still have my Nolan and the set. I don't know where the keychain is - I might still have it, but the original box no longer exists. I believe I have the membership card with my name printed on it! Too bad I wasn't able to continue my membership and get all those cool benefits. Who am I kidding, I probably would have sold them all away at some point, or otherwise broken up the sets.

Fuji said...

Congratulations on the find... I have one of these sets tucked away. Thought it was going to pay for my retirement... sort of depressing you can find these for $10