On paper, I’m sure it seemed like a brilliant idea. Take a beloved brand like Stadium Club and add Chrome technology to it. What could possibly go wrong? That’s exactly what Topps did in 2000 when it introduced Stadium Club Chrome to an already flooded market.
Nevermind the fact that Topps Company already produced Topps & Bowman Chrome, not to mention Finest, three very popular brands that featured Chrome & Refractor technology. Surely collectors wouldn’t mind another Chrome release, right?
2000 Topps Stadium Club featured the exact same 250 base cards included in regular Stadium Club but introduced Refractors to the mix. What Stadium Club Chrome was missing however was something collectors love even more than Refractors, certified autographs.
Stadium Club had an amazing on-card autograph checklist featuring superstars like Derek Jeter & Alex Rodriguez. Stadium Club Chrome had none, nada, zip. Stadium Club also seeded 1/1 printing plates, Stadium Club Chrome did not. The Chrome version of Stadium Club was essentially all flash and no substance.
As you can imagine, Stadium Club Chrome never returned and by 2003, the once legendary brand that shook the hobby world in 1991 was sent into an early retirement. In 2008, after several years away, Topps brought Stadium Club back as an ultra high-end brand.
The base cards once again featured amazing photography but there was just no reason for the expensive price tag, especially when you consider some of the duds in the autograph and relics checklist. Clearly, Topps could not properly handle the Stadium Club legacy as it was sent into a second retirement after 2008.
With no Stadium Club release likely to happen in 2009, this is one brand that Topps could resurrect in 2010 but only if done right. Leave out the Triple Threads-like relics and sticker autographs on the Beam Team inserts. We already have enough high-end releases, give us one mid-end product that focuses on inserts & photography.
As for the “hits”, we could do without the relics that sell for under $1 dollar on eBay. Instead, focus on a respectable on-card autograph checklist. Done right, 2010 Stadium Club could easily compete with Topps’ best releases of the year, including Allen & Ginter.
If you can’t do that, maybe it’s time to let Stadium Club die once and for all.