Topps Stadium Club line arrives with first error of baseball season nTC

COLLECTORS NOTEBOOK

April 12, 1992|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Staff Writer

Ooops.

Error, Topps. Card No. 1 of 1992 Stadium Club is Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken, a fitting honor for the American League MVP after a banner season. The picture is nice, too, as Ripken takes a swing. But on the back, his name is spelled "Ripkin."

But don't try to corner the market on Ripkins anticipating a reissue of the card with his name spelled right. Topps is going to live with the error.

"Obviously we don't like to make mistakes," says Topps spokesman Timm Boyle. "It was one of those things that slipped through our quality control."

Stadium Club, Topps' premium line, is back for its second baseball season. This time, there will be more cards -- 900 cards released in three series and a greater quantity for sale.

"We're planning to produce more Stadium Club this year," says Boyle. "We're trying to avoid what happened last year [when dealers charged high prices for scarce Stadium Club packs]."

The first series is out, and it's a nice-looking set. The stadium logo on the front has walls this year, and the player's name is on the walls, giving the card a clean, minimalist look. Backs have traded infield dirt and grass for a stylized stadium wall and grass. Reproduction rookie cards and BARS numbers are back.

There are no tuxedos this time; everybody's in uniform. Among the best pictures are Deion Sanders flagging down a fly ball in front of the Wrigley Field ivy, Vince Coleman squared to bunt, Jeff Montgomery pitching, Wally Joyner sliding uncontested into home, Roberto Alomar airborne and turning a double play, Lonnie Smith running over Brian Harper during the World Series, Marquis Grissom running toward third (and you) as an out-of-focus and partly cropped coach gives him the stop sign and John Burkett wearing an old-style New York Giants uniform.

For a puzzler, trying figuring why Topps decided to show pitcher David Cone batting and Sam Horn with a glove.

Almost every card showing a catcher in his gear is good, and the first series shows a lot of them doing all sorts of things catchers do in the course of a game. There are also numerous cards showing players running the bases -- in horizontal and vertical formats. For collectors who sort their cards numerically, it's disappointing when there's a run of two or three cards with players in virtually identical positions -- pitchers coming over the top or batters swinging through.

The cards will come 15 to a pack with a suggested retail price of $1.75; last year's numbers were 12 cards and the rarely seen $1.25. Each pack contains a card inviting the collectors to join Topps' Stadium Club. One of the perks for the $29.95 membership fee is the ability to buy up to six packs of each Stadium Club product from Topps for the suggested retail price.

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Stadium Club "update": For all the collectors who thought Topps' Stadium Club baseball set had 600 cards, make room for 200 more. They're packaged in a plastic replica of Skydome, site of last year's All-Star Game, and there are 56 All-Star cards. The set also includes 100 cards of top draft picks, including Brien Taylor, 25 Team USA cards and 19 playoff and World Series cards. The cards are numbered from 1 to 200. Boyle says "it's possible" the All-Star format could become an annual Stadium Club feature.

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Upcoming events:

Today, baseball card show, Cole Field House, College Park, April 10 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., April 11 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., April 12 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., (703) 780-3091.

Today, baseball card show to benefit Edgewood High baseball team and bleacher fund, Edgewood High School, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 676-3773.

Saturday, baseball card show, Cranberry Mall, Westminster, 10 a.m.

Saturday, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.

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