30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Slipped Through the Cracks

When I was a little kid, I remember watching movies like Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Bridge on the River Kwai with my parents.  Since then, I've been a huge fan of almost anything involving World War II and I'm one of those people who get excited whenever I have the opportunity to watch something new.

While browsing Amazon Prime this weekend, I stumbled across A Bridge Too Far which stars legends like Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Maximilian Schell, Anthony Hopkins, Sean Connery, Laurence Olivier, James Caan, and Michael Caine.  With that many Academy Award winners featured in this film, I was shocked that I had never heard about this movie.  But with so many movies released each year, it's bound to happen.  Some movies slip through the cracks.

The same thing applies to baseball card sets.

1997 Stadium Club Patent Leather #PL13

In 1997, Topps created a really cool insert set for its Stadium Club product called Patent Leather.  The die-cut cards which were printed on faux leather card stock are truly beautiful.  The first time I saw one of these was over on A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts less than a month ago.  I was blown away.  In fact, I knew right then and there that I wanted one for my collection.

I immediately headed over to COMC, but there weren't any good bargains to be had.  A week later, I stumbled across this binder at the De Anza Flea Market:

The Baseball Card Gods were smiling down upon me.  Inside was a complete 1997 Stadium Club Member's Only set, which happened to include the entire Patent Leather insert set as well.  Collectors could obtain these inserts in one of two ways.  Pull them out of Series 2 retail packs or become a Stadium Club member and purchase the Member's Only set.

The cards are identical in appearance with the exception of the Members Only watermark on the back.

Here's the set in its entirety:

Obviously this set is centered around guys who were known for their fielding ability.

Barry Bonds - 8 Gold Glove Awards
Ken Caminiti - 3 Gold Glove Awards
Ivan Rodriguez - 13 Gold Glove Awards
Craig Biggio - 4 Gold Glove Awards
Greg Maddux - 18 Gold Glove Awards
Ken Griffey Jr. - 10 Gold Glove Awards
Barry Larkin - 3 Gold Glove Awards
Kenny Lofton - 4 Gold Glove Awards
Andres Galarraga - 2 Gold Glove Awards
Roberto Alomar - 10 Gold Glove Awards
Rey Ordonez - 3 Gold Glove Awards
Mark Grace - 4 Gold Glove Awards
Derek Jeter - 5 Gold Glove Awards

The thirteen players on the checklist combined to win a total of 87 Gold Glove Awards during their careers.

As of the right now, only six of these guys are hall of famers.  However it's only a matter of time before Jeter gets enshrine... and hopefully Bonds will too.

But honestly... the thing that makes this set so intriguing isn't the checklist.  It's fact that it took me over twenty years to discover one of the coolest looking inserts from that era.  But that's the beauty of our blogosphere.  Every day we're blogging about our favorite cards... and sometimes we discover cool stuff that have slipped through the cracks of our collections.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. These are pretty rad looking. Thanks for showing them off and congrats on the acquisition in the first place

  2. That was such a great find! From what I've seen, the Jeter alone was probably worth the price of the entire binder.

  3. I've had the Rey Ordonez card in my collection for quite some time, however I only just learned of the Members Only variation. *sigh*, another card to track down...

  4. Very cool to see the whole set at once, and the Members Only version as Colbey already said. This takes me back to the days when Topps actually put effort into their inserts. I loved stuff like Patent Leather and Firebrand from Stadium Club!

  5. I’m excited to see one of these in person someday.

  6. Those are very cool cards Fuji! I might have to track down that Larkin.

  7. That is a very cool looking set - congrats on another great flea market find!

  8. Great set, need to try and pick up a Bonds for my Giants collection.

  9. I do not remember this set at all. I loved the Hot Gloves set in Flair and there was another in this vain in one of the Pacific products too. I am going to have to find a couple of these.

  10. I do not remember this set at all. I loved the Hot Gloves set in Flair and there was another in this vain in one of the Pacific products too. I am going to have to find a couple of these.

  11. That is an awesome 90s insert set. I fully agree that most baseball cards shouldn't be made out of faux leather, but I also totally agree that occasionally, some should be.

  12. You really come across some neat stuff. Great pickup! I had never seen these before.

  13. peter k steinberg - thanks. i agree... they're totally radical.

    jon - yeah... the jeter and griffey pretty much takes care of everything. the rest is gravy

    colbey hopper - good news is the members only parallels are about the same price or cheaper

    dennis - 90's innovation is second to none. i might actually review the firebrand set in the future.

    sumomenkoman - i'm gonna try and make that happen

    reds card collector - good news is larkin shouldn't set you back more than a few bucks

    matt - thanks. my favorite flea market find in 2018

    arpsmith - best of luck. bonds was one of the guys i was actually targeting.

    snorting bull - mid 90's flair rules! love those hot glove sets

    defenders50 - if there's ever a set to use faux leather... this would be the one.

    commishbob - thanks. i hadn't seen them either (until jon's post).

  14. In my experience, there's nothing better than mid-90s Stadium Club for unearthing Stuff You Probably Should Have Seen By Now.