Baseball Is Beautiful: 25 Outstanding 2014 Topps Stadium Club Cards
Ever since it debuted in 1991, Topps Stadium Club has focused on photography. 2014 Topps Stadium Club Baseball stays true to its roots in this regard, delivering some out-of-the ordinary shots in the 200-card base set.
The full-bleed design leaves for plenty of room for the images, which are a mix of timely shots from the past year to classic black-and-white photos from almost a century ago.
For those busting packs, it's hard not to be impressed by the photo selection in the set. While not all of the images are new, there are lots that are seldom seen on cards. They also reach beyond the baseball field, delivering some unique portraits of several players.
Below is a taste of what the 2014 Topps Stadium Club Baseball base set offers. While we've list 25 cards, the base set has 200, offering lots more great photography that captures the spirit of the game.
Babe Ruth was the man back in the day. Actually, he still is. But what makes this shot so great isn't the Bambino. Rather, it's the excitement of the fans behind him. The dapper fellow with his arm extended steals the shot.
In one sense, this is a shot any phone or disposable camera could have shot. Nobody's making eye contact with the camera. Andy Pettitte is blinking. But, there's a lot of history (and World Series rings) represented on this card that will make any modern Yankees fan nostalgic.
Throughout his career, Roy Halladay was one of baseball's good guys. He was beloved in Canada even after the Blue Jays traded him to Philadelphia. Halladay sealed his good guy status forever up north by signing a contract with Toronto before retiring. This shot comes from the team's 2014 home opener where the two-time Cy Young Award winner threw out the first pitch. The card gets a couple of bonus points for the traditionally dressed Mounties in the background.
This might be Lou Gehrig's card, but it should have plenty of appeal for Babe Ruth fans as well. The shot has the teammates hanging out casually at the batting cage, both looking to be on their best behavior.
Often shots that don't show a player's face can be hard to connect with. This one of Jose Reyes couldn't be more different. The higher angle, crisp colors and beautiful lighting cast a glow on the action that's pure baseball.
Like the Ruth card, here's another legend interacting with fans. Once again, it's the widening of the shot that makes it more interesting. While Robinson stands out, it's neat to see both the fans and players' reaction as well (not to mention the hats being worn in the dugout).
Running out from the dugout seems like a fairly mundane thing to take a picture of. Yet, this one of the Pirates rookie looks pretty dynamic thanks to its angle. You might even see a little twinkle in Polanco's eye.
This one is all about the human form. Here's Rickey being Rickey, stealing a base. But check out the intensity of his face and his deliberate motion. If you were to build a statue of baseball's all-time stolen bases king, this shot should be used to model it.
It's just another beautiful day at the ball park. Albert Pujols might be on the verge of a home run here. He might be about to strike out. Unless you're an Angels fan, it really doesn't matter. This card highlights the bright summer days at the ballpark, the ideal conditions for the game.
Too often, baseball players have this down-to-business serious look on their cards. It's nice to see Cain and company actually happy to have this goofy shot taken, showing a lighter side of the game.
As far as Freddie Freeman is concerned, this might not be the most flattering card. The camera captures in a somewhat goofy pose, but there's a lot going on in the photo. What exactly? That's tough to tell beyond being a celebration. But if you look a little closer, it's oozing with personality from not only Freeman but several of his teammates.
Here's another moment of history from the set from back in 1986 when Roger Clemens became the first player to strikeout 20 players in a game. It's a simple celebratory shot, showing a softer side of a player who has been at the center of a lot of controversy in many of the years since.
Hold that trophy high, Mike Napoli and enjoy that moment because there's a big lineup behind you.
What's not to love about a player running through a sea of orange flags?
In case you thought the whole Nolan Ryan as cowboy thing was myth, you're dead wrong. Even though this card has nothing to do with baseball on the surface, it shows another side of the Hall of Famer that's pure Texas.
Duke Snider perfected his home run trot, doing it more than 400 times in his career. Rounding the bag, this black and white image is simply a classy look at old-time baseball.
Baseball player slinging a golf club across his shoulders -- sounds like the set up for a joke about a team that hasn't made the postseason in more than two decades. We'll just say that it's a very different look for a home run hitter.
By widening the shot, this picture of Roberto Clemente tells a much bigger story than if it was more of a close-up. You've got Clemente, with his front foot raised and eyes focused, presumably ready to pounce on the ball that's coming. The catcher and umpire are also in the ready behind him. Even the crowd behind is keen on the action at hand.
There are thousands of Ted Williams cards out there but only a few that show him as a Naval Aviator. It's a unique look at one of baseball's greatest hitters whose career was interrupted by World War II.
"Congratulations, Koji Uehara, you just closed out a World Series victory! How do you feel?" So much emotion from the crowning moment of the 2013 season.
Man wearing bear. In the words of Stan Lee, "'Nuff said."
You don't need action to be dramatic. This seemingly simple shot of Matt Kemp captures a lot of personality, despite being shot from what appears to be a corner of the locker room. It has a nice balance between the power of his bat and the softness in his face.
There's something nice about all the angles in this photo of the Royals catcher. Perez is clearly the focal point of baseball's equivalent of a water cooler moment.
Oddly, the selfie that came from this moment between David Ortiz and President Obama became somewhat controversial (in a 21st Century way) . But that only adds to the photo's story and makes it more interesting. It comes from the Red Sox's White House visit celebrating their World Series victory.
Sometimes it's all about perspective. That's the case here. Shot from up high, not only does the shot capture Zimmermann's form, but it sets up the whole mound story. The tools, the dirt, even the Nationals' logo -- they're all here breaking down the tools of one of baseball's top hurlers.
Have you opened any 2014 Topps Stadium Club Baseball? If so, what are your favorite photos in the set?