Saturday, July 10, 2021

Still a member of the Club

I don't personally open a lot of new product. Fortunately I know people who do. People like Gawain (Mr Cuban Baseball in the UK) who is my reliable source for brand new Tony Gwynn cards. Today's card arrived last week from the Cuban Museum in Surrey, and as ever, I'm hugely grateful. (I also want to say thanks to Marc who got in touch a few days after this card arrived to say he had a copy if I wanted it. I feel blessed to be on so many people's radar.)

Card Number 705: Topps Stadium Club, 2021; #24

I'm never going to criticise a picture of Tony in a brown Padres uniform. Particularly when it's a photo I haven't seen a whole bunch of times before. The Padres are back in brown now (and the uniforms look lovely), but I wish they would bring that colourway helmet back as well.

Some photo re-use on the back. This is a cropped version of the photo used on the 2020 Topps flagship short print card

That third sentence is worth scrutiny. The highest career average of any player in the "Expansion Era", which according to Topps started the year after Tony was born. Why not just say during his lifetime, eh? Basically, there was no better consistent hitter in the 20 years before Tony got drafted, during his 20 year career, or in the 20 years since he retired.

Greg Maddux famously swore about the fact he could never strike Tony out. I didn't realise Tony had a similar record against Pedro Martinez as well. (Although, to be honest, 139 plate appearances against both pitchers combined feels a bit low.)

With stats like this, thought, it's easy to see why Tony still has a place in the Stadium Club. Long may that continue.

Total: 705 cards


  1. Gwynn faced Maddux (107 times) which was more than any other pitcher during his career. As for Pedro... he didn't become a full time starter until 1994 and was in the AL by 1998. Hopefully that helps explain why he only faced Gwynn 32 times.

    I'm with you on enjoying Gwynn wearing the brown & gold uniforms. I just wish that Topps had zoomed out just a little and hadn't cropped off the tip of his bat on the card.

  2. If the Padres and Braves/Cubs were in the same division, I imagine they would have faced off a lot more. Surprising Gwynn faced Maddux more than any other pitcher. I would have guessed a divisional pitcher like Hershiser.

  3. Good points both. Thanks for the insights!

  4. As much as I enjoy collecting Gwynn, I would actually like to see Topps give him a break on releasing cards of him in almost every set. Or even better,
    cut down on the amount of parallels they print.
    As far as Stadium Club goes this is a nice picture of Gwynn but the overall design of the set is on the boring side in my humble opinion.