Pizza Cardboard. Or, Cardboard Pizza

For those of us that collected in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, there was nothing better than buying your favorite (or not so favorite) snack or cereal and pulling a card of a major leaguer. Of course these ‘food-issues’ were distributed well before those three decades, with some of the most popular being Post cereal cards from the early ’60s. But with the decline of collectors over the past two decades, ‘oddballs’ became an endangered species.

walmart pizza cards

This season, we have seen a revival of the food-issue with the release of Topps’ Marketside Pizza cards, found exclusively at Walmart in specially marked boxes of Marketside Pizza or Breadsticks.

Each Topps Marketside pack contains three player cards, a coupon, and a Topps Bunt code card.

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Included in the 50-card checklist are superstars such as Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant, mascots (Mr. Met, Phillie Phanatic) and rookies (including Corey Seager, the mid-season favorite for N.L. Rookie of the Year).

Topps Marketside checklist
1 Mike Trout Angels®
2 Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves™
3 Nolan Arenado Colorado Rockies™
4 Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles®
5 Manny Machado Baltimore Orioles®
6 Carlos Correa Houston Astros®
7 Michael Wacha St. Louis Cardinals®
8 Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers®
9 Jacob deGrom New York Mets®
10 David Ortiz Boston Red Sox®
11 Evan Longoria Tampa Bay Rays™
12 Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox®
13 Troy Tulowitzki Toronto Blue Jays®
14 Miguel Sano Minnesota Twins® RC
15 Robinson Cano Seattle Mariners™
16 Phillie Phanatic™ Philadelphia Phillies®
17 Chris Sale Chicago White Sox®
18 Francisco Lindor Cleveland Indians®
19 Buster Posey San Francisco Giants®
20 Jacoby Ellsbury New York Yankees®
21 Luis Severino New York Yankees® RC
22 Noah Syndergaard New York Mets®
23 Prince Fielder Texas Rangers®
24 Bryce Harper Washington Nationals®
25 Alex Gordon Kansas City Royals®
26 Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants®
27 Paul Goldschmidt Arizona Diamondbacks®
28 Sonny Gray Oakland Athletics™
29 Yadier Molina St. Louis Cardinals®
30 Josh Donaldson Toronto Blue Jays®
31 Giancarlo Stanton Miami Marlins®
32 Hector Olivera Atlanta Braves™ RC
33 Aaron Nola Philadelphia Phillies® RC
34 Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates®
35 Tyson Ross San Diego Padres™
36 Salvador Perez Kansas City Royals®
37 Todd Frazier Cincinnati Reds®
38 A.J. Pollock Arizona Diamondbacks®
39 Jose Abreu Chicago White Sox®
40 George Springer Houston Astros®
41 Kris Bryant Chicago Cubs®
42 Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins®
43 Dee Gordon Miami Marlins®
44 Albert Pujols Angels®
45 Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers®
46 Kyle Schwarber Chicago Cubs® RC
47 Corey Seager Los Angeles Dodgers® RC
48 Ryan Braun Milwaukee Brewers™
49 Mr. Met™ New York Mets®
50 Justin Verlander Detroit Tigers®

A strong checklist and great design makes this a must-have for the oddball collector. But hopefully you hit the aisles early- the promotion ran from March through the end of June. If you missed out, you can Buy your singles here on eBay.

 

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Throwback

So what do you do when you’re a Major League Baseball team playing its final season in an historical ballpark? Well, one thing you do is celebrate by paying homage to the team that won your most recent World Series championship. This is what the Chicago White Sox did on July 11, 1990 in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers, starting the trend known as Turn Back the Clock Night- one which continues to this day.

The Sox, playing their final season at historic Old Commisky Park, turned back the clock by returning to 1917 prices (although the probably didn’t pay their players 1917 wages), outfitting the ground crew in time period clothing, turning off the public address system and electronic scoreboard- using a hand operated one instead, and wearing throwback uniforms.

The team had to receive permission from the American League to wear the replica uniforms, which were manufactured by Rawlings and, unlike the original unis, featured uniform numbers. The replicas did feature a few differences, but one thing that remained was the American flag patch on the left sleeve.

This event did not go unnoticed by the manufacturers of baseball cards, as a number of cards in sets from 1991 featured White Sox players in the throwback garb. Donruss, Fleer (Ultra), Topps (flagship, Bowman and Stadium Club), Score and Upper Deck all captured the moment on cardboard. This, too, started a tradition that continues to this very day- cards featuring players in their throwbacks.

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Topps capitalized on the nostalgia in its 2015 Update Series by including 50 card variations of players from Series 1 and 2 in their throwback uniforms. Featuring a design that is similar to its base-card counterparts, the cards have a light-brown border and feature the old “umbrella” Topps logo. While thought to originally be exclusive to Walmart packs and boxes, we now know that some of the variations are exclusive to Target stores. Cards can be identified by a code on the back of the card, with Walmart cards ending in 5605 while Target cards end in 5604. Odds for pulling a throwback variation run at 1:2 rack packs.

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Box Review: 2016 Topps Stadium Club

My interest in modern baseball sets boils down to four products: Topps flagship, Topps Heritage, Topps Archives and Topps Stadium Club. Each product represents something different to me- flagship represents tradition, Heritage represents design (I love the older designs, both front & back), Archives represents nostalgia (70s-early 90s for me), and Stadium Club represents beauty.

Stadium Club has always been a set built upon stunning photography and this year’s release is no different. Not only does the set feature beautiful photos, but the images are not the rehashed ones that often find their way into the other Topps products. For many collectors, the anticipation of which new photos they will see on release day has almost become like the anticipation of waiting to see what is under the tree on Christmas morning. As usual, the design takes the back seat, with full-bleed photos and a font similar to that used on 1996 Fleer baseball.

The Lowdown:

Release Date: July 1, 2016

Hobby Box Configuration: 8 cards per pack, 16 packs per box, 16 boxes per case

  • 2 autographs per hobby box
  • 16 base parallels
  • 2 ISOmetrics inserts
  • 1 Triumvirate Luminous insert
  • 1 Legends Die-Cut insert
  • 1 Beam Team insert

The Breakdown:

Box 1:

  • 109 base cards- 9 doubles
  • Autographs (on card)- 2 (Carl Edwards Jr., Ketel Marte)
  • Photo Variation- 1 (Michael Conforto)
  • Gold Parallels- 5
  • Triumvirate- 1 (Hunter Pence-Luminous)
  • Beam Team- 1 (Yu Darvish)
  • ISOmetrics- 3 (Kris Bryant, Joey Votto, David Price)
  • Contact Sheet- 2 (Nolan Arenado, Michael Conforto)
  • Black and White Orange Foil Parallel- 1 (Nolan Arenado)
  • Black Parallel-2 (David Price, Mark Teixeira)

 

Box 2:

  • 109 base cards- 0 doubles
  • Autographs (on card)- 2 (A.J. Pollock, Miguel Almonte)
  • Triumvirate-1 (Kyle Schwarber)
  • Rainbow Foilboard Parallel #’d/25- 1 (David Ortiz, 19/25)
  • Black Parallel-1 (Andres Galarraga)
  • Gold Parallels-6 (including Trevor Story RC)
  • ISOmetrics-2 (Clayton Kershaw, A.J. Pollack)
  • Contact Sheet-2 (Bryce Harper, Buster Posey)
  • Beam Team-1 (Andrew McCutchen)
  • Legends Die-Cuts-2 (Tom Seaver, Willie McCovey)
  • Buybacks-1 (’14 Stadium Club Ryan Braun)

 

The two hobby boxes I opened delivered, for the most part, what was promised. One big exception were the parallels- where I only received 8 per box, not the 16 that were promised on the sell sheets. Inserts were seeded at or near ratio but I was a bit underwhelmed with the autographs I received. Hitting one of the short-printed photo variations and the short-printed Foil Board parallel helped ease the pain.

Set builders may want to plan on opening three or four boxes to get the base set. If you’re looking for a product to ‘rip and flip’ for profit, then Stadium Club may not be for you. However, if you’re looking for something fun to break with an affordable price point then this product is just for you.