1993 STADIUM CLUB 1ST DAY PRODUCTION MIKE DRAPER
The idea seemed slightly absurd at the time: Slap a silver-foil ingot reading “1st Day Production” on the front of 2,000 copies of each card in a set.
Topps had experienced some success with its 1992 gold-foil cards, and sensed a growing hunger among collectors for these “parallel” cards.
The apotheosis of the concept in these early days was the 1993 Finest Refractor set– prices for the top players in this parallel to the regular Finest set surged above four figures soon after issue.
While the 1993 Stadium Club 1st Day cards did not see quite this level of trading activity, they were more widely available and therefore extremely popular. Nolan Ryan, Frank Thomas, and Ken Griffey, Jr all booked in the $200-$300 range, and even lesser players drew strong interest.
Wily counterfeiters of the day would take an X-Acto knife, slice the 1st Day logo off a Mike Draper card, and Kragle it neatly to the front of a regular star card. Unfortunately, Topps had not added identifying marks to any other elements of the card design, making this cut-and-paste scam a relatively easy one to pull off.
The 1993 season was Mike Draper’s first and only in the majors. He appeared in 29 games for that ugly Mets team, going 1-1 with a 4.25 ERA.
The one victory came on August 5 against the Expos in Montreal. Draper entered a 9-9 game in the bottom of the 12th and retired the side in order. The Mets then scored three unearned runs off John Wetteland in the top of the 13th, keyed by an RBI single from Joe Orsulak following a Wetteland throwing error on Ryan Thompson‘s sacrifice attempt. Anthony Young closed the door in the bottom of the 13th, earning his second save in a season where he would ultimately go 1-16. The victory brought the Mets record for the year to 38-70, and stood them 30.5 games out of first place.
Draper pitched three innings in a spot start two days later– it was the only start of his career, and his final appearance in a major-league game…