Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Collect call: Topps Big League Minis
Posted Jun 14, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Jun 14, 2013 at 06:47 PM
For baseball collectors, small trinkets of your favorite players are things you decorate your sports room with—and even if it isn’t a complete room, many collectors have shelves, cubbyholes or even bookcases to display their stuff. For example, I collect bobblehead dolls, but I also have a few autographed baseballs and one signed hockey puck. And really, the more diverse your collection, the better.
With that in mind, and perhaps with an eye toward younger collectors, Topps has introduced Big League Minis. These are 3-inch figurines that feature 28 current major-league stars. The lone Ray in the group is Evan Longoria, and today I got to open a box that contained 20 of these figurines.
Now, if you are looking for accuracy in depicting players, forget it. Most of the players featured have rather generic features, other than the occasional facial hair. I mean, Miguel Cabrera’s ears stick out a bit, but you wouldn’t know that the Derek Jeter figurine was the Yankees’ captain unless you looked at the back of the Mini and saw his distinctive uniform No. 2. But the uniforms are distinctive and you should be able to figure out who the player actually is.
There are variations, and the box I opened had one. It was a yellow-jersey version of the Pirates’ Andrew McCutcheon. The most interesting variation will be the Pablo Sandoval mini, which is cast in the form of a panda (his nickname). Cabrera’s variation shows him with a Triple Crown perched atop his hat. Most of the variations will be different colored jerseys, or, in the case of Yu Darvish, a red hat.
The figures themselves are sturdy and are made of vinyl. Big League Minis can be found at retail outlets like Target and Wal-Mart, plus online and at hobby shops. It can be a nice addition to your shelf, and it won’t take up much room. Certainly, it can be a conversation piece.