Thursday, May 16, 2019

Two Fun-Filled Blasters of 2019 Topps Big League

I may have been very vocal about this last year, but Topps Big League grew on me like no other Topps product has last year. I was initially very lukewarm on it, but the more I got, the more the bare-bones appeal got to me. This was a simple, relatively collectible, basic set that worked on a number of levels.

I never thought that Topps would hit one out by emulating 1999 UD Choice, and not any other Collector's Choice issue.

So, the 2019 edition came on shelves yesterday, so naturally I raced to Walmart and picked some up. For 20 bucks I got 2 blasters, which is a nice enough deal. Here are the results:

Blaster #1-

Pack 1-. This is the base design. This has a very early-2000s vibe, and I mean it in the best way possible. The photos are simple but slightly inspired, like the Molina. No filtering, which...takes some getting used to, but I'm fine with it. No foil, which is good. Overall, I'm a fan.

 Pack inserts. Gold parallels are 1 per pack, and unnumbered. Glad Adrian made it in to one last Topps set.
Wall Climbers is a cool-ass, SIMPLE (notice the theme?) insert set, which reminds me of a toned down version of a GQ insert. Dickerson's a good subject for it, as well.

 ...I sometimes question my retail luck.

I don't TRY to pull low-numbered stuff out of retail packs. It just ends up happening, and I'm fine with it.

Jeff McNeil's the best player in Queens right now, and this is a shiny blue foil parallel numbered to 100. So that's hella nice.
Three more base cards to round out the pack. Other thing I like about Big League: updated uniforms. Mallex Smith is still in Tampa on Flagship I think, but he's rightfully in Seattle in this set. Much appreciated.

Pack 2- Oh, I love that this set'll go for unusual uniform shots. Corey Dickerson's is great. And hell, this Darvish card actually makes Cubs Darvish look accomplished before he actually got good in Chicago.

The sketch inserts are back, this one of Gleyber, and...I still love these. Almora's our gold parallel.

 And here's Almora again! Can't really blame collation, as gold parallel collation moves differently than base collation. Also, great '68 throwback on Greene.

Pack 3-
Morales' card hasn't aged well, as he's already played for two other teams since print. Last night he debuted for the Yankees. Am hoping for good things, but...I also know who we're dealing with here.
Molina's is an Award Winners subset, which...does that mean that there weren't enough players to showcase in a base set that you had to do award winners? Curious.

 That Blast-Off insert is one that's excited me since the sell-sheet. Just looks super cool, and very kid-friendly. The Teoscar photo is a nice one.
Mostly inconsequential roster pieces, these, but Boxberger's is an amusing photoshop failure, and Nunez' is a definite Yankee stadium shot.

Pack 4-
Great base subjects. Plus, Pujols gets a cool highlight for hitting his 3000th.

Nicknames is also back, and thankfully these ones are a bit more complex than just 'Tony', for Anthony Rizzo. For instance, Shohei Ohtani's is Showtime, which is pretty nice. Greinke is the gold parallel.

Some central fun. Zo and Contreras are nice for Cubs fans, and the Willson is a cool photo, too. Alonso's is...sadly a photoshop job. The 'Sox' on the cap just doesn't feel real to me. Fulmer's would be better if he wasn't injured.

Pack 5- Again, not sure if we needed stat leaders cards in this set, but...sure. Whatever. At least these [sigh] Cardinals look good in this set.

I love that Wall Climbers card, but it'd be better if Odubel were having a better season. Garver's shot is awesome, but it'd be better if he didn't just get injured.

And we end this box with FINALLY some Yankee stuff. Aaron Judge will definitely do, alongside a Mullins rookie and a rejuvenated Seager.

And each blaster comes with a four-pack of blue unnumbered parallels. Some work well with some teams, like the Rosario. Some, like the Archer...don't work as well.

Blaster #2:

Pack 1-
A lot of these guys are bit players, or injured, this year, but Souza's does look pretty good.

THERE is an effective Players Weekend nickname. Walker 'Ferris' Buehler. I love it so much.
Jansen's is a nice showcase for the Jays rookie, too.

 Some definite base highlights here. Yelich is still strong as hell, and Hicks is FINALLY back in the Bronx.

Pack 2-
I frigging love Holt's card. Such a fun photo. 10/10.
Corbin's...if it's a photoshop job, it's a really, really good one.
Another really cool Wall Climbers insert. Max Kepler's the subject of this one, and it reminds me that he's actually pretty good in the field. And Starlin's our gold parallel.

Some more concrete stars in succession. Kershaw is back to his old tricks, while Jansen is blowing a few too many saves. Torres hit 3 home runs yesterday, which always helps. And...I'd really like to see Cespedes healthy again.

Pack 3- Another reason why I love this set: my first two cards of Bryce Harper as a Phillie and Manny Machado as a Padre. And I believe they're not photoshop jobs.
Plus, Gordon and Manaea look awesome in these.

A cool sketch card of Nick Castellanos, and an even cooler shot/parallel of El Torito.

Standard commons here, though it's nice to see a genuine Royals uniform on Billy Hamilton.

 Pack 4- Some home-run-hitting royalty, an injured Yankee, and a Cards bench player.

 Another welcome Blast Off insert of a photoshopped Avi Garcia on the Rays. Plus, gold of hitting Gallo.

Two genuine stars in Kiermaier and Arenado, and two genuine Reds. Looks to be like a real Reds uni on Dietrich, so maybe the only photoshopping was taking out the Spring Training patch.

Pack 5- Guzman and Berries' are standard, but Pujols is a genuinely cool photo choice and card. I'm very impressed by it.

A very fitting gold parallel of Hader and his throwback, and another effective nickname for Ronald Acuna. Glad they're better this year.

We end with some standard base shots. Nice of Topps to make a Johnny Cueto card even though he probably won't play til very late this season.

And we end with this box's blue parallels. Martinez' has the best shot, but the star power of Thor, Castillo and Tanaka also works pretty damn well.

So...I still really like this product. I'd put this one on par with last year's, as there weren't many improvements, but...didn't need many either. Will probably get more before S2 and SC come out, as it's worth it.


  1. I bought a couple blasters of this myself today and am really impressed, perhaps even more so than I was last year. The nice cards are REALLY nice (and makes painfully apparent that I need a copy of that Pujols) and even the bland cards don't seem as bland because the design is solid.

  2. I am very impressed with the Big League cards this year. I enjoy the photos and inserts in this year's edition. I also like the Pujols card you showed. I am going to have to track that one down too.

  3. That Brock Holt card is great! Looks like a scene from a movie.

  4. Are the card stock similar to last years?

  5. I'm really liking the design and photos as well as the inserts. Lots of great looking cards and that Yelich really stands out. I have to find a pack of these today. Great post.