Is Topps Big the Hobby’s Savior?

Sorry for the hyperbole.

Seriously, we need the return of Topps Big. Maybe these cards didn’t receive love from collectors because of their over-sized status but as far as cards from 1988-1990, nothing was more fun to read, front to back than a Topps Big card. Keep in mind, I was 10 years old at the time. If we are talking about bringing kids back to the hobby, how are $150 boxes of cards going to be appealing when they can get an Xbox One or PS4 video game for much less and spend WAY more time with it than a piece of cardboard.

Below are two, very crisp scans of Topps Big cards. Look at the effort that went into producing them. You have a very 90s design, which can’t be blamed. Everything was loud and gaudy during that era. Topps included a great head shot of each player, as well as an action photo. On the back was my favorite, 1-year stats and info as well as a fun cartoon related to the player, which in this case features a Nostradamus-like prediction of what Sammy Sosa’s skin would one day look like.

For the record, I am not asking Topps to abolish high-end products and/or gimmick-filled releases, which I absolutely love. I am just asking to make space in your schedule for a forgotten brand from the past, which if marketed correctly … could be a bright spot for your business. Let’s make cards fun again so kids can collect and trade without worrying about top loaders, screwdowns or guaranteed hits and book value. You’d be surprised how much a little investment in design could yield if done correctly.

If you want to bring young collectors back to the hobby, start with making things cheap again. Ten parallels, 1/1s and game-used relics clearly aren’t gonna save baseball cards. It is just breeding a new type of collector who only values “hits” and becomes more cynical with every overpriced box they invest in … eventually leaving the hobby for things like smart phones and video games. Topps is looking for a baseball brand manager, right? Hmm … wonder how much a small studio in New York would cost?

Anyone have a couch they could let me crash on? I have work to do.

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3 comments

  1. Topps Big rules. I’ve got a binder project dedicated to housing the entire three year run of this product. One of my favorite cards is the 1989 Jim Abbott where he’s pictured in his Team USA uniform.

  2. Better low-end options are definitely needed, I think a Big revival could be a positive thing. What I think would be key is to make it a fun, colorful ALL-AGES set rather than one aiming specifically at kids.

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