When I want to pick up a few packs of cards and I don’t have time to get my local card shop, I hit my nearest larger big box store. Next to the trading cards I’ve noticed there are collectable mini toy figurines of things like ponies, not so appealing to me but very popular with kids, like my 6-year-old. But buying these toys is not like buying a figure from the Skylander Giants where you know if you are purchasing Thumpback as opposed to Hot Head. These are wrapped so you don’t know which figure you are buying until you open the package.
This concept of buying toys without knowing what you are buying seemed odd to me. But my daughter likes the surprise element of opening the package and seeing what is inside. Then Topps announced they would be making mini collectable vinyl figures of some of today’s top baseball players and that’s when I made the connection. I’ve been getting the same fun out of opening packs of trading cards without knowing which cards are inside for years, so why not the element of surprise with purchasing small toy figures.
In the writing of this review I thought it only fair to include my daughter, who loves baseball by the way, so I could get plenty of perspective and view points, looking at these toys through the eyes of a kid, a parent and a collectable hobby enthusiast.
2013 Topps Big League Minis Collectable Vinyl Figures stand about 3 inches tall. For purposes of our review, we will review them using our fun cards format even though they are toys/collectables. Each individual pack contains one figure and a visual checklist. We opened a seal box that included 20 figures. Let’s take a look at the figures we pulled from the box.
Albert Pujols, front and back
Derek Jeter, Stephen Strasburg, Joe Mauer
David Ortiz, Jusin Verlander, Jose Reyes
Pablo Sandoval, Brain Wilson, Buster Posey
Ryan Howard, Evan Longoria, David Wright
Adrian Gonzalez, Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun
In two instances we pulled the regular and Limited Edition version of the same player.
Matt Kemp, Regular and Limited Editions, front and back
Here the difference is subtle as the regular edition is the one on the left, the Home Uniform, and the Limited Edition is the one on the right, the Away Uniform.
Mariano Rivera, Regular and Limited Editions, front and back
Here the difference is obvious as the regular edition is the one on the left, the Away Uniform, and the Limited Edition is the one on the right, the Navy (batting practice/Spring Training/Alternate) Uniform.
Here are all of them.
These are fun caricatures, some instantly recognizable, others take some time to figure out. These are not produced nor are they intended to be on the same level as other figures that are going for a realistic look. It would have been nice to see a little bit more detailing/team logos on the uniforms. On the Limited Edition side, the clear standout is Pablo Sandoval as a panda.
Quality and Variety of Players
There certainly are enough big name players here so most will be satisfied, though some teams such as the Astros, Cubs, Royals and the Cardinals are not represented.
Are these figures fun?
My daughter had a blast opening and playing with these, but I must point out there is a rather persistent vinyl smell straight out of the package which diminishes over time. In playing with the figures, my daughter liked sorting them and then put them into positions to play a game. After about 20 minutes she was ready to move on. Since them she has revisited them. For older kids and adults, these are the kind of figure that will sit on you desk or be part of a shelf display.
Will you want to collect them all?
Some will only want their favorite player, so secondary market or finding someone to trade with is your best option. But there should be just as many that will want them all, maybe even a set of the Limited Editions too. If that is the case, there is an advantage to buying these by the box. As you can see we walked away with no regular duplicates and 2 Limited Edition figures. Started at 18 out of the 28 certainly is the more economical way of going about obtaining all of hem/
4 out of 5
There are lots of little things that could have made these the perfect collectables, but 2013 Topps Big League Minis Collectable Vinyl Figures are still a lot of fun.
Limited Edition Checklist
This is a picture of the checklist of the regular editions of all 28 figures.
While most of the Limited Edition versions have very clear differences that separate them from the regular editions, some can be subtle like the difference in the Matt Kemp we pulled where the coloring is very close. Here is the checklist for the differences found with the Limited Editions.
Miguel Carbrera (gold triple crown)
Pablo Sandoval (panda)
Buster Posey (black jersey)
Brian Wilson (black jersey)
Bryce Harper (home uniform)
Stephen Strasburg (road uniform)
Derek Jeter (navy jersey)
Ichiro Suzuki (navy jersey)
Mariano Rivera (navy jersey)
Robinson Cano (navy jersey)
Adrian Gonzalez (blue jersey)
Matt Kemp (road uniform)
David Ortiz (red jersey)
Dustin Pedroia (red jersey)
Ryan Howard (red jersey)
Roy Halladay (red jersey)
Albert Pujols (red jersey)
Mike Trout (red jersey)
Ryan Braun (blue Jersey)
Prince Fielder (road uniform)
Justin Verlander (road uniform)
Yu Darvish (red hat)
David Wright (blue jersey)
Jose Reyes (blue Jersey)
Evan Longoria (road uniform)
Joey Votto (red jersey)
Andrew McCutchen (yellow jersey)
Joe Mauer (blue jersey)
Review box provided by Topps
Review box provided by Topps