The product was supposed to be released in May 2021, but obviously there were some delays. Was it worth the wait? Well, at $19.99 for a blaster that contains 10 packs that include five bonus Blue parallels, it’s a nice bargain.
There are an average of 10 cards inside each pack, with one Orange parallel guaranteed. Blue parallels can be found in every other pack, so a collector buying a blaster will receive 105 cards.
There are 300 cards in the base set. That includes 245 veterans and rookies, but there are three subsets that comprise the other 55 cards.
Big League Best has 20 cards that feature photos of three players who led the majors in a particular category for each league. Think 1960s Topps league leader cards, but with action shots rather than the vintage head shots.
The card design is simple and relies on vertical action shots. Most of the shots are tightly cropped and relatively predictable, although the card of rookie Jonah Heim (No. 115) is intriguing. The catcher is completing a throw and his hair is flying wildly. A nice touch.
There are some photos that show pure intensity, like that of Cristian Pache (No. 78), who is uncorking a throw from the outfield.
The player’s nameplate is at the bottom of the card in black block letters, with his position in smaller black letters above his name. The team logo anchors the lower right-hand corner and the team name is in white block letters running up the right hand corner from the logo. It’s a little distracting to me, but others might like it.
The bottom left-hand corner is anchored by five white lines and a gray line, an element that is also used in the upper right-hand corner of the card. Gives the card some balance.
Beneath that is a “Did You Know” fun fact about each player. Matt Olson (card No. 95), for example, took time during quarantine to rewatch “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones.” Cavan Biggio (card No. 78) enjoys karaoke and considers “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” the Marvin Gaye-Tammi Terrell duet, as his go-to song.
By the way, Terrell, who died in 1970, would have been 77 today (April 29).
From the blaster box I bought, I pulled 64 base cards of veterans and rookies, four Award Winners, four Highlights cards and eight Big League Best cards.
As promised, there were five Blue parallels and 10 Orange parallels. The Orange parallels really pop with the orange-colored border. They might be the most attractive base cards in the set; if I were building the set, the challenge would be to complete them all in Orange parallels.
As for inserts, Defensive Wizards returns. The 15-card insert set falls once in every four packs, and I pulled two cards — Yadier Molina and Javier Baez.
The Wanted inserts, another 15-card set, plays off the theme of the Old West posters for wanted criminals who steal extra base hits from opposing players. Ronald Acuna Jr., for example, was last seen in Atlanta and is wanted for Home Run Robbery.
hese cards also fall once every four packs. I pulled three cards — Acuna, Ramon Laureano and George Springer.
A generous synopsis is printed on the back of the card. These inserts also come once in every four packs. I pulled three cards, including Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant and Shohei Ohtani.
The final insert is the caricature-theme Art of the Game, which has 23 subjects — kind of an odd number of cards. I found two cards — Bobby Dalbec and Casey Mize — with artwork done by Darrin Pepe. As the card back notes, the artwork on the card “was inspired by the Big League Stars of Major League Baseball.”
Topps Big League Baseball is an interesting product, with enough inserts to keep a collector interested. There were no autographs in the blaster that I bought, but then again, I didn’t expect any. The design is clean and the information on the card backs is solid.