Friday, August 3, 2018

That's good readin'

A few people have mentioned the interesting reading on the back of Topps' Big League Baseball set.

Unlike the usual write-ups that mention boring on-field exploits that you can get from any media outlet, or attempts to modernize the factoids by throwing in -- *yawn* -- the new stats, Big League Baseball tends to focus on the players' personalities or backgrounds in the "did you know?" column on the bottom.

But no one shows the backs of cards, so I'm going to provide some examples now.

The only problem is that with my advancing age and the tiny type on the often dark background, I actually had to break out the magnifying glass for some of this (my phone was being recharged so I couldn't use the app).

So -- if you can read the backs -- there is some good stuff there.

For example:

Did you know, Jake Odorizzi went for morning skates with pro hockey players when he was in Tampa?

Oh ...

I'm sorry ...

How's that?



Something tells me he can find even more hockey players in Minnesota.

Did you know Tim Beckham is a fan of Bernie Mac's Mr. 3000?

Did you know both of Gregory Polanco's parents are police officers?

The type is a lot easier to read off the lighter backgrounds, isn't it?

There are some baseball-related DYKs, but many of them are not. For example, Patrick Corbin is a fish lover, like me.

Jose Quintana learned English by watching Jimmy Fallon. I wonder if Quintana also often laughs too much at things that aren't funny.

Ernie Banks wanted to be an international lawyer as a boy. All these years knowing about Banks and that's the first I've heard of that.

Jordy Mercer's sons' names all begin with the same letter. This is pretty common, although nothing I understand.

This one is bizarre. Please, Hunter Renfroe, clarify for us. Is this corporal punishment? What are we licking?

George Brett was a catcher in high school. No I did not know that either.

Kris Bryant was on his honeymoon when this happened. I remember reading about it.

Johnny Cueto has plenty of time to spend on his farm now.

If this set really is "for kids" someone is going to have to tell them who Loverboy is. Fine, I'll do it. Here you go kids.

Wondering why it wasn't a restaurant in Pittsburgh. I have a pretty good idea why it wouldn't be a restaurant in Baltimore.

Every mom knows this trick.

So there you go, some of the interesting backs in Big League Baseball this year.

It might actually get you turn over your cards this year.

But make sure to have the magnifying glass standing by.


  1. I haven't seen this set yet in my neck of the woods but those card back facts are superb. Reminds me a lot of the Collector's Choice tidbits that I loved as a kid.

  2. Kris Bryant Austria segment is here:

    Not only does no one know who he is, no one really seems to know what baseball is.

  3. There are indeed some restaurant quality facts here. I've been a George a Brett fan and collector for decades and never knew (or at least didn't remember) that he was ever a catcher.

    Also restaurant quality: your takes on "licks" and Loverboy.

    I would advise against naming one's child "Maverick Mercer". Maverick Mercer sounds like a c-level comic book bad guy, the kind who agree Arrow dispatches in one page before getting to the real story of the issue, or who Batman simply tells Commissioner Gordon won't be peddling smack anymore because it's not even worth a page of a Batman comic.

  4. I know exactly what "licks" are. I got plenty of them in school. Me too - didn't know Brett was a catcher. As a boy Ernie Banks wanted to be an international lawyer? I can hear him saying "It's a great day for a trial, let's sue two".

  5. I would think there have not been a lot of team color synced card backs across all the many sets across the history of baseball cards. I like these, except the red ones are kinda almost, almost right.

  6. I've seen a several collectors on social media dogging Big League for various reasons, but I've found it to be a nice break from some of the current sets...and the card backs are one of those reasons.

  7. I've got three magnifiers in the house for card backs, and one or two that I carry to shows in my list binder. Indispensible. It's another reason I didn't collect the last few Topps football sets. They got downright microscopic!

  8. This set is growing on me but I still haven't seen any of it in person. I've been in need of a Tim beckham card so tonight I got one of these BL cards of him off eBay. It'll be nice to add a different look to my fantasy player binder.

    Oh, I've kept a magnifying glass on my desk for years. Recently added a jewelers loupe with a built-in light. If my eyes get any worse I'm gonna need a telescope.

  9. My initial thought of reading this post, glad I'm not the only one that struggles to read small print on dark backgrounds. I usually just turn on the flashlight on my phone and then am (usually) able to read it.

  10. These are some pretty interesting facts. I like the idea of a budget friendly fun set to chase with a few parallels. Reminds me of the old concept of UD Collector's Choice.

  11. Jose Quintana learned English by watching Jimmy Fallon. I wonder if Quintana also often laughs too much at things that aren't funny.

    Best line of this post.

  12. Awesome stuff (although the Renfroe is kinda disturbing). I've gotta admit I don't pay as much attention to card backs anymore, but I loved reading card backs when I was a kid. Kinda makes me want to go and flip through my 1981 Topps baseball cards. Those were some of the first card backs I ever read.