Friday, January 4, 2013

The truth about minis

It seems there are folks that believe that I love every baseball card mini. That I adore every make and model, that I am an indiscriminate mini-hoarder, welcoming every stray mini into my home as if I'm the cat lady of mini cards.

But I'm not. As I mentioned just a few months ago, I have standards. Just because you mini-size a card doesn't mean I'm going to collect it.

All minis are cute, true. But at the risk of hating myself after reading this back, here is what I think about some minis:

1. 2012 Topps parallel minis: An online money grab. Slick, soulless and boring.
2. 2012 Topps 1987-style minis: (*shoulder shrug*)
3. Gypsy Queen, Goodwin, Topps 206 minis: Allen & Ginter mini wanna-bes
4. 1980s era Topps/Fleer minis: Arrrggh! They slide all around in the pages! And so ugly!
5. Early '90s Topps micro: Don't be sending me those things. I'll lose them in the floor vent.

The truth is I have issues with a lot of minis. They can be cute, but my dog is cute, too, and, oh lord, are there issues with him.

So when people asked me my thoughts recently about the planned 1972-style minis that are coming out with this year's Topps set, I was a bit confused. Why would I want them? Sure, I like the 1972 set, but I don't necessarily need it mini-sized. Especially if Topps is going to print it on that non-cardboard stuff that it likes to do. I have the same feeling about those 2013 Heritage mini cards that are on their way. Why? Explain to me why there are 1964 design-tribute minis outside of trying to make a fast buck. ("Well, duh," Topps is saying. But for collectors there's more to it than money).

No, my heart is really only with two kinds of minis.

I like the Allen & Ginter tobacco-style minis, either the originals (not that I've owned one) or the 2006-present versions.

And I like the 1975 Topps-style minis, both the originals and the Lineage tributes (but only because it's a tribute to '75).

That's it.

No other minis. Nope. Nein. Nada.

And that's the truth about minis.

Fortunately, there are folks like mr haverkamp who know this. He has been a regular supplier of my '75 mini completion quest for a little while now. As part of the terrific package he recently supplied, he sent some '75 minis, and they arrived in a 1975 Topps baseball box.

Basically, the bottom half of this:

Ain't that cool?

Although, to be truly authentic, the '75 minis -- at least the ones that I bought in 1975 --  appeared in cello packs inside a box that looked like this:

Awesome packaging. Although every time I see boxes of this era, it makes me realize how old I'm getting.

I'm already trying to figure out what to do with this half of a baseball card box from 1975 -- something very good has to go inside it.

But while I'm contemplating that, take a look at the minis that Jim sent (as usual, I've placed each against its regular-sized counterpart for comparison):

I'll start with the ones that I saw as a child back in '75. Skip was a card my brother had. I wanted Skip on my team.

Hiller was in the first three packs of cards that I ever bought, back in '75. He was an early favorite of mine. I remember sitting on my bed, facing the wall and reveling in the fact that I was privileged enough to own a card of someone as cool as Hiller.

Long before Gaston was the Blue Jays manager, he was known as "that sad guy who cries every time he looks at the sky."

There are some players when you're a kid that you brand for no reason at all. I thought Gilbreath sucked when I was 9. It's true he wasn't the greatest player, but I just checked out his stats on the back of this card and he was batting .271 career. I apparently had it out for him for no reason at all.

One of the worst airbrushing jobs in '75 Topps. But this card makes me think of summer vacation, '75, because that's where I was when I pulled this card.

Every Met card was automatically cool in 1975. This was one of the coolest ones.

And here are the cards that I never saw in '75:

And a couple of mini-upgrades over the minis that I pulled out of those cello packs in '75:

And, of course, I had to save the best for last ...

Wow, we rode this card mercilessly when we were kids. Probably in the top two cards from the '75 set that we didn't want any part of ... ha, ha, you got MARIO'D!!!!!!!!!!

To collectors who don't collect mini cards, or don't really like them, maybe they think all minis are the same. Maybe they think if you're a mini-collector then you must like them all.

But they're not all the same.

There is only one kind of mini that can be accurately described as ...


Don't be fooled by the imitators.


  1. I don't mind mini's, but in 1975 they weren't overkill. Now they are getting to be overkill. But I would rather have a mini verses those stupid oversized cards...ugly!

  2. I still haven't picked up any of those 2012 Topps parallel minis. Although I enjoy minis, I just can't get excited about those.

    The world of minis has definitely been watered-down in recent years.

    The '75s are still my favorite. I have the mini/regular Mario Mendoza combo in my Pirates binder, glad to see they've both found their way into your hands as well.

  3. You thought Gilbreath sucked because the Braves as a team sucked really badly in the mid and late 70's. I still loved them and watched every game I could but yikes!

    I have to say that I liked this years 1987 minis but I have no need for the 1972's that will be in the packs this year.

  4. See, the Topps T206 cards got me back involved in modern cards. I remember being excited when I saw they were coming out in 2010 and crestfallen when the first pack I opened came sans mini. Topps rectified the matter with a tiny Stargell and a few shortprints like Ryan Zimmerman.

    Nonetheless, the cards really are starting to become over saturated in the marketplace.

  5. Wait, Topps Heritage is coming out with minis this year? Noooo! This is way to much. This is Topps having a good idea and running it into the ground. Shame on them!

  6. The micro cards are not hard to keep track of. I did a post on it, just put them in 15 card pages three at a time.

  7. You don't like the Piazza '90s card, I don't like micros.

  8. My wife likes minis. And thank goodness for that.

    And a 1972 set? Hmmm.... I'm enamored with the throwback designs, but in general, I'm quite anti-mini.

  9. I always wondered if you bothered reading my comments when I make them days or weeks after you wrote a post.

  10. I thought this year's 87 mini's were OK. I liked that they were exactly 25 years ago and thought, well maybe this will be a new pattern/insert. Recreate a mini for the set 25 years ago. Alas, it was not to be. I wonder why Topps picked 1972? I'm guessing it's due to the funky design and colors.