26 October 2014

Pack of the Day 79: A Box of 2014 Topps Mini Baseball

I opened up some 2014 Topps Mini Baseball recently. There is a discount code out there, MINISALE, that will allow you to get 35% off boxes of 2014 Topps Mini Baseball. So if you wanted to get some of this, don't pay full price. I am short on time, so I didn't scan any of the base cards. There were 225 base cards in the box, with 5 of them being doubles. Since the set reprints all of Series' 1 and 2, that's about 1/3 of the set from a box. You can expect to get doubles and triples if you open more than one box, though. Last year I opened 6 boxes of 2013 Topps Mini Baseball and still had not completed one whole base set. After Box 6 I had 95% of one base set and enough doubles for 80% of a second base set. The base cards look like their full-sized counterparts from the flagship set.

Topps continued their tradition of rehashing one insert set from the original release in mini form. This year that insert is The Future is Now. You get six of these per box, and the set has 50 cards in the checklist. I never got around to finishing last year's Chasing History set, and I don't know if I will try to finish this one either. It's not very compelling. Billy Hamilton is so fast, he started to take off from the group before the scan was done.

There are a few levels of parallel, with a pretty fair guarantee that you're going to see 3-4 Gold and 1-2 Pink per box. The Gold are # / 63 and the Pink are numbered # / 25. Odds on the Black # / 5 are about 1 in 3 boxes, Platinum 1 / 1 are 1 in 16 boxes, and Printing Plates fall about every 4 boxes. In this box I got 4 Gold and 1 Pink, including Greg Holland here. All of the parallels I have seen so far suffer from really bad edges. They look like they were cut out by kindergartners wielding safety scissors.

They are chipped and ragged all around, and I would be hesitant to try to trade them or sell them to other people because they just don't look good. I sent complaints in via their web form and social media, but I imagine I will be met with the same wall of silence I always get. 

The Holland card is # 36 / 63. Last night's game really got away from the Royals, so now the World Series is even again. I wonder if they've got it in them to get back out there and win tonight? If so, they'll probably be relying on the regular bullpen guys and not the dudes they trotted out yesterday.

Roger Kieschnick played with the Diamondbacks in 2014 and was picked up off waivers by the Angels. Alex Rios had a passable year for the Texas Train Wreck, and Ian Kinsler was an All-Star with the Detroit Tigers. Taijuan Walker was injured for much of the year, but had a few good starts near the end of the season.

Serial numbers! Kieschnick is # 25 / 63, Rios is # 06 / 63, Kinsler gets # 34 / 63, and Walker is # 19 / 25. Everyone except Rios gets room on their card for a little snippet about their career. I don't think any of the text changed from the main set to the mini set, but I could be wrong.

And finally, we get to the promised hit! Each box promises either an autograph or a relic card. The relics are 1 in every 1.21 boxes and the autographs are 1 in every 5.92 boxes. Those numbers seem pretty consistent with last year, when I got 1 autograph in 6 boxes. The relic selection seems a lot better this year. Last year I got Brandon Beachy, some Astros relief pitcher (Jordan Lyles), a decent Fred McGriff relic with a pinstripe, and 2 Hank Congers. This box featured Masahiro Tanaka, which seems like a pretty big jump from last year's checklist. I may be able to recoup half the cost of the box from this card, which is pretty good for this product.

Overall I feel kind of neutral on 2014 Topps Mini Baseball. I like the set-building aspect of it, as not many products today seem built for a person to track down a rather large checklist without a ton of fluff. The large number of doubles this tends to generate aren't a huge deal, as people on Zistle seem eager to trade for cards from the Mini brand, as not a lot of people open this stuff and traders will offer stuff I need in exchange for team sets or cards of favorite players. The small-format cards are fun to flip through and sort. The relics are well-designed and the checklist has improved over past iterations.

On the bad side, it will probably take quite a few boxes to complete a set. The terrible quality control on the parallels is extremely disappointing. Topps switched from a smooth paper stock last year to something with some texture to it this year, and it just doesn't cut well. The chipping and bad corners make the cards un-presentable, un-tradeable, and un-salable. The reuse of the Future is Now design is kind of boring and uninspired. It's just an insert that I don't care much about. With so much of this product being a reprint, it would be nice if Topps came up with a new insert set for it.

I wouldn't pay full price for this product, and even with the 35% off coupon code the problems with the colored parallels have me on the fence. It's cheap enough that you could have fun building the set as long as you don't expect a whole lot else out of your packs.


  1. Did you end up with any doubles of Chris Getz, J.J. Putz, and Clayton Richard? I have some stuff of the players you collect that I'd happily send your way!

    1. I did not get any doubles on those guys (yet), but I will keep an eye out for them. In spite of the shortcomings of the product I will probably chase the set and acquire plenty of doubles along the way.

  2. Congrats on the Tanaka hit.
    If you have an extra of Hiroki Kuroda I'd love to trade for it.

    I'm somewhat surprised that they went with Pedroia, Puig and Trout on the box instead of Harper, Puig and Trout. I'm also confused as to why they went with Verlander, Fernandez and Strasburg instead of Kershaw, Fernanadez and Strasburg.

    1. I will keep an eye out for a Kuroda to hold for you. I don't think I have one (yet), but I will probably be chasing the set and building up a double stack.

      Maybe they didn't want to double up on Dodgers and Nationals, so they went with pretty-good dudes on other teams?

  3. I've always thought about buying a box of this, but never pulled the trigger. Thanks for sharing.