Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Big League IS Bunt

I finally found a single pack of Topps Big League at Target last week. That was all that was there. Literally one lonely, loose pack. Having not seen or received any, I bought it to sample the product.

I've seen it enough on the blogs and Twitter to know what I was getting, so I wasn't surprised by anything. What does surprise me is all the praise this set is getting for replacing Topps Bunt. That's because this set is Topps Bunt, with a different name and $.99 more per pack (although I do believe a pack of Bunt had 7 cards versus the 10 that Big League provides).

It's not exactly apples to apples, but these sets are far more alike than many will admit or want to hear, starting with the card stock. Bunt seems to have been taboo because of the connection to the digital card app, which I never understood. To me, the set could easily be enjoyed without worry about any connection to app.

As for the Big League cards, I expected a more traditional cardboard feeling product, almost like a late '80s card or a modern day Heritage (maybe a little less thick). The card stock reminded me exactly of...
Hmm, 2016 Topps Bunt. 2017 Bunt were inexplicably slippery and glossy, but holding a 2016 Bunt against a 2018 Big League is nearly identical.

I also found a retired legend in my pack. Hmmm, you know what else had legends in the set? 2016 Bunt.
 I even found - gasp - an ad for a Topps digital product.
True, this set is twice as big as both 2016 and 2017 Topps Bunt, which came in at 200 cards. But the set does have legends plus ballparks and league leaders, so I wouldn't exactly call it a 400-card set of current players.

And the backs of the cards resemble a more traditional card back with a few years of stats and a write-up versus the few-sentence write-up that Bunt has. I do like that better. But does that justify $1.99 per pack versus $.99? 2018 Bunt, if it existed, could have easily had both of these things.
Both Bunt and Big League have similar parallels as well. 2016 Bunt had Platinum, Topaz, and Crimson (1 of 1). 2017 had a parallel per pack, just like Big League, which has one gold card per pack (although it looks very yellow to me...I thought I got a rare yellow/canary card), Rainbow Foil, Black and White, and Red Foil (1 of 1). Interesting that Crimson was the color of Bunt's 1 of 1s, and Red is the color of Big League's 1 of 1s.

They both have a few inserts too. The first year of Bunt had: Unique Unis, Future of the Franchise, Light Force, Programs, Title Town, Moonshots, Stadium Heritage, and Autographs. Big League has Players' Weekend, Ministers of Mash, Autographs, and Rookie Republic autographs. And of course, the inserts have parallels.

None of this is to poo poo on Big League. It's a fine set and a good effort and I like it a heck of a lot more than A&G or Gypsy Queen. I just find it interesting how many people dismissed Bunt the last two years because of the digital connotation to the app, while praising Big League as a set that really gets what collectors want. They are by and large the exact same product, but the dollar price point was taken away from us. That's a big deal, at least to a frugal collector like me.

I tip my cap to Topps Marketing team for this one. They created a product that could have easily been branded as the third year of Bunt, gave it a generic baseball name (Big League!), and increased the SRP from $.99 to $1.99...and seemed to have created a winner in the minds of collectors. It truly was just a re-brand, but I think they did a great job making it feel new and different. That's some sound marketing.


  1. Living in Japan, I've never really messed with Bunt or Big League. I've picked up a few cards here and there from COMC/Sportlots for my type collection and Altuve player collection, but since I haven't had those cards in-hand, I can't really compare.

    That said, what I've seen of Bunt online left me highly unimpressed. The base cards were only mildly interesting, and the monochrome parallels were hideous. I did enjoy some of the insert sets, but overall the release was pretty Meh.

    I do like some of what I've seen in Big League, especially the ballpark shots, caricatures, and the returrn of the box bottoms. I also like the larger base set, even if there still aren't enough regular current players in it. (If it were up to me, I'd make the Big League set a full 1200 cards and feature the entire 40-man roster for every team. It is "BIG" League after all.) I bet collectors would jump all over a giant base set like that. I would really like to see my boy Buck Farmer get a card or two a year, though I realize he's just a middle reliever.

    1. Agree, would love to see a Tops Total/Upper Deck 40-man type set.

  2. Here (Valdosta) and in Ocala the blasters were 9.99. I figured the packs were .99 cents, I never bought the packs, just 4 blasters. I like BL, I liked Bunt too. They needed to loose OD.

  3. Would this post be considered a "hot take"?

  4. I liked Bunt, but I like Big League more. It has that vintage feel of cardboard while providing fun inserts like Opening Day at`a very affordable price.

  5. I was at Target yesterday and I saw several blasters of this stuff along with several Chrome blasters. I considered picking one up to check it out, but ended up buying Chrome instead.

    Bunt was a decent product. Not my favorite, but I didn't hate it either. If I go back to Target and they still have one, I'll grab it.