Monday, August 30, 2010

From Big to Micro

Over the past couple week I’ve been featuring cards from Topps’ Big sets released in 1988-1990. The concept was interesting, making cards that had the look and size of cards from the Mid Fifties. You could say that it was a precursor to the successful Heritage line.

But Big only lasted three years. Sales must have been dropping, so imagine the following scene at Topps headquarters:

The brass is all seated around a conference room table, with the boss at the head. “All right, guys, Big seems to have lost its appeal. We need to come up with something else for 1991. Anyone have any ideas?”

Everyone stares down at the table, refusing to make eye contact with the boss because they had no ideas at all. After all, at Topps, you’re only expected to come up with one fresh idea per decade.

The boss starts to get agitated. “Come on guys, think! Someone has got to have something!” But still, no one looked up.

Then the shy secretary taking notes at the meeting meekly raised her hand. “Sir, can I say something?”

The frustrated boss says, “Sure, why not.”

“Well, if for the past three years you made bigger cards, why not do the opposite and make smaller cards. You know, like mini-cards?”

Suddenly everyone around the table pick their heads up. “Brilliant! Fanstatic!”

Thus was born Topps Micro. And for the next three years, we get miniature versions of the base cards.

What a stupid idea! What is the point of having cards 1” x 1 3/8” in size. They’re easy to lose, easy to ding up, too small to appreciate the fronts, and way too small to read the backs. Again, what’s the point??

Well, I guess I’m stupid too because I’ve been picking up the three Micro sets. The 1991 and 1992 were pretty easy to get at super low prices, less that $5 each. The 1993 sets are a bit tougher because of a Jeter card and I'm still working on getting one.

My guess would be that these didn’t do very well and there are cases upon cases of Micro lying around in basements across America….more Junk Wax era kindling.

The first thing I usually do when I buy a factory set is put the cards in numerical order. It organizes the set for me and I also know if any cards are missing. I’ve had two Micro sets for over a month and haven’t put them in order yet. Why? Because they are too darn small to read or handle! The numbers on the cards are so tiny I know I’ll have a headache ten minutes after I start. So I haven’t even made an attempt to do anything with them.

I didn’t even separate out the Cubs for a binder, either. Why bother? I’ve already got the real cards in a binder. If I want to see a smaller version, I’ll just open the binder and back up twenty feet…then the cards will look smaller and the backs will be unreadable.

Topps Micro Baseball is Topps Micro Creativity.


  1. I actually really like that '92 set. If you're looking to part with it, drop me a line!

  2. When you finally get around to sorting them, you're likely to find you have duplicates of some cards, and possibly not even a complete set. I've got lots of dupes in my 1992 & 193 Micro sets, but haven't bothered to actually see if the set is complete. Like you said, they're a real pain to handle for any amount of time.