These 3-inch vinyl figures by Topps might look more like Cartman from "South Park" than they do Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds or David Wright of the New York Mets, but they're still fun. Fun-ish, anyway. Stocked next to a cash register in order to attract impulse buyers (hmm) the Big League Minis ran me $6.99 apiece Sunday at an area Dick's Sporting Goods. One to a pack! Holy mark-up.
They're no bobbleheads, they don't wobble like Weebles, and they probably wouldn't make good bath toys — there's a hole in the bottom of them and they're not squeezable. But they might be good for a 3-year-old to chew on.
Topps, which usually does baseball cards of coure, made 28 figures — so not every team gets one:
• As you can see, these are caricatures that tend to not resemble the real player. Who comes close? Justin Verlander is not bad. Jose Reyes is pretty close. Stephen Strasburg's beard is right on. Albert Pujols kind of looks like Albert Pujols.
• Caricatures are tricky, especially with black players and Asians, because those ethnicities have a history of being portrayed with racist stereotypes. It's safer to be generic across the board — although the David Ortiz figure came out ... interesting. The problem with this course: Ichiro Suzuki looks like Johnny Damon.
• Brian Wilson?! He doesn't even have a team right now. The sunglasses are a nice touch, though. Tim Lincecum does not have a portly body, so he might not translate. But they should try him.
• No Cubs. They should probably have a Cubs player, just for marketing. Starlin Castro, somebody.
• If they made one for Jose Altuve, it would only be 2 inches. (H/N: @_grandpad)
• The Bryce Harper figure is going for $11.99 on eBay.
UPDATE: I got one! I didn't want to admit that I bought four packs. But then I opened the other two, and I got the funky Ortiz and Bryce Harper: Yay, resale value!
Hello, Li'l Bryce!