Each year Bowman Baseball is heavily anticipated because of the focus on young prospects. That’s nothing new for this product. It’s been the brand’s calling card since Topps began using the Bowman name in 1989.
If you look carefully at the checklists of even the early sets, you see a preponderance of younger players. What a collector has to remember, of course, is that not every prospect plays out and becomes a star.
Remember some of the RC’s in the 1989 Bowman Set? Johnny Ard, Monty Farriss and Austin Manahan. Of course some of the rookies in each set do pan out. You might also remember that the premier card in the initial offering that year was future HOFer Ken Griffey Jr.
Still, the possibilities for a big payoff entice speculators and the chance to score an early rookie card excites collectors.
Of course, to realize why Bowman is used by Topps one must remember that Topps purchased Bowman after the 1955 season. The Bowman company did leave us with eight legendary years of sets including my favorite which is the “pure card” element of the 1953 Color and Black and White sets.
Topps then did not use the Bowman name until that famous ‘89 set and the product really did not catch collector’s attention until 1992, when Bowman captured the attention of collectors through a solid crop of rookies. Late that year, Bowman exploded as a brand and from that point on, the Bowman product has been a success nearly every year.
The 2010 product is already proving to be no exception. The early popularity is based on having the first Major League Rookie Card of Atlanta Braves’ phenom Jason Heyward and the first Bowman card of Nationals pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg, who could make his much-anticipated debut fairly soon. Cubs’ rookie Starlin Castro and teenage sensation Bryce Harper are two other big hits.
The Bowman Chrome Superfractor 1-1 Strasburg was pulled just after the product was released. It was quickly put up for sale and is expected to sell for $15,000 or more in an auction currently underway on eBay.
Needless to say this product has been a big hit with collectors after being released just days ago.
My local card store sold out of their five cases, with the last couple of boxes sold while I was in the store. The current on-line “retail” price per box is approximately $85-90 online and you can expect to pay a few dollars more at a store.
The design of the card has black borders surrounding an action photo of the player. The Bowman logo is in an upper corner, while the player’s name is at the bottom left and the team logo is at the bottom right. The horizontal back features biographical information as well as 2009 and career statistics.
Cards numbered 1-190 are today’s best players while cards 191-220 feature Rookie Cards (or RC logo) cards.
The box promises that each pack contains two Bowman Chrome cards (which are exclusively prospect cards this year) and one autographed card per box. One collector at Triple Cards in Plano, TX did say he pulled two autographs out of the one box he opened.
The store owner mentioned that he had seen one Blue Strasburg autograph (Blue #d to 250) pulled and heard of another claim and that five Heyward autographs were pulled including one gold (#d to 50).
Did we get that lucky out of our box? Well not quite, but the possibilities had us excited. Here’s what we pulled:
Basic Cards: 86 of 220 with no duplicates (We won’t state the no duplicate line again, but there were no duplicated in this box for any of the sets)
Gold Parallel: 1 Per Pack. Bobby Abreu, Brett Anderson, Chris Carpenter, Shin-Soo Choo, Johnny Cueto, Adrian Gonzalez, Carlos Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson, Cole Hamels, Josh Hamilton, David Herndon, Jason Heyward, Luke Hochevar, Derek Holland, Kenshin Kawakami, Carlos Lee, Cliff Lee, John Lester, James Loney, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Daniel Murphy,Jorge Posada, David Price, Drew Stubbs.
Blue Parallel: (#d to 520) Zach Greinke
1992 Bowman Throwbacks: Carlos Beltran, Adam Dunn, Andre Ethier, CurtisGranderson, Matt Holliday, Raul Ibanez, Clayton Kershaw, Kendry Morales, Roy Oswalt, Johan Santana, John Smoltz, Miguel Tejada.
Basic Prospect Cards: 54 of 110. We did get the Strasburg card from this set.
Blue Prospect Parallel: (#d to 520): Tony Delmonico
Chrome Prospect Cards: 39 of 110
Chrome Prospect Refractor: (#d to 777): Chad Jenkins
Gold Refractors: (#d to 25) Wellington Dotel
Expectations: Elvis Andrus/Jiovanni Mier; Matt Cain/Zack Wheeler; Johnny Cueto/Jenrry Mejia; Johnny Damon/Slade Heathcott; Matt Garza/Jeremy Hellickson; Brian McCann/Tony Sanchez; Will Venable/Donavan Tate; Carlos Zambrano/Andrew Cashner.
Top 100 Prospects: Jay Austin, Josh Bell, Kyle Drabek, Alcides Escobar, Freddie Freeman, Mat Gamel, D.J. LeMahieu, Josh Lindblom, Alex Liddi, Jiovanni Mier, Mike Montgomery Michael Taylor.
Bowman Chrome USA: Casey McGrew and Nick Pepitone
Bowman Chrome USA Under 18: Cody Buckel, Cory Hahn, Robbie Ray, tony Wolters
Autograph: Brett Jackson
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]