Whetting collectors appetites for spring, Topps has released preliminary information and photos for its 2011 Bowman Baseball issue.
Bowman is always a rookie-centered product and this year, Topps leans heavily on 18-year-old draft pick Bryce Harper. Signed Harper cards will be among the top prizes with a variety of limited edition color variations and 1-1 printing plates in the mix. At just 18, with no pro experience to speak of, it's a bit of a gamble by Topps to put such a heavy emphasis on Harper, especially since there is no guarantee he'll see a big league uniform in 2011. Even can't miss prospects do miss once in awhile.
2011 Bowman will offer on-card autographs, which will be welcome news to most collectors. 24-pack hobby boxes will include five base cards and one Bowman Chrome autograph. There are 23 inserts per hobby box. Jumbo boxes will have 15 base cards and three Chrome autographs.
One interesting element to this year's prize chase will be the addition of 1948 or 49 Bowman buy back cards featuring cut signatures. The original Bowman cards will be embedded into a booklet that also includes a cut signature of the old-timer.
There will also be 60th anniversary autographs, Futures Game triple relics and USA baseball patch cards.
The base set consists of 220 rookies and veterans. With black borders, the design brings back memories of the 1992 Leaf Black Gold insert issue. Bowman is, in fact, trotting out some throwback inserts here too, with its ode to the 1994 Bowman's Best.
2011 Bowman Baseball will hit store shelves on May 9.