by Rich Klein
Topps uses the Bowman brand name to focus on young players. No where is that focus more evident than in the Bowman Sterling product. Unlike some of the Bowman lines which usually feature several ways to bring veterans into the mix, Bowman Sterling primarily focuses almost exclusively on the prospects and rookies. This hobby-only product was released in late December.
The lack of veteran superstars allows Topps to pack 13 autographs into each master box, along with seven relics and 12 prospect/rookie cards. The autograph checklist does include notable young big leaguers Eric Hosmer, Stephen Strasburg, Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel. The base set is just 50 cards and is made up only of rookies.
Each card has the player's photo in the middle oval with the Bowman Sterling logo on the bottom of the photo. The player's name and team is located at the bottom. The back has some personal information, which does not include biographical information. Why on a prospect based product there is no mention of the player's birth date is beyond my comprehension. There is also a brief informational blurb as well as 2010 and career stats.
Each master box is made up of six mini-boxes. Each mini-box has five cards which are two base cards, two autograph cards and one relic card. In addition, the "master-box" has a dual-relic card, Ours was a box topper and the dual autograph card was in one of the mini-boxes.
My local card store (Triple Cards in Plano, TX) reports fair sales at the $285 "Master-Box" or $50 "Mini-box" level. His comment was many of his customers realize this is a prospect based product but would rather have had a few more rookies or young prospects they had heard of instead of just minor leaguers. Meanwhile, leading on-line retailers are currently at the $215-230 level for a Master Box which translates into $35-40 per mini-box.
How did we do from our master box?
Base Cards: Andy Dirks, Paul Goldschmidt, Desmond Jennings, Matt Moore, Trayvon Robinson, Kyle Seager, Cory Spangenberg (2), Robert Stevenson, Trevor Story, Zach Wheeler. Yes we did get a duplicate out of the 12 base cards.
Gold Refractors (#d to 50): Michael Stutes
Rookie Relics: Tyler Chatwood, Mark Trumbo
USA National Team Relics: Josh Elander, Brian Johnson, David Lyon
Dual Relic Refractors (#d to 99): Curtis Granderson/Robinson Cano (That was our box-topper)
Triple Relic Gold Refractor (#d to 50): David Lyon
Prospect Autographs: Kyle Crick, Jake Hager, Bryan Holaday, Brandon Nimmo, Jake Skole, Cory Spangenberg, Robert Stephenson, Dan Vogelbach
Rookie Autographs: Maikel Cleto, Aaron Crow, Kyle Seager
Dual Autograph Refractors (#d to 99): Deven Marrero/Matt Reynolds
That is a lot of autographs of young players and we will not know for several years the final hobby standing of most of them. Thus, the Master-box is a good play if you have time to wait to see how things shake out in the prospect world but this is not a product which is guaranteed for you to get "hits" of players you know today. Check back in a few years and we'll see how we really did with this box.
You can see what's available on eBay here.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]