2012 Bowman Baseball Preview

by Chris Harris

Topps has released the first images and sell-sheet for 2012 Bowman Baseball.  Although the structure of the set remains unchanged from recent Bowman sets, and most of the checklist is “TBD,” there are a few new additions that collectors should be on the lookout for.

The most notable addition to next year’s Bowman should be the Bowman Black autographs.  25 prospects, including Bryce Harper, Trevor Bauer and Francisco Lindor will sign black cards with silver ink.  The black cards combined with the silver ink and the limited production should make these cards some of the most desirable Bowman-branded cards in years, if only for their aesthetics.  Another addition to 2012 Bowman Baseball is the Autographed Rookie Originals.  Topps will buyback 10 Bowman cards of players who made their first Bowman appearance before the autographed prospect card era.  Like the Bowman Black cards, the Autographed Rookie Originals will be serial-numbered to 25 copies, and exclusive to Hobby packs.

The rest of 2012 Bowman Baseball will follow the same formula collectors of this brand should be used to: 220 base set, supplemented by a 110-card Prospects “insert” set available as both regular and Chrome versions, a Gold parallel in every pack, and an Autographed Chrome Prospect in every box. Most of the Autographed Chrome Prospect checklist has yet to be determined, however, Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, and Anthony Rendon (the first, second, and sixth picks overall in the 2011 MLB Draft) will be included.

The usual array of parallels and Refractors will also be randomly inserted, with a new “Silver Ice” parallel seeded at the rate of one-per-box and a Hobby-exclusive “Red Ice” parallel numbered to 25.  Another addition to the parallel parade are the Blue Wave Chrome Refractors, which can be had through a wrapper redemption program.  Send Topps all 24 wrappers from a Hobby box, and they’ll send you back a pack of five Blue Wave Chrome Refractors, with Red Wave Chrome Refractors (serial-numbered to 25 copies) and Autographed Blue Wave Chrome Refractors (numbered to 50) randomly inserted.

Wrapping up 2012 Bowman, is a 50-card Bowman’s Best insert.  Perhaps responding to collector complaints of “insert bloat,” the die-cut Bowman’s Best cards are the sole insert set, and will be available in Refractor (serial-numbered to 99 copies), X-Fractor (numbered to 25), and Atomic Refractor (one-of-one) flavors.

2012 Bowman Baseball is scheduled for release the week of May 9, 2012.  Each Hobby box will include 24 packs with 10 cards per pack and retail for $3 pack.  Jumbo boxes, exclusive to Hobby dealers, will have 12 packs of 32 cards and should cost about $10 for a pack.

Chris Harris writes the popular hobby blog Stale Gum.