by Chris Harris
If card collectors are creatures of habit and familiarity, then it should be no surprise that Bowman Chrome is one of the most anticipated releases of the season. For the last decade, BowChro has consistently delivered all the top rookies and prospects, a one-per-box autograph, and a full spectrum of Refractor parallels.
So, as they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it; and 2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball should have a familiar feel to it. Set for release around the time of the World Series, this year’s issue will consist of a 220-card base set supplemented by a 110-card Prospects “insert” – the entire checklist of which is to be determined. Seven levels of Refractors and four Printing Plates for each card will be issued.
Curiously, while Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes both appear on the provisional checklist in some of the various autographed sets (see below); neither have “true” rookies in the base set. Not yet anyway. Topps has six more months to finalize the full checklist, so it’s probably safe to assume that both players, along with 48 other rookies, will be added to the final product.
The calling card of this brand is, of course, the Autographed Chrome Prospects and 2012 BowChro will have a minimum of 35 – all dropping at the rate of one per 18-pack Hobby box. The usual amount of Autographed Refractors, low-numbered Autographed “colored” Refractors, and Autographed Printing Plates will also be seeded into packs.
One new feature of 2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball, is that every third Hobby box will yield two autographs, and that second “hit” could very well be a Legends in the Making die-cut, Franchise All-Star Dual, or a Bowman Black autograph. All of the aforementioned will be low-numbered and rather tough to find. The Legends in the Making and Franchise All-Stars will also come un-autographed, and one card from each should be found in every Hobby box.
Rounding out the inserts are a 45-card, one-per-box, Refractor set featuring the as-yet-to-be-determined rosters from this year’s All-Star Futures Game – with autographed and game-used patch versions also available. Check out the sneak peek images below as well as a preliminary checklist.
2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball will be released the week of October 17. Each Hobby box will contain 18 packs of four cards with packs selling in the $5 range. Hobby cases will yield 12 boxes.
Chris Harris writes the popular hobby blog Stale Gum.