by Rich Klein
There are few things in the hobby which are as certain as death and taxes. We can usually predict Topps 1st series will be their biggest selling product and one in which something will usually brew to the surface to keep the the release interesting. Heritage will be a nice product and bring back memories of a set from decades ago while using the players and technology of today to keep everyone happy. And Bowman will feature an assortment of rookies and stars and also feature a grouping of the best prospects to keep what used to be called “Chromies” on the Beckett Message Board happy.
There were some changes this year in Bowman that I really liked. To me, one of the key changes was that there appeared to be more cards of players in the majors rather than lesser known prospects. I like that because we’re still early in the season. The prospects haven’t had much of a chance to break out and get collectors excited. When Bowman Draft Picks is released later in the year, I think that is a perfect time for the roles to be reversed and less veteran cards and more prospect cards, including cards of 2013 draftees.
For Topps, there is an even an added edge because the new CBA between the players and the union forces players to be signed earlier or not at all. Since players are signed earlier, Topps has more time to get whatever photos they need as well as deal with whatever off-season signings and early trades they want to cover. To me, that was my immediate reaction in opening the 2013 Bowman product.
I did not stop in my local card stop for pricing information. However leading online retailers are currently at $60-65 and my LCS is usually around $70-75 per box. The boxes again have 24 packs with 10 cards per pack. Each box promises one autograph card. As you will find out we did better than that.
The base veteran cards as well as the base prospect cards have white borders with the full-color photo in the middle with the player’s name and position at the bottom and the team logo just above the player’s name. The prospect cards have the player’s name and organization at the bottom with the position on the side, Both types of cards have backs with include the player’s name, biographical information, an informational blurb and then seasonal and career stats. The biggest difference is the veteran cards are shaded in gray. No, not 50 shades of gray either.
The Bowman Lucky Redemption #2 was announced Monday: Shortstop Jurickson Profar, who many believe is Baseball’s Number 1 prospect, was called up on Sunday to the Texas Rangers. Those redemption cards are randomly packed…and no, we didn’t get one. This exclusive rookie card will be a 65th Anniversary Bowman Blue Sapphire Refractor card along with an on-card autograph and a new image.
So how did we do from our box? As usual in Bowman products there were no duplicates which is always nice.
Base Cards: 92 of 220. That is a bit more than 40 percent of the set and with perfect collation that means three hobby boxes are needed to finish a set.
Base Prospect Cards: 51 of 110. To my surprise that means you actually get a higher percentage of prospect cards towards a set than you do just trying to fill out a base set. I would wonder if you made prospect cards a touch harder to get out of a box whether sales would increase even more. Imagine if a player such as Bryce Harper or Mike Trout was harder out of a pack and what that would do for sales both in the current year and then for the longer term.
Topps toys with the Bowman inserts each year but the basic concept remains pretty much the same. The Ice Parallels are nice and the Chrome minis and various other parallels should keep pack busters more interested this year after they pull their autograph.
Chrome Prospect Cards: 38 of 110 or a bit more than one third of the players. I did snare a Bruce Rondon who was being groomed by the Tigers to be their future closer and Byron Buxton the highly regarded #1 pick for the Minnesota Twins in 2012. As bad as the Twins are and as poorly as Aaron Hicks is hitting for the Twins, I wonder if Buxton really be pushed onto the fast track.
Gold Parallel cards (One Per Pack): Ryan Braun, Jay Bruce, Tony Cingrany, Ike Davis, R.A. Dickey, Edwin Encarnacion, Avasail Garcia, Gio Gonzalez, Adieny Hechavarria, L.J/. Hoes, Mat Latos, Kyle Lohse, Kris Medlen, Kendrys Morales, Mike Moustakas, Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, Mark Reynolds, Darren Ruf, Carlos Ruiz, Hyun-Jin Ryu, James Shields, Jeff Samardzija.
Silver Ice Veteran Parallel: Evan Longoria
Blue Prospect Parallel (#d to 500): Rony Bautista
Silver Ice Parallel (#d to 500): Jeremy Moore
Bowman Chrome Black Refractor (#d to 99): Rio Ruiz
Top 100 Prospects: Joe Panik, Daniel Vogelbach
Blue Sapphire Continuity Program: Andrew McCuthchen
Cream of the Crop Mini: Albert Almora, Hunter Morris, Justin Nicolino, Bruce Rondon
Cream of the Crop Mini Blue Refractor )#d to 250): Sean Nolin
Chrome Prospect Refractor Autograph ((#d to 500): Renato Nunez
Under Armour Autograph (#d to 100): Jamie Callahan
Needless to say, the second autograph helped to seal our deal as this box being better than expected and one of our favorite tag lines is to say wait three to five years to see how the prospects play out. This is a box you stick on your shelf for the long term. If Buxton does what he is supposed to do and becomes a star in Minnesota then the Chrome prospect will be even better and anytime one gets a prospect autograph numbered to 100 that is usually a nice potential card as well.
In addition, the 240 cards at the current low “hobby retail” level comes about to 25 cents per card which means 2013 Bowman Baseball is a very safe product to open. Lots of cards, reasonable pricing and decent future potential comes out as a winner in my opinion. You can check out a blaster box video break below, grab a checklist and see what’s available on eBay right now.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]