While collectors look forward to the release of Bowman Baseball each season, both traditional collectors and prospectors really wait for the annual late season release of Bowman Chrome. With the Chrome factor and the resulting possibility of “better” autographs, BoChro becomes a go-to product for many collectors and dealers.
However, when you have a prospect based issue, there are sometimes risks just as in 2010. That was the year Stephen Strasburg was the number one prospect and was going to carry the Bowman Chrome release until he came down with a sore shoulder which required Tommy John surgery. To their credit, Topps realized what was happening and did what they could to help the dealers who had already bought their products. And by the way, that whole scenario may have even affected the course of baseball history when in 2012, Strasburg hit his team-set innings limit in September and was not available for post-season pitching.
I’m old school enough where I believe you only have so many chances to win the World Series and I may have at least put him in the bullpen in those playoffs. Sometimes, you have to go for the win. Just ask Cubs fans about 2003 and riding Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. While neither pitcher was ever the same after that season, if Steve Bartman does not try to catch a foul ball (which he had the right to do) and the Cubs had beaten the Marlins and won the World Series that year, few fans would have cared if somehow Prior and Wood never did anything else.
Wood was even a featured player in the very first Bowman Chrome set in 1997 and after his masterful 20 strikeout, one-hit game in 1998. That card truly exploded in price. And can you imagine if Topps had all their prospects signing autographs in 1997 just how expensive that could have been in that magical summer of ’98?
Even with the advent of autographs, many aspects of Bowman Chrome have never changed. The cards are still issued in four card packs which come 18 packs to a box. With the two autographs in the box a collector gets one autograph for every 36 cards in a hobby box. The jumbo boxes have five autographs and 156 cards which relates to one autograph every 31 cards. Those odds are close enough where one can feel equally comfortable with opening either hobby or jumbo boxes.
Some fresh inserts like the Fire Die Cut we received keep Chrome interesting. There are also new Carbon Fiber (# to 10) and Bubble Refractors (# to 75) mixed in this year although we didn’t pull any of those.
The new age stats on the back that you may have read about here not long ago are an interesting addition.
When I stopped in Nick’s Sportscards recently, they reported equally strong sales between the hobby jumbo and those odds relate as to why. Nick’s was at $77.95 on the hobby boxes while leading on-line retailers are currently between $55-60 per hobby box.
So how did we do from our box?
Prospect Base Cards: 34 of 100
Blue Refractor (#d to 250): Ian Kennedy
Green Refractor *#d to 75): Luis Sardinas
Dualing Die-Cuts: Byron Buzton, Carlos Correa
Fire Die Cut: Mike Trout
Bowman is Back: David Price
Refractor Autographs: Michael O’Neill, Gabriel Rosa
Obviously, it’s pretty tough to measure the value of a box until those prospects are a couple more years into their careers. An d while we certainly do not expect another Mike Trout or Albert Pujols out of this box we’ll be just as happy with future major league regulars. If one purchases these boxes at the current online levels, Chrome is once again a decent product.
To see what’s currently listed on eBay, click here.