Who would have known when Topps brought back the Bowman brand in 1989 what the evolution of that name would become. In 1989, Bowman was always positioning itself as the leading source for rookie and prospect cards. There were cards of veteran players then, but tons of new players, many of which were unknown to baseball fans. If you did not read Baseball America you would not have known who many of them were. Some of these rookies and prospects became major stars such as Ken Griffey Jr while others like Johnny Ard never even came close to the majors. Recently we saw the stories of the shooting death of Ryan Bolden, who was a top 50 draft pick less than five years ago, proving that one never knows the future of any drafted player. At the same time, other players drafted eventually make their way to the big money.
Topps has evolved the Bowman brand in recent years into being more and more prospect oriented. Topps has grown the line to include not only the basic Bowman brand but a Chrome and now a Draft Prospects set as well. Something card companies do with successful brands is figure out the best ways to grow them. With that, the final 2014 Bowman release was the Bowman Draft product, which released this month.
This year, of course, marks the 25th anniversary of that ’89 Bowman Debut and the product utilizes that old design, but fortunately, they didn’t duplicate the larger sized cards from that first issue.
The 220 card base set includes 130 draft picks and 90 prospects. There are no official rookie cards in the product this year.
As Topps has also discovered, their collectors appreciate the bigger packs with better autograph chances. Thus, we have Jumbo and Super Jumbo boxes and packs. Hobby boxes have one autograph in 24 packs per box and seven cards per pack. Jumbo offers three autographs in 12 packs per box and 32 cards per pack. Super Jumbo includes five autographs in each ten-pack box and a whopping 60 cards per pack.
When I went into Triple Cards here in the Dallas area to ask about the price point the sales person mentioned that his clients were beginning with buying the Super Jumbo packs and then the Jumbo packs. He had sold only one of the regular hobby boxes.
If you remember, the 2013 Bowman football boxes were a major hit because all the hobby packs and boxes were jumbo type packs compared to the more standard hobby packs. I remember those boxes and packs were very popular. At the time, the dealers told me it was because there were more autographs in the box and more cards in the pack. Hearing the comments of Triple Cards, I’m beginning to wonder if the “Bowman Draft” hobby boxes are an anachronism and whether this line should evolve into the larger pack size utilized in 2013 Bowman.
As has been the tradition with just about every Bowman box we have ever opened, there were no duplicates.
Here’s what we pulled:
Draft Picks: 67 of 130 or just a tad more than half the set. This means you need two hobby boxes with perfect distribution to complete this set.
Top Prospects: 43 of 90 or just a tad less than half the set.
Chrome Draft Picks: 25 of the 130 cards
Chrome Top Prospects: 13 of the 90 cards
Draft Pick Refractors: Austin Cousino, Chris Ellis, Gavin LaValley, Sam Travis
Top Prospect Refractors: Aaron Blair, Kyle Crick, Tyler Danish, D.J. Edwards
Draft Prospect Blue Refractor (#d to 399): Troy Stokes
Top Prospects Blue Refractor (#d to 399) Max Fried
1989 Bowman is Back: Josh Bell
Draft Night: Michael Chavis, Derek Hill
Dual Draftees: Alex Jackson/Michael Conforto
Scout’s Breakouts: Aaron Judge, Marcos Molina
Chrome Autograph: Grant Holmes
While one autograph for the retail price point may seem strong, at the lower online level, this is certainly a better bang for the buck. $70 plus is tough to swallow with only one auto. However, 2014 Bowman Draft is one product that’s sort of gotten swallowed up by the myriad of new releases coming down the pike this month. If several major stars develop in a few years, we may see a resurgence, but the Jumbo and Super Jumbo would still likely be the better product to have.
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