Box Break: 2013 Bowman

Bowman is one of those in between sets for me.  Do I buy packs?  A box and build the set?  Pull my favorites out and part ways with the rest of them?

I’m not a prospector, but I love to pull some of the great rookies that I read about.

I don’t put together too many sets, but I love to buy packs and sometimes a box of cards that I enjoy openings packs of.

I like inserts, but too many of them become overwhelming.

Bowman has a way of providing a response to each of these contradictions in my collecting habits.  When Topps brought back the Bowman cards in 1989, my friend Alex and I were all in.  The cards were weird and big and didn’t fit well anywhere, but they were cool and had a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.  Griff was the man in 1989 and his rookie cards were something every kid in America that collected cards wanted.  I had them all, and loved the oversized Bowman version (after the Upper Deck version of course…)  Although the cards weren’t that great.  The photography was a little grainy at times and the overall design was weak…plus the stat on the back were quite confusing and took some getting used to.  Either way I was going to collect this set…and all other versions that would come out in the future.  That was, until 1992 rolled around.  The card quality became significantly better and the rookie class was pretty stellar at the time (I still have my Raul Mondesi in a screw down holder, iknowright!).  1992 was also the time I began to realize I can’t collect everything…because I couldn’t afford it.  So I never completed the set and ended up getting rid of my other sets from the previous years.

13 BB Mariano Rivera Chrome RC Reprint

Fast forward to the future that is today.  The card quality has improved exponentially and in relation to the other stuff that’s being issued, Bowman is quite affordable.  I’ve purchased a box of these the past three years and took a bigger step this year and bought the jumbo pack box from Dave and Adam’s card world.  Here is my review.

13 BB Josh Hamilton Chrome RC Reprint

Card Design – 3 of 5

The overall design of the cards is quite simple, which I love.

13 BB Robinson Cano

13 BB Hanley Ramirez

No extra weird things going on here, just some simple graphics and all the basic information you need on a baseball card.  I do like the subtle variation on the front of the card that differentiates the Bowman Prospects from the Major Leaguers.  Bowman also carried this through as they do on the back of  the card with the numbering and color of the card stock.

Photography – 3 of 5

The photographs are your typical action photos mixed in with awkwardly posed for photos of young men in uniforms.  There are a lot of beards and facial hair in general around the world these days and the major league baseball franchise is no different.  I’m thinking Panini needs to do a facial hair card set.  Maybe Josh Reddick get the coveted #1 card?

13 BB Matt Kemp Bryce Harper Gold Border

Hits – 4 of 5

Like I said before, I’m no prospector.  I simply don’t have the patience or wherewithal to invest in people I don’t know and Bowman counts on people doing this.  That’s what makes this set so wonderful though.  If you do pull a great auto of a young talented player or a refractor you have a nice piece of cardboard.  If you don’t, well, you have something shiny to look at i guess.  Another thing with the hits is that you have to wait a couple of years for these guys to pan out and get a year or two under their belts.  Just because you are a top 100 prospect doesn’t mean you are going to be a star in the bigs.  All that said, It’s nice to get the ‘First Bowman card’ of a potential star.

13 BB Eddie Rosario Dorssys Paulino Top 100

Another thing that i really enjoy about the Bowman cards and the young stars is the names of these kids.  Damn.

13 BB Oliberto Amaya Calderon Maldonado Chrome

Review

Bowman is always fun to open and the cards are always a very solid quality.  I’m not sure if I will buy a jumbo box next year unless i plan to start building the sets again…but getting 32 cards in a pack is pretty cool.

13 BB Rodriguez Bundy Reed Rowen Gold Sparkle

The overall look and feel of the cards is great, nothing to complain about here, plus the price is right with Bowman, especially for what you get.

Mini’s are cool.

13 BB Skaggs Hanson Bradley Hensley Minis

So are Flags…

13 BB Davis Upton Alonso Maurer Hometown

and blue or maybe purple cards?

13 BB Brett Gerritse Blue Refractor 60:250and who doesn’t love them some autographs!

13 BB Eddie Butler Auto

13 BB Yordano Ventura Refractor Auto 79:500

13 BB Alex Meyer Auto

Box Break: 2013 Topps Heritage

Have you ever had a hot box, or better yet, been hot boxed.  Well, I was hot boxed over the weekend and it was wonderful.  I saw blue refractors everywhere while listening to the Stones.  There were giant heads and men shooting imaginary arrows after pulling ripe plantains out of their pants.  Others were smiling, giggling and simply staring in to space…and I swear I saw a Marlin with photos taken before and after a clean shave.  It was all magical, and now the trip is over…the flashback is now Monday night and I have a hangover.

Topps Heritage is a set that I LOVE putting together each year.  I know a lot of folks out there are indifferent or hate it, but I really enjoy the set.  I love that it’s set at a decent price.  I also love that you can complete a base set with minimal headaches while managing to still eat lunch each day.  I admit the SP’s and SSP’s are a little bit of a pain, but isn’t that what collectors really want?  They can definitely come off as gimmicks, but they also represent the desire to chase and build sets.  Part of my enjoyment with collecting cardboard is that I know I can’t have everything I want…even though I really want everything.  To me, that is the joy in collecting.  The chase.  I have binders of the flagship Topps set with all the cards in their proper position.  I have binder of Topps Heritage with huge chunks of cardboard missing.  It’s infuriating at times but I can’t quit it.  It’s like that girl in high school that talked to you enough to be a friend, but you just couldn’t get closer to her…it was the chase.  You didn’t hate her for it, you knew deep down that nothing would ever happen, but it never stopped you from trying did it?  That’s what I love about Heritage.  I will never complete all the Heritage sets I’ve started, but I will try and will buy boxes to open packs to put in sleeves…that’s what I do.  That’s why I collect.

To chase the un-obtainable.

Ok, I’ve been rambling a bit here tonight.  Each year I buy a few boxes of Heritage throughout the year to build a full set with all the SP’s.  This year I ordered my boxes in advance from Dave and Adam’s cardworld and have slowly started to open them.  Just out of curiosity, I did something I’m a little embarrassed about.  I weighed each box on a small digital scale my wife uses around the kitchen.  I found three different sizes of the boxes 1lb 4 3/4oz, 1lb 5oz and 1lb 5 7/8oz.  Hmmm.  Think I’m going to open the heavy box first.  Glad I did as it was what must have been a HOTBOX!

Holy Hot Rocks I’m Hot, so give up the props – just a little something from Redman to lead into the magical Blue Refractor imagery.

12 TH Jeter Rivera Blue Refractor

I also managed to pull an awkward looking Adam Jones Clubhouse Collection White Jersey Card.

12 TH Adam Jones Clubhouse Collection White Jersey

Here is the archer/plantain man.  Just watched him lock it down against the Netherlands.  Any fans of the WBC out there?  I’ve really been enjoying it this year, plus the Dominican Republic team is stacked like an all star team.

12 TH Fernando Rodney Chrome 88:999

A young stoned Stones.  This photo was taken before Keith Richards made his deal with whatever devil that allowed him to live to 150.  Maybe he’s a vampire?

12 TH Rolling Stones News Flashback

Lots of gigantic heads in the ’64 remake here.  Wonder if that was the trend in the mid 60’s, to get right up in a man’s face and release the shutter?  I’m not up on my camera lens history, but I imagine a lot of fixed lenses back then creating the up close shots.  One of the many reasons I like Heritage is their attentiveness to focusing on the mimicked set.  My one complaint about it would be the photos though.  I think Topps could take easily use the same angles and focal lengths, but get sharper photos rather than attempting to copy the grainy old school photos.  I know, I know…that’s the whole point of this set.  I just think the technology of today shouldn’t be limited in order to duplicate what couldn’t be done 50 years ago.

12 TH Cano Strasburg

I got a Heritage Suite card too, SSSP?

12 TH Pedro Ciriaco

The thing I love about this card is these two guys look like a before and aftershave photo.  Maybe Mr. Mattison can find a razor and trim that beast up a bit?

12 TH Kevin Mattison Tom Koehler Marlins Rookie Stars

Nothing to hide.

12 TH Chris Tillman

This guy is WAY TOO INTENSE.

12 TH Zack Greinke

Card Design 3.5 of 5

This isn’t one of my favorite designs, it’s a little too simple for my liking.  The backs are great and I think Topps has done a great job matching the original design and feel of the cards again.

Photography 3.5 of 5

The photography is what it is.  They are matching what was done previously.  Just think more can be done, especially with all the technology we have now.

Hits 3.5 of 5

Although this box was pretty dope, I can’t say that Heritage has great hits.  They just don’t and that’s what has a lot of folks upset.  That’s not my concern though.  I like the Clubhouse Collection cards as simple and non-descript as they are, I think they work for this price point and set.  The box toppers are only nice if you don’t get a panel.  The panels are terrible because you can’t really do anything with them and nobody wants them…at least that I know.

Review

I have a long way to go to completing this set, but I am going to enjoy every minute of it regardless of what people think.  I like the simple non glossy cardboard that is Heritage.  It reminds me of the cards I collected as a kid, only better stock.