Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Collect call: 2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects
Posted Dec 5, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 10:20 PM
This is the time of the year when baseball rookie and prospect collectors come out of the woodwork. And why not? Late November and early December coincides with Topps’ release of Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects; it’s a set that is short on dazzling cards, but long on rookie and prospects. If you like to build a set of potential future stars, this is the place to start.
A hobby box contains 24 packs, with seven cards to a pack. A set consists of 55 rookie cards and an additional 165 draft pick/prospect cards, and there are two Bowman Chrome cards contained in each pack.
The hobby box I sampled yielded 38 out of the 55 base rookie cards – Rays included in this box were pitchers Matt Moore and Chris Archer, while other notable rookies included Bryce Harper, Yu Darvish, Will Middlebrooks and Drew Smyly.
The hobby box also produced 72 out of the 165 draft pick cards, and there were five Rays sprinkled in the group — third baseman Richie Shaffer, outfielders Clayton Henning and Bralin Jackson, pitcher Jason Wilson and shortstop Benjamin Kline.
Parallels are always part of the Bowman product, and this box contained two blue ones numbered to 500 and an orange one numbered to 250. An additional parallel, called Silver Ice, showcased Cardinals pitching prospect Michael Wacha.
There were 39 chrome parallels in the box—none of them were Rays players—with 12 base and 27 draft/prospects.
Refractors are plentiful, falling about one every three packs. The base refractor featured Rays left-hander Matt Moore and was numbered to 300. There also were six draft pick refractors, and a blue refractor of Angels prospect Mike Morin numbered to 250.
Topps promises one autograph per hobby box, and the one I found was an on-card signature of Braves prospect Lucas Sims. This autograph — one of 40 chrome prospects featured in this Bowman set — features a bold signature penned with a blue Sharpie.
The overall design of the card is clear, crisp and simple. No clutter, which is great.
The Bowman Top Picks insert card features two players from different years who were drafted in the same position. For example, Justin Verlander (2004) and Danny Hultzen (2011) were the No. 2 overall picks in their respective drafts.
The Prospect Challenge card makes its debut in this set. This card has a code you can enter online and play a digital game and compete for monthly prizes. Those prizes will include autograph cards from Bowman releases and a grand prize that will feature autographs of top prospects numbered to 10 or less.
Enter the code on http://www.topps.com/BowmanGame. Each code entered will unlock four prospects; you pick one of them for your team. Eight prospects will complete a team roster (you can have additional prospects on your bench).
Points for players will be earned based on their performance, and also through their progression through the minor leagues.
Some random codes will unlock a special five-card pack of Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Blue Wave refractors. Other packs will include autographs.
There’s always something fresh about this set. Maybe it’s the influx of new players, or the knowledge that maybe one or more of these young players could be accepting a plaque at Cooperstown someday. It’s also a great way to prepare for spring training, because there’s a good chance fans will see many of these guys practicing and playing.