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Bob D’Angelo

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 on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.

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Collect call: 2013 Bowman baseball

Posted May 19, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated May 19, 2013 at 12:40 AM

Collectors who love rookies and prospect cards always enjoy opening boxes of Bowman baseball, and this year should be no exception.

The emphasis in Bowman baseball always has been on the base cards, with a nod toward parallels and chrome inserts. As usual, Topps promises just one autograph card per hobby box, but youth is the key here.

A hobby box contains 24 packs, with 10 cards to a pack. Each pack, on average, will contain a gold parallel card and either two or three prospect cards. There also will be two Bowman Chrome cards inserted into each pack.

There are 220 cards in the base set, including rookies, and 100 prospect cards. The box I opened contained 109 base cards and 51 prospect cards. One of the more interesting prospect cards is that of Rays pitching prospect Jesse Hahn, who was a sixth-round pick in the 2010 draft and now plays for the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Hahn has had injury issues, undergoing Tommy John surgery for his elbow and then suffering a broken foot. But so far this season he has been impressive, with a 1.13 ERA in eight games.

The design for both the base set and prospect cards are clean and crisp and the photography is sharp, but then again, collectors demand that at the very least. What is fun about this set is some of the player expressions. Ryan Braun’s card (No. 210) shows his eyes opened wide as he connects at the plate. There’s a star behind Will Middlebrooks’ head on card No. 19 that gives him a crown-like appearance; he almost looks like a Red Sox version of the Statue of Liberty. And there is card No. BP5, where Nationals prospect Lucas Giolito grimaces as he delivers a pitch.

Those are the good ones. There are plenty of posed cliché shots too, like players with a bat over their shoulders or pitchers holding the ball. But for the most part, Topps appears to be making an effort to provide interesting card fronts.

The box I opened contained 24 gold parallels, and a blue parallel of Jayson Werth, numbered to 500. There also was an orange parallel of Robinson Cano numbered to 250, and a low-numbered orange parallel — a refractor of Yankees pitching prospect Brett Gerritse, numbered to 25. Two silver ice parallel cards – one of A.J. Pierzynski and the other of Tigers outfield prospect Steven Moya.

There was plenty of Bowman Chrome; I pulled 38 base or prospect cards, plus four minis. There also was a blue chrome parallel of Rockies third base prospect Nolan Arenado.

The autograph card promised by Topps was an on-card signature of Reds pitching prospect Daniel Corcino.

There were four prospect game cards in the hobby box, which allows a collector to register and play for prizes. I registered, but a collector needs an activation code to begin entering numbers. Still waiting for that email after several hours …

An interesting insert is the Bowman Top 100 cards. These are players who ranked among the top 100 prospects; the box I opened had pitcher Jameson Taillon and shortstop Jurickson Profar.

The final insert was a reprint of players’ first Bowman card; the card I pulled was a chrome version of the 2002 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects card of Joey Votto.

Not a bad haul. If you like your rookies and prospects fresh, Bowman baseball is the way to go.

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