2010 Bowman Is Live, Ridiculous

2010 Bowman is hitting shelves, and it is the first in the line of 3 Bowman products this year for baseball. Each year, in addition to this product that features Chrome prospect cards, we also get an entire 2010 Bowman Chrome set, and the ever-popular 2010 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects that will feature players from this year’s amateur draft. Its part of a yearly onslaught from Topps, designed to capitalize on the collectors who want to invest early in players who have yet to make the major league club.

This particular Bowman product is extremely special, mainly due to the players that are included on the autograph checklist. In addition to Stephen Strasburg, last year’s number one pick, whom I posted about earlier, there is also a slew of talented players who are likely to be every day contributors for their major league clubs, including some who already have. Thanks to the first Chrome autographs from players like recent call up Starlin Castro, as well Mariners prospects Dustin Ackley and Jose Iglesisas, and Padres prospect Donavan Tate, this set is loaded.

As a result of how packed Bowman is this year, the hype machine is in overdrive, something further fueled by Topps’ exclusive license. Because Topps is the only game in town, there is more focus on products like this, even outside of the prospecting community. Personally, I love when the hype machine gets behind products like this, because I think it helps move the hobby along. Although I don’t think it’s a good idea to purchase some of the top singles from the set at the current prices, I definitely like how people are rallying behind it. I think Topps realized how crazy this product would be, because auto cards from Jason Heyward and Austin Jackson are also going to help bring that desire to a breaking point.

I find it actually kind of crazy how much some of the cards are going for, especially some of the lots and higher end rookies:

Steven Strasburg Base Chrome 20 Ct Lot– $455 (25 per card almost!!)
Bryce Harper USA Base Chrome– $25 (THIS IS A BASE CARD!)
Austin Jackson Refractor Auto– $29 (His third chrome card?)
Steven Strasburg Refractor /500– $60 (for a base refractor?)
Donavan Tate Blue Auto /250 – $55
Jason Heyward Blue Auto /250– $105 (this is his second chrome auto, third card)

That being said, these prices are sure to drive up the cost of the boxes and cases even further than they already have. I can only imagine what is going to happen when Strasburg’s first CHROME auto comes out with 2010 Bowman Chrome in a few months. That will truly be a testament to how loud the hype machine can get.

My Card Collecting Love Affair Is Over

Its been a long and convoluted love affair between Chrome and I, lasting over a decade. Since 1998, I have always chased the Chrome cards of my favorite players, even when I stopped collecting cards. Based on emails I have received from many of the other people in this hobby, they feel the same way. The parts of Chrome I always loved the most were the refractors, as the chromium technology made rainbow foil look like wrapping paper on other products. These cards were everything they were hyped up to be, and I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the refractor is quite possible the best tech feature in the modern card.

In fact, chrome rookies and refractors are possibly the only non-numbered card to still hold value in this hobby. It is very rare that a non-auto, non-numbered card has any value what-so-ever, but the refractor has bucked this trend since its inception in 1993 finest baseball. This also means that the low numbered colored refractors are worth even more, and the Red refractors from both Topps and Bowman chrome have been known to crack 100 bucks without an auto. Think about it, look at all the other low numbered parallels that are present in just about every set. Will any of them frequently draw big bucks without a jersey, patch, or auto? Rarely if any will have that power.

Of course, 2009 is the final year for Chrome in football, and I am very sad to see it go. I will always have a special spot in my heart if it comes back, but for now, this is the end. Although I havent ever had much success with pulls out of either product, I think the singles are always going to be part of my collection. I was lucky enough to pull a coveted red refractor auto last week, and I was happy to finally have the feeling of pulling something like that. However, knowing that those kind of singles will not be available for the forseeable future makes me pretty angry that Topps is out of football. I am very glad to see the end of Triple Threads and Sterling (both kinds), yet I cant help but think that I would be willing to put up with those fluffy turds if I could have another shot at some chrome cards of the 2010 rookie class.

Lastly, its rare that I love a product like chrome through most of its run, and I credit the way that Topps approached the product each year. Instead of rehashing designs or lazily working with new concepts, there was a new fresh look every year. The refractors stayed the same, but I always looked forward to seeing the new design that was coming. Most of the time, they did very well with both Topps and Bowman chrome, and no matter what, those refractors always held their own. Collectors still chase the original Finest set because of the refractors, and I think I may start to join them without a new product each year. After all, my love didn’t come from staying with tradition, it came from appreciation. I never collected Chrome because I needed to be the person who had them all, I collected Chrome because I wanted to.

Great Day At The Local Shop!

Its very rare that I pull anything when buying loose packs. Its rarer that I pull anything to even recoup half the value of what I buy. Today was not one of those days.

I was running some errands and I stopped in at the Baseball Card Co. over here in Northridge, CA to see what I could find. They had their normal great selection of packs, so I decided to try some Bowman Chrome, after all the Topps Chrome I had busted. Luckily for me I did, because in the six packs I purchased, I pulled these two cards:
Yes, this is the first red refractor I have ever pulled, and the White was just a bonus. The Massaquoi is numbered 2/5 and is up for sale as we speak. In addition to these cards, I also pulled a base Stafford RC and a base Freeman RC, so these six packs were probably the best ever for me.
Let me know if you are interested in either, I will consider any reasonable offer.

Which Chrome Style Brand Works The Best?

Each year, Topps releases 4 or so Chrome board sets for the NFL, all of which are pretty popular releases. Bowman Chrome and Sterling, Topps Chrome and Finest, all have huge collector followings for different reasons, but which one reigns supreme?

2009 Base Design

I think this category is a two horse race between Finest and Topps Chrome. Finest went with a simple, yet cool design that hearkens back to the glory days of finest. Topps Chrome’s design this year was also great and simple, more so than any other Topps flagship design for the last few years. For this I am more partial to Chrome because I bust so much of it each year, but the base design has to go to Finest for the way the team color elements combine with the full bleed, borderless design.
Winner: Finest
2009 Refractors

Bowman Chrome and Topps Chrome are the home of the refractors, so its obvious that they are going to be at the top here. Finest’s Pigskin Refractors are cool, but the others are a bitch to even recognize. Bowman Chrome’s design lends itself more to the colored refractor look, and I really like what it means to truly have the rainbow with these. The Red Refractors even look better than the Topps one, and carry more value. You also have silver and bronze box toppers, which can be a parallel nightmare, or cool depending on how you feel about the number of refractors in Bowman. Topps is more simple, but the numbering is a little too high for them to make a truly centerpiece worthy piece. This one goes to Bowman Chrome.
Winner: Bowman Chrome
2009 Autograph Rookie Cards

I think all four sets have their merit in autograph cards, but Sterling’s awful design and relic placement takes them out of the running. As for Bowman Chrome, the autos fit well into the design, and the colored refractor autos look very good. However, Topps Chrome’s look that much better in my opinion. First off, the Black and Gold refractors are awesome, and the swatch placement on the ridiculous jersey autos is better than Bowman any day of the week. Finest probably would have taken this spot, but they added a needless swatch when it wasnt needed on ALL of their base rookie autos.
Winner: Topps Chrome
2009 Added Content

Whether its the letter autos in finest, or the one per case base variations in Topps Chrome, there has been a move for added content this year. Bowman Chrome has added more refractors this year, but that isnt really a good thing in some cases. Sterling, well, Sterling is quickly becoming a distant fourth in everything here. Im not really a letter person, but the finest ones that are built with pro uni colors are nice. However, when you see how much the 1 per case variations go for, its a tough race with Topps chrome. I love the idea, but I cant decide what works best.
Winner: Topps Finest and Chrome (tie)
2009 Price
Sterling is automatically a fourth place for having such a huge price tag for the junk you get. Finest is nice, but there isnt much value outside of the autos in that box. For Topps Chrome and Bowman Chrome, you can miss on the auto, but still do awesome on the box thanks to the value of the refractors. They are both under sixty bucks, but Bowman Chrome gives you a box topper, and a bunch of color per box. Topps has the possibility of reds, and coppers, but there isnt much else in a hobby box.
Winner: Bowman Chrome
Overall Champion

When it comes down to it, I think this is going to continue to be a tight race between the two Chrome brands, though this year, Topps Chrome just has a little more going for it. The design is great, the autos are great, and most of the added content is great. The Cheerleader cards are fucking annoying, but you can still get past them because the other cards are awesome. The values of the box hits are higher, and the retail prowess is great on it. Its at the top of the leader board for a reason, as so far its my favorite product of 2009.
CHAMPION: 2009 Topps Chrome

2009 Bowman Chrome Is Live!

2009 Bowman Chrome is live, something that I have been waiting for a long time. I really like the design this year, and I think that as long as things look the way they did from the original set, this could be as good as Topps Chrome was.

I also see that they are using a weird almost ribbed look for her pleasure, not really sure why they didnt just go with the flat chrome. Regardless, these cards do look like a fun rip.