09 May 2014

Pack of the Day 68: Hobby Box of 2014 Bowman

I busted open a Hobby box of 2014 Bowman to see what it was all about. My initial impressions of the product seemed fairly negative, and I think I still feel that way for the most part. But ultimately it is just pictures of ball-players on cardboard. I think the best thing about this product is the way the Chrome cards smell, especially just as they come out of the pack. I guess it's weird to sniff your cards, and that smell is probably just an indicator of the presence of some cancer-causing chemical residue, but I can't help it. It's better than being out there huffing gasoline in the lawnmower shed.

There are essentially three different base sets in this product, which makes things interesting when breaking down a box. The base set contains 220 cards and features Veterans and Rookies. Then there is a Prospects set made up of 110 cards and features your minor league guys. Then there are Prospect Chrome cards which are essentially a parallel of the Prospect cards but feature their own complement of parallels.

In my box I pulled 127 / 220 cards from the base set with no doubles, or 57.73% of the cards in the set. If you got two boxes with pretty good collation you could complete the base set, but more than likely you'd need three boxes to be sure.

One thing that continues to irk me about Topps products is the company's habit of reusing photos of players across multiple products. The first card I noticed right away was the Craig Kimbrel card in the first scan, which is the same as his SP card in 2014 Topps Series 1 with a slightly different crop. And I am pretty sure that Josh Reddick and Fernando Rodney's photos are the same ones that appear on their 2014 Gypsy Queen cards. Those are the images that jumped out at me right away as being reused. I imagine there are plenty of others in the set. Why can't Topps find more photos of players to show off from product to product. Does the company think we don't notice? Do they save that much money by reusing the same photo several times over? Once a Cub is pretty good at finding alternate images of players during his research on the 2014 Topps Blog, so it can't be that difficult to find photos to use on the fronts of trading cards. So I have to assume it is either too expensive to get reprints rights and pay graphic designers to process new photos, or Topps hates collectors and trolls us by reusing images because they know we'll buy the cards anyway.

Continuing with the 220-card base set, I got three of the State & Hometown parallel cards. The three players depicted were Starling Marte, Jose Iglesias, and David Price. There is not much surprising here, as this is a parallel that's been around for a while in Bowman. Marte is a player collection guy, but the others are just trade fodder or will spend the next few decades sitting in my box of extras.

The Silver Ice parallels come one per box and I got another player collection guy, with a copy of Max Scherzer's card. I really felt like this was a reused photo, too, but the only similar picture I found featured some slightly different angles on Scherzer's arms and his belt buckle was slid around to the other side. I don't know. These inserts are not serially-numbered, although the other Ice Parallels are (Red to 25, Purple to 10, and White to 1).

I got three different colored-border parallels from the base set. These are the three most common colors. The Green have a print run of 150, the Orange have 250 copies, and 500 of each Blue card are inserted into packs. There are also Yellow (99), Silver (75), Gold (50), Black (25), Purple (10), Red (1), and Printing Plate parallels for each card in the set. I don't have much use for the Enny Romero # 072 / 150 or the Matt Davidson # 018 / 250 cards, but the Joey Votto # 192 / 500 might stick around in my collection for a while.

And that about does it for the veteran side of the set. With Bowman being 'The First Place to Find the Game's Future Stars!" the emphasis of most of the inserts is on the prospects.

This box delivered 48 / 110 of the base prospect cards, or 43.64 % of a set. At that rate it would take about three boxes of cards to make a complete set, although you'd probably have quite a few doubles left over at the end. I don't know much about any of these guys. I recognize Appel's name as one of Houston's bigger prospects, but I don't know who the other guys are. Tapia's photo makes his neck look about twice as long as it ought to, but I can't find any evidence online that suggests he actually has a giraffe neck. It's probably just an unflattering angle. I chose to include the Mookie Betts card in the scan because his name is Mookie and it looks like he's got the start to a pretty nasty thin mustache growing on his lip.

For Chrome prospects I pulled 45 / 110 cards in the set, or 40.91% of the set. The best thing about these cards is their sweet chemical Chrome smell. There isn't much rhyme or reason to the cards I selected for this scan. I don't really know who any of these guys are.

I got three of the State & Hometown parallels on the prospect side of things, with Kris Bryant, Daniel Robertson, and Tim Cooney. I hear that Kris Bryant is a pretty big deal. The rumor is that he and Javier Baez might be ready to turn the Cubs upside down in the next couple of years.

You can't really tell it from the scan, but these four cards are the Bowman Scout Top 5 Chrome Mini cards, which feature one guy on the front and a list of the organization's top five prospects on the back. I've heard of Alen Hanson, mostly because I pulled some of his cards from last year's Bowman products.Tyler Naquin's name sounds familiar, too, but I don't know why.

This is an insert set that I liked last year and still like this year. It's the Top 100 Prospects set, and pretty much what you see is what you get. There are 100 players in the set, with their individual rank on the Top 100 list in big numerals at the bottom of the card. Raul Mondesi I again recognize because I got some of his cards last year. Gallo is another big-time prospect. It looks like the top portion of this checklist features a number of guys who already have some service time with their respective big-league teams. I wish Topps had seeded these at a little better than 2 per box, because this is one set I would have fun putting together if they were a little more common.

I am kind of jumping around here with the cards. I really should have done parallels first, then inserts, but I didn't. It bugs me a little, but not enough to go to the hassle of rearranging the photos and text. This is a Chrome Refractor of Tim Cooney numbered # 253 / 500. I also got his State & Hometown parallel in this box. Tim Cooney Hot Box!

This is another of the Bowman Scout Top 5 mini cards, this time a Black Refractor parallel of Courtney Hawkins. It is relatively rare, numbered # 08 / 15. Of course, the White Sox player that you would want featured on this card is Jose Abreu. Going by eBay auction results, you'd be lucky to get $5 from this card. But it's cool to pull something rare from a box anyway, even if it isn't worth the Chromey cardstock it's printed on.

This Francisco Lindor card is from the 1989 Bowman is Back Silver Diamond Refractor set, which are packed out one per box. This is one of those few cards that looks better in the scan than it does in person. Or maybe I've just been looking at it under poor lighting.

And finally, here is the box's promised autograph, from a guy named Seth Mejias-Brean. Who? I don't know. He is sporting a pretty slick mustache, but he's apparently buried pretty deep in the minors. I couldn't find a lot of information on the guy. This is the Black parallel of the autograph, which is numbered # 58 / 99.

And that does it for the box. For what it is I guess it was a pretty good break. I got a decent number of low print run cards, even though they weren't necessarily the big money guys in the set. I'd like to get the complete base set, but I don't know if I will be buying another couple of boxes in order to do it.

1 comment:

  1. Mookie Betts is one of the Red Sox's top prospects. He had a monster year in 2013 and is off to a pretty nice start here in 2014. According to some Red Sox fans I know he'll probably have to switch positions (he's currently a middle infielder) if/when he makes it to the majors but his bat should carry him when that happens.
    And although he's not Abreu, that Hawkins is a pretty nice pull. Due to the White Sox's farm system being so barren, he's one of the few top prospects that organization has to look forward to. That said he had a pretty mediocre 2013 so his value's pretty low right now.