Yes, I said it. I’m also going on strictly speculation because despite my repeated efforts to get some information from Topps about Bowman’s Best, its 2015 return is top secret for the time being. However, I am an original Best junkie so I truly believe this year will be Bowman’s Best’s year. Here are some reasons why: The First Chrome Prospect Card We all know that Finest introduced the hobby world to chrome cards and Refractors, while destroying the competition in one fell swoop. Despite their immediate dominance, some collectors complained about the lack of rookies and prospects, thus Topps created the Bowman’s Best line in 1994, bringing into the market the very first chrome prospects cards and Refractors! The First Parallel Above the Refractor By 1996, Topps was in the process of flooding the market with Refractors by going from a Finest exclusive to Topps Chrome and Bowman’s Best. They knew collectors would soon tire of plain Recractors so they came up with the very first parallel of a parallel in the Atomic Refractor, introduced where else but 1996 Bowman’s Best. Now, take a look at the card below. That sure does look like a brighter Superfractor, doesn’t it? The First Chrome Autograph This one is huge. By 1997, Chrome had been used in Finest three years, Bowman’s Best two years, and Topps Chrome was about to turn two. They also had Bowman Chrome’s debut just months away and despite how huge that debut was, they forgot all about certified autographs. Guess what product was the first to include autos on chrome stock? Bowman’s Best! That’s right, every time there is something new to try out, Best is where Topps goes. The Future is Bright There are zero details on the return of Bowman’s Best at the moment. I do have one tiny exclusive … we will see the line return at the tail end of the baseball season. I have no details on product breakdown, design, checklist, or anything else but if we know Topps Company, we can expect Bowman’s Best to be a huge product in 2015 much like Topps High Tek was a product of the year candidate in 2014. Besides, how much longer will Bowman Chrome and Bowman Draft stay fresh? Perhaps forever. Stupid question . Okay, how big will Topps push to make Bowman’s Best the premier Bowman product of 2015? If my examples tell you anything it’s that you should expect big things from Bowman’s Best. I for one cannot wait as it has always been a favorite of mine since I pulled my very first big pull of my life, seen below. I pulled that card in 1995, not knowing what I had. I sold it at the end of the 1996 season for $50 dollars and two boxes of 1997 Ultra, which was an amazing deal for me being that I was 16 and in love with bustin’ wax. As you can guess, I used the other $50 to buy even more wax.
Posts Tagged With: 2015 Bowman’s Best
Aside from Tribute-Gate, this week for me has been spent looking at the preview images of 2015 Prism Baseball. While I am finally starting to appreciate non-licensed cards and what they can bring to our hobby, I couldn’t help but notice that one of their parallels looks almost identical to Topps’ X-Fractor parallel used around 2007. Then that got me thinking about another parallel …
Leaf’s Gold Prismatic has been around a few years now. It’s clearly Leaf’s version of Topps’ Superfractor, hands down the most coveted and popular parallel card of all-time. Personally, I’ve never understood the fascination with the Superfractor but I can certainly see a need for Leaf to jump on Topps’ coattails. There is very little positive in our hobby these days so any card that can put us in a good light is quite alright by me.
At one point during Wax Heaven’s first run from 2007-2009, my entire life revolved around baseball cards and hobby knowledge. I’m no longer an encyclopedia so I can’t recall the debut of the Superfractor. However, if you ask me, its origins lie with the heavily underrated and just resurrected, Bowman’s Best. In 1996, Bowman’s Best introduced the Atomic Refractor, the first parallel above the common refractor.
Below is a sample of the ’96 Atomic Refractor, a card that was seeded at 1:48 packs. I don’t know about you guys but it sure looks like an ancestor of the Superfractor to me. By 1997, Topps changed the look of the Atomic Refractor to a more futuristic looking card. Fortunately, the same printing technology was moved over into a much more prominent brand.
Check out 1997’s Topps Finest Embossed Refractor. Once again, looks very familiar to me for some reason. This beauty was a 1:192 odds pull and well worth it. The color was off but again, this card is clearly an ancestor to the Superfractor we all know and love. Once again, Topps only used this parallel for one year and completely destroyed Finest in 1998, in my opinion.
After this, it appears Topps retired this particular printer for a decade or so before introducing the world to the
Superfractor, err, Embossed Refractor, err, Atomic Refractor. It will be very interesting to see if Topps brings back the 1996 Atomic Refractor for Bowman’s Best’s 2015 return. Now THAT would be something else, especially if they include Superfractors in the product as well.
Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.
As you may have already heard, Topps is retiring Bowman Platinum and bringing back Bowman’s Best. What it boils down to is that collectors really only care about Bowman Chrome and Bowman Draft and Platinum was just not all that exciting. I was away for most of its recent run but have watched several breaks on YouTube. Bowman’s Best, while no longer a recognizable brand due to its long absence, is still the foundation of the chrome prospect movement.
For starters, Bowman’s Best was the first Chromium prospect product produced by Topps beating out Bowman Chrome by three full years. Bowman’s Best featured the first parallel above a Refractor ever produced, named the Atomic Refractor, which was introduced in 1996. Finally, Bowman’s Best was the first Bowman product on Chromium that had autographs. Yes, once again it beat out that over-hyped Bowman Chrome and even Topps Finest.
So while it’s unfortunate that Bowman’s Best lost all its luster to Bowman Chrome in its infancy (1997), Bowman’s Best has way more history in this hobby than Bowman Chrome does and if Topps can resurrect the brand without its awful 2007 high-end product status, you may just have a contender to the Chrome throne. Again, it has to be done right because the market is already over-saturated and another product is not what collectors need.
Below is a pack-inserted, certified autograph of Derek Jeter. It is on-card (of course) and is an Atomic Refractor parallel. This card comes from 1997 Bowman’s Best and was severely overlooked and underrated due to Bowman Chrome’s debut, which had no parallels above Refractors and didn’t even have autographs in the set. Odds of pulling this card out of a pack were an astronomical 1:6,107 packs. As you can imagine, these cards have held up extremely well on the secondary market.
Bowman’s Best has history on its side, it’s up to Topps to use it to their advantage.