Bowman’s Best has kinda been out of it for the last eight years. It’s had insert sets show up within other products, but it hasn’t had it’s own standalone product since 2007. The ’07 Bowman’s Best set doesn’t get the best rap because the autographs are all on stickers, and the cards are extremely condition sensitive. Just the slightest touch can cause damage. It also didn’t help that the packs were jammed into the mini boxes like sardines.
Collectors were introduced to Bowman’s Best in 1994. I really didn’t know much about the brand until 1997. That was the year I began my involvement in the hobby. Phillies 3rd baseman Scott Rolen had just held an autograph signing while I attended my first card show. Lots of manufacturers made cards of Rolen in ’97 all calling them rookies. But at the heart of it, his true rookies come from ’95 Bowman and Bowman’s Best. This was my first experience with realizing that a player’s true rookie cards can be made years before they make their pro debut.
Now on to 2015 Bowman’s Best. Compared to the ’07 set, its dramatically better. The design is clean, and autographs for the most part are on-card. Not only that, but the content has received a massive upgrade. My eyes are immediately drawn to the Hi-Def Heritage inserts. I really like the way these came out. Topps took the old ’55 Bowman television look and gave it an upgraded design. I pulled (3) from my box including the (1) per case Atomic Refractor. Packs containing a Hi-Def Heritage insert only have (1) card as these can be quite thick. Lucky collectors will be happy to pull any of the parallels, especially if they’re autographed. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing these used for retired/HOFers someday.
The other part of this set I enjoy are the 1995 Bowman’s Best Autographs. These cards pay tribute to the 1995 Bowman’s Best set. This is where you find a chunk of the veterans. On the original cards from 1995 Bowman’s Best, you’ll see a colored block in the background behind the player’s image. Topps brought that block forward with these new cards and had the players sign them. Usually I’m not a fan of autographs that are confined within a box. But that box was already there on the original design, and by bringing it forward allows for a smoother autograph area.
I like the configuration. It doesn’t leave you with that many base cards. There is a good supply of prospects, rookies, and veterans. I think its tilted more towards prospects and rookies though. But that’s what Bowman’s Best has always been about. Squeezing in prospects like Dansby Swanson from the most recent draft is a nice touch. If I had to change anything, I’d include more veterans.
Here is what I pulled:
- Jose Altuve Best of 2015 Green Refractor Auto #’ed/99
- Yoan Lopez Best of 2015 Red Refractor Auto #’ed/5
- Kevonte Mitchell Best of 2015 Auto
- Alex Jackson Best of 2015 Auto
- Chris Archer Blue Refractor #’ed/150
- Chris Archer Atomic Refractor
- Lucas Giolito Top Prospects Refractor
- Jameson Taillon Top Prospects Refractor
- Brandon Nimmo Top Prospects Refractor
- Yasmany Tomas RC Refractor
- Yasiel Puig Refractor
- Troy Tulowitzki Refractor
- Sonny Gray Refractor
- Mookie Betts Refractor
- Jacoby Ellsbury Refractor
- Carlos Correa Hi-Def Heritage Atomic Refractor
- Brendan Rodgers First Impressions
- Brandon Crawford/Dansby Swanson Mirror Image
- Todd Frazier/Miguel Sano Mirror Image
- Eric Hosmer/Josh Bell Mirror Image
- Joey Votto Hi-Def Heritage
- Max Scherzer Hi-Def Heritage
- Corey Seager Top Prospects
- Austin Meadows Top Prospects
- Rafael Devers Top Prospects
- Jesse Winker Top Prospects
- Richie Martin Top Prospects
- James Kaprielian Top Prospects
- Cornelius Randolph Top Prospects
- Andrew Benintendi Top Prospects
- Dansby Swanson Top Prospects