I cannot believe that with the year winding down, we collectors are left with Topps Heritage High Numbers Edition but no Turkey Red or Bowman’s Best. While at least we know Turkey Red will make a comeback in 2009 Topps as an insert set, there has been no news about the under appreciated Bowman’s Best.
If you recall, Best made its debut in 1994 and introduced the collecting world to Bowman “Chrome” cards. Unfortunately, in 1997 Bowman released a “Chrome” line and the rest as they say is history. After that, Bowman’s Best became the middle child of the Hobby.
Bowman’s flagship was for the dull collector who didn’t appreciate flash and wanted to complete a set. For those young “Joe Collector” type, Bowman Chrome offered everything you could want and in 2001 with the Albert Pujols autograph became the #1 product of the Hobby. Where did that leave Bowman’s Best?
In the gutter, that’s where. Topps had decided to shelf a legendary product so they can put out one more product featuring the ridiculously ugly ’08 Topps design (High Numbers). That’s like Britney Spears putting out two albums in one year because she thought we just couldn’t get enough of it. Sorry, as a collector who has bought Topps since 1990 I can honestly say 2007 was the absolute worst design of a Topps flagship I have ever seen. Thank goodness 2009 brings change (link).
Now, as far as Bowman’s Best is concerned: does it deserve a return in 2009? Bowman’s Best once ruled the Hobby with Vladimir Guererro and Andruw Jones Refractor rookie cards and ultra-rare (at the time) certified autographs. Just looking at their 2007 autograph checklist, they obviously had the right idea. If you busted a box of Best in ’07 you could of pulled a certified autograph of Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun, Tim Lincecum, Prince Fielder, Cole Hamels, Joba Chamberlain, Matt Holiday, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Howard plus the hot prospects everyone wants. The only problem was the price tag of $250+ per box online and even more in Hobby shops.
If Topps cared about the old school collectors who once loved Bowman’s Best, they’d bring it back in 2009 but it looks like today it’s all about gimmicks, relics and the continuing Prospects War versus Razor, Tristar and Donruss. I am guessing we will see Bowman Little League cards before we ever see another release of Bowman’s Best. For card companies, money talks and old school walks.
It’s just a way of life.