The Late Season Bowman Braves of 2011

Uggla_mediumThe Bowman Brand

When Topps began regular production of what we now consider the “base set” in 1952, they were going to battle with a venerable rival who had begun producing a base set in 1948. (Actually, as Gum, Inc., Bowman also produced sets of baseball cards from 1939 to 1941.) The Bowman sets of the 1940s and 1950s remain popular with collectors to this day. At the time, Bowman and Topps were in a fierce battle, with both attempting to get as many players as possible under exclusive contract. In 1956, Topps would win the battle and put Bowman out of business. It would be 33 years before cards would again be issued under the Bowman brand.

In the late 1980s, Topps was making millions of dollars and was looking for additional revenue sources. They decided to resurrect the Bowman brand in 1989, and production has continued to this day. As a way to differentiate Bowman from base Topps, they would turn the Bowman brand into the “Home of the Rookie Card”. Essentially, the set would feature the sport’s top stars as well as numerous cards of rookies. In the early days of the set, this meant that in addition to your Dale Murphy or Tom Glavine card, you would also get an Andy Nezelek card.

In the early days of Bowman, the sets were large enough that each team was covered fairly comprehensively. This would change as the 1990s moved on. Topps would focus more and more on including players who had yet to play a day of major league baseball. In the early days of the Bowman revival, Topps would issue the Bowman cards in factory set form. As the years moved on, Bowman would cease to be a brand directed at set collectors.

Generally speaking, a set collectors is looking to capture the history of the game. I can pull a binder of a set from any particular year, and I can get a pretty good picture of the state of the game that season. If I were to flip through a binder filled with a Bowman set, my mind would fill with questions. Who are these people and why would anyone want to collect them?

Before anything else, I am a set collector. The idea that a set of baseball cards constitutes a history of the game is what interests me more than anything else. I don’t pretend to understand the popularity of the Bowman brand. Yes, when Bowman picks the right rookies, the cards can hit the stratosphere. For the most part though, the cards are losers. I’ll leave boxes of any Bowman product to the gamblers and be content to accept cards of the Braves or other favorite players as they come my way in trades. The product certainly offers strong appeal to the player or team collector though. Even I can see that.


2011 Bowman Chrome

In 1997, Topps began issuing a new set under the Bowman brand called Bowman Chrome. This set would feature a subset of the regular Bowman set issued that season printed using Topps Chromium technology. The set was popular from the start, but really took off in 2001. In that year, Topps would render Bowman Chrome as a set all but uncollectible. Many of the cards would be short printed and only available in one out of every four packs. These cards were also limited to refractor versions only. Additionally, 20 cards from the set were distributed only in autograph form and each was serial numbered to 500. These cards could only be found in one of every 147 packs.

Strip1_medium

If the 20 rookies selected had not panned out, the set would not have been a big success. Yes, the 2001 autograph listed included the usual Bowman players who would never wear a big league uniform. However, the set also included two of the most collectable players of the era. The Bowman Chrome brand was built on the rookie autographed cards of Ichiro and Albert Pujols in 2001 and the brand hasn’t looked back since.

At this point, Topps no longer includes rookie autographs in the checklist for the Bowman Chrome set, but these cards are still the draw of the product. Last year, it was the Stephen Strasburg card that captured the collective fancy of the hobby. This year, it’s Bryce Harper.

One of the additional draws of Bowman products are the endless series of refractor parallels. For years now, the base Bowman sets have been black bordered cards, with parallels sporting any number of colors from year to year. It has been all the rage for some time now for the player collector to attempt to build a rainbow of cards of their favorite player.

The 2011 Bowman Chrome set offers no surprises for Braves fans among the veteran star cards. As for the prospects, that’s more complicated. Any Braves fan who follows the Braves minor league system would be interested in these cards. Not one of the prospects stands out as a must buy, can’t miss prospect who should be collected immediately. Time will tell which of these guys will even get a chance in a big league uniform. (It is safe to say that we might be seeing Tyler Pastornicky in an Atlanta uniform early this season.)

Strip2_medium

I can’t recommend purchasing this product to any Braves fan. The likelihood of hitting a worthwhile autograph is slim and there are NO Braves autographs available on the prospect autograph checklist. If there are cards you want, I’d recommend just going after them individually.

2011 Bowman Chrome Braves Checklist

Base Set and Prospects (These cards were also produced in the following parallels: Refractors, Blue Refractors, Gold Refractors, Orange Refractor, Red Refractor, Canary Diamond Refractor, SuperFractor and Printing Plates.)

Bowman Best Prospects Inserts (Also available as Refractors, X-Fractors and Atomic Refractors)

  • BBP53 - Arodys Vizcaino

2001 Bowman Chrome Throwbacks Inserts (Also available as Refractors, X-Fractors and Atomic Refractors)

2021 Bowman Chrome Futures Inserts (Also available as Refractors and Future-Fractors)

  • 10 - Arodys Vizcaino

2011 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects

Despite my reservations about the product, Bowman Chrome is one of the most popular sets of the year. Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects is not. Dispensing with any pretense of caring about veteran players at the major league level, Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects focuses on current rookie players and prospects. Additionally, the set includes some of the same parallels you find in the other Bowman sets.

Draftpicksandprospectsbraves_medium

As far as production technology goes, the set is produced in a format similar to the standard Bowman set and also in Chrome versions. It would be hard for me to recommend this set as well to any Braves collector, even if it does include the first cards of Sean Gilmartin. Like Bowman Chrome, there are no Braves included in the autograph checklist. I’d recommend just picking up any cards that interest you individually, and if there are none, then there is no shame in ignoring this set.

2011 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Braves Checklist

Base Set and Prospects (Also included in the following parallels: Gold, Blue, Red and Printing Plates)

  • 38 - Cory Gearrin
  • 50 - Craig Kimbrel
  • 77 - Matt Young
  • 88 - Arodys Vizcaino
  • BDPP32 - Sean Gilmartin
  • BDPP42 - Nick DeSantiago
  • BDPP43 - Chase Larsson
  • BDPP74 - Kyle Kubitza
  • BDPP75 - Nick Ahmed

Chrome and Chrome Prospects (Also available in the following parallels: Refractor, Blue Refractor, Gold Refractor, Orange Refractor, Red Refractor, SuperFractor, Canary Diamond, and Printing Plates)

  • 38 - Cory Gearrin
  • 50 - Craig Kimbrel
  • 77 - Matt Young
  • 88 - Arodys Vizcaino
  • BDPP32 - Sean Gilmartin
  • BDPP42 - Nick DeSantiago
  • BDPP43 - Chase Larsson
  • BDPP74 - Kyle Kubitza
  • BDPP75 - Nick Ahmed

Futures Game Relics (Also available in the following parallels: Jumbo Patch, Futures Game Patch, MLB Logo Patch)

  • FGR-JT - Julio Teheran
  • FGR-AV - Arodys Vizcaino
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Talking Chop

You must be a member of Talking Chop to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Talking Chop. You should read them.

Join Talking Chop

You must be a member of Talking Chop to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Talking Chop. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker