Sunday, June 10, 2007

Box Break and Review: 2007 Bowman HTA

One HTA Box of 2007 Bowman (paid $100)
12 packs per box, 32 cards per pack.

The Details

Chiptoppers: One Signs of the Future autographed card*, and a "Scouting Report" checklist.

Base Set: 236 cards

Short Set: 220 cards
*Autographed Rookie Cards: 16 cards (1:25)

Prospects: 135 cards (eight per pack)

Short Set: 110 cards
*Autographed Prospects: 25 cards (1:16)

A-Rod Road to 500: 50 cards (1:2)

# Gold: 330 cards (one-per-pack)
# Blue: 330 cards (1:3/packs, numbered to 500)
# Orange: 330 cards (1:6, #250)
# Red: 330 cards (1:1400, one-of-one)
# Press Plates: 330 cards (1:212)
Chrome Prospects: 110 cards (six-per-pack)
Chrome Prospects Refractors: 110 cards (1:8, #500)
Chrome Prospects X-Fractors: 110 cards (1:15, #275)
Chrome Prospects Blue Refractors: 110 cards (1:27, #150)
Chrome Prospects Gold Refractors: 110 cards (1:80, #50)
Chrome Prospects Orange Refractors: 110 cards (1:160, #25)
Chrome Prospects Red Refractors: 110 cards (1:799, #5)
Chrome Prospects Superfractors: 110 cards (1:4,073, one-of-one)
* Blue Autographed Rookies: 16 cards (1:60, #500)
* Orange Autographed Rookies: 16 cards (1:119, #250)
* Red Autographed Rookies: 16 cards (1:27,000, one-of-one)
* Blue Autographed Prospects: 25 cards (1:38, #500)
* Orange Autographed Prospects: 25 cards (1:77, #250)
* Red Autographed Prospects: 25 cards (1:19,252, one-of-one)
* Autographed Print Plates: 41 cards (1:1150)


A-Rod Road to 500 Autographed: 25 cards (1:11,000*, one-of-one)

* Three autographs per box.
# Parallels include all 220 non-autographed base set cards and all non-autographed 110 Prospects "inserts."

The Pulls

Each 32 card pack contains:

Sixteen base set cards
Eight Prospects "inserts"
One Gold parallel
Five Chrome Prospects parallels
Either a sixth Chrome Prospect or a Chrome Prospects Refractor
Either a 17th base set card, a parallel, or an autographed card.

Signs of the Future Chiptopper: J. Brown

Base Set: 180 of 236 (76.27%)
Seven doubles
Three damaged cards

Short Set: 180 of 220 (81.82%)
Autographed Rookies: 0 of 16

Prospects: 96 of 135 (71.11%)
One double

Short Set: 95 of 110 (86.36%)
1 Autographed Prospect: C. Willems

6 A-Rod Road to 500s

12 Golds
4 Blues: J. Posada, J. Beckett, F. Thomas, J. Litsom
2 Oranges: L. Overbay, R. Mullins
68 Chrome Prospects
2 Chrome Prospect Refractors: G. Mejia, B. Davis
1 Chrome Prospect X-Fractor: J. Vasquez
1 Chrome Prospect Gold Refractor: J. Garthwaite
1 Blue Autographed Prospect: A. Ottavino

The Review:

2007 Bowman is essentially the same product as last year, and that should not be taken as a complement. In reviewing last year's Bowman, I posed the rhetorical question: "Will (Bowman) continue to be the 'Home of the Rookie Card?' Or is it destined to become just another set with dozens of short-prints?" Unfortunately, Topps has answered my question with the latter.

A quick glance at the checklist, and (with the exception of Dice-K and Andrew Miller), there really aren't any "buzz" rookies -- or "Prospects" for that matter. Most of the "Rookies" (i.e. the "Green" cards) are "parenth-RCs," and most of the Prospects (i.e. the "Blue" cards) aren't really all that great. Considering he was every Bowman product last year, the exclusion of Alex Gordon is understandable. But Tim Lincecum's also not in the set, and as I mentioned before, Luke Hochevar is prominently displayed on each wrapper, but does not actually appear in 2007 Bowman.

So who is actually in 2007 Bowman? As with most Bowman Prospects, most of these guys probably won't about to much. But you knew that already. What's surprising are the Autographed Prospects. Most of the guys who signed have already been in previous Bowman Products. Kyle Drabek and Evan Longoria were both in last year's Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia's first Bowman card was four years ago! But there they are, in the 2007 Bowman Autographed Prospects set.

If there is one change to '07 Bowman, is that the Prospects are all white bordered. I guess it's to distinguish them from the base set cards. I don't know about you, but the whole "black-bordered with red, green, or blue highlights" design Bowman has reused for the last decade was getting a bit tedious. However, it should be noted, that all the Autographed Prospects and the Chrome Prospect parallels remain black bordered.

The Bottom Line:

With the recent news from the MLBPA that the number of 2008 products will be reduced from 20 to 17, may I make a suggestion? It may be time for Topps (or the MLBPA) to put Bowman to rest, once and for all. I know what your thinking. Dump Bowman? While this may not be popular in The Hobby, nonetheless, it should be given some consideration. With the MLBPA's "Rookie Card" rules, Bowman is just not the same product as it was. The inclusion of autographed cards and the bundling with BowChro may have led to increased sales among the "Chromies," but at what cost?

The MLBPA dropping Donruss wasn't all that popular either, and in looking back in retrospect, it was probably the best thing to happen to The Hobby in a long while. Whether it be Michael Eisner, or Upper Deck, or someone else, whoever winds up owning Topps, should seriously consider the future of this product line.

This HTA box yielded a little over 80% of both the short base set and the Prospects short set. There were a few doubles, and a couple of cards that came out of the pack with large print dots. All the parallels came as promised, and I received the stated "3 Autographed Cards Per Box" -- which is the main selling point of HTA.

Buyer beware: although you do get two more autographs in HTA (as opposed to Hobby), one of those is a "Signs of the Future" chiptopper, and another is an autographed parallel. Reports from other collectors confirm that about every HTA box has one SOTF, a regular autograph, and a parallel autograph. In other words, you get the same number of regular base set/Prospects autographs in Hobby as you do in HTA.

This particular box had a SOTF of Indians' farm hand Jordan Brown, a Blue parallel of Adam Ottavino (St. Louis' first-rounder last year), and a regular Autographed Prospect of Atlanta first-rounder Colton Willems.

If you're into autographed parallel cards -- and hey, who isn't? -- then HTA is for you. If not, and you absolutely have to have 2007 Bowman, save yourself the forty extra bucks, and go for a regular hobby box.

Product Rating: 2 Gumsticks (out of five)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I was looking at getting a hobby box. But now I'm not sure I want to get one of either box. I would rather not see the prospects insert sets. If they want to do like a first round draft picks I guess that would be okay. 135 prospects is way to many.