How the mighty have fallen. There was a time not too long ago when Bowman Draft Picks was ripped by the case. It offered rookies galore in both basic and shiny chrome finishes as well as rookie autographs. It was a prospectors dream. But when the new rookie rules came along to simplify things, products like this have made it more confusing.
So while half the cards in my 2008 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects may not carry the ugly rookie card logo, they sure do look like rookies to me: MLB licensing, team logos, Major League uniforms. They're just numbered a little different and they're missing the Players Association logo. I haven't cracked a Beckett in about five years so I have no idea if they list these as rookies, but when I go to eBay and see them listed as rookies, I don't necessarily disagree. And even if they're not, they certainly seem a step above the minor league issues from Tristar, Razor and Donruss.
Even without the confusion over what is and isn't a rookie card, this set is a bungled mess. Or rather all the sets within the set. When Bowman Draft Picks first launched you had your Bowman cards, Bowman Chrome and the appropriate parallels like Gold and Refractors. It was pretty easy to keep track of. Now you've got all those plus the Prospects, their Chrome counterparts and their parallels.
In my two packs I saw they following sets:
- Bowman Chrome
- Bowman Prospects
- Bowman Chrome Prospects
Yes, by "Beckett definition" the prospects cards are an insert set. But I'm sure most of us can agree that they're the selling point for the Bowman brand now. They're not "rookies" by technicality and corporate jargon. So two me, there's four different sets to build from a seven-card pack. And at least one of those cards appears to be set aside for a parallel. I'm fine with two sets in a single product. But this is a little much. I'm confused and don't know who 90 percent of these guys are and I doubt many of the 'prospects' - who seem to share rounds five through eight in common - will pan out to be much.
I'll be tucking these aside for a rainy day a few years from now to see if any of these guys turned into stars but otherwise my pack buying for Bowman Draft is done. Hopefully Topps will see that the demand is no longer there also (I'm guessing this from the stagnant wax prices on everything Bowman baseball related when compared to the stuff from five years ago prior to the new rookie card rules where prices for Bowman Draft wax has appreciated more than most products.
Although Topps may have an advantage with their ability to make "prospect cards" because of their grandfather clause, but they'd be doing the hobby a favor by sticking to the idea that nobody gets a card - prospect or otherwise - until they play a Major League game. There's only one competitor left and the livelihood of Topps is no longer dependant on Bowman. The hobby would benefit from collectors agreeing on what rookies are and we'd probably end up spending more because we'd be chasing rookie while they were establishing themselves rather than going back and tracking down the cards three to five years after they were issued. It works in hockey so why can't it work here?