Bowman Baseball Collectors on a Mission

Crews, Jenkins, and the Search for 1st Bowmans

Date: May 9, 2024
Author: Greg Bates, Senior Writer
Topics: 2024 Bowman Baseball, Baseball, Collector Stories, Dylan Crews, Greg Bates, MLB, Walker Jenkins
Length: 994 Words
Reading Time: ~5 Minutes

As a collector of Washington Nationals prospects, Justin Brown couldn’t be more hyped for this year’s Bowman Baseball release.

The Nationals’ No. 1 prospect, Dylan Crews, will have his coveted 1st Bowman and autograph cards in the product. Sharing the Bowman cover spotlight with New York Yankees phenom Jasson Dominguez, Crews is playing outfield for the Harrisburg Senators in Double-A.

“I’m definitely excited about Dylan Crews,” said Brown, who lives right outside of Washington D.C., in Alexandria, Virginia. “We’ve had a lot of Nationals as some of the chases of late. We had Brady House. We had Cristian Vaquero, who was one of the top chases in Bowman Chrome a year ago. We had Elijah Green, who’s a first-round pick. Now we have Dylan Crews, who is widely considered to be one of the top young prospects in the game.”

The No. 2 overall selection in the 2023 MLB Draft after Pittsburgh Pirates hurler Paul Skenes, Crews is ranked No. 6 in MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects list.

Joining Crews as one of the top-tier chase cards in this year’s Bowman Baseball release is Minnesota Twins outfielder Walker Jenkins. This will also be the 1st Bowman and autograph cards of the 19-year-old. It’s been said by baseball draft gurus that Jenkins—the fifth overall pick in the same draft as Crews—could have easily been the top selection in any other draft.

Prospecting the Nationals 1st Bowmans of Bust

A collector off and on for most of his life, Brown got back into The Hobby in 2018 when Ronald Acuna Jr. and Juan Soto took center stage.

“It’s a lot of fun to be able to look at the guys coming up before they prove whether or not they’re any good,” Brown said. “I think that is one of the most fun pieces of it. Compared to football and basketball and even just rookies of players in baseball, it gives you the most time with your cards of people you’re excited about.”

Brown said picking up baseball prospects who are still teenagers with a chance to elevate their game is night and day different from collecting all the other sports; players in football and basketball are generally thrust into the professional game soon after their trading cards hit the shelves.

“I think one of the things among Bowman collectors that’s pretty cool that I see is people will hold onto a card for three, four years, waiting,” Brown said. “That’s versus other sports; it’s so instant flip-heavy. It can be a longer game, so I think it is a lot of fun. Not that pressure to be like, oh my gosh, did someone hit a home run last night? I need to sell their card, or else I’m going to lose money on it.”

Brown isn’t a Bowman collector who is diving deep for lower-ranked prospects in the Nationals’ system hoping they will bust out. The 35-year-old is all about going after the big names in his favorite organization.

“There was a point where I had every big Nationals prospect since 2019,” Brown said. “I go through phases of collecting Bowman. There was a phase where I had all the National prospect cards: every decent prospect in a pretty nice version. I had a CJ Abrams 1st Black Refractor auto. I had a James Wood blue 1st auto. I had an Elijah Green red refractor out of 5.

“The on-field product has sucked. But the off-field product being a collector over the last four years as a Nationals fan has been the most fun.”

1st Bowman Rip Party for Walker Jenkins

Baseball fans around Wilmington, North Carolina, watched Walker Jenkins annihilate high school pitching his entire four-year career.

The two-time Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Player of the Year out of South Brunswick High School in Southport, North Carolina, earned the right to go straight from prep baseball to being a top-five MLB draft pick.

Now, fans who tracked Jenkins in high school will be able to purchase his first professional trading card.

Ignition Sports Cards in Wilmington is celebrating Jenkins’ 1st Bowman with a rip party on release day, May 8.

“We’ve already got a big collector base for baseball in our area anyways,” Ignition Sports Cards owner Dustin Ankrom said. “A bunch of our regular customers have been telling us, ‘Yeah, we’re holding off and saving our money for when Bowman comes out.’ They’re planning on going real hard to get as much Walker Jenkins stuff as possible.”

Ankrom isn’t offering any presales of the Bowman product in the hopes that more people will come in on release day and tear open some packs.

“If they rip in front of us, they can win something if they pull a Jenkins autograph. Or, if they pull a base card, they can get a ticket to a drawing for something,” said Ankrom, who will also be running a buyback program for any pulled Jenkins cards. “We got a dozen or two autographed baseballs of his we’re giving away. We’ve got other autographed memorabilia we’re giving away as well.”

Ankrom ordered six cases of Bowman hobby boxes and some HTA Choice Boxes. Ankrom knows that the product will quickly fly off the shelves.

When it was announced that Jenkins would be in the main Bowman Baseball release this year, all the buzz at Ignition Sports Cards centered around this big news.

“Everybody was excited and talking about wanting to get his 1st Bowman,” Ankrom said. “They couldn’t wait until it comes out.”

Well, D-Day is upon us. Or should it be B(Bowman)-Day? Crews and Walker are two big reasons it will be fun to rip away on release day.


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