Brand History: Bowman Baseball

The Year’s First Chance for 1st Bowmans

Bowman Baseball’s history dates back to 1948 when the first Bowman Baseball set was released following the end of World War II. It’s become a favorite among contemporary collectors who focus on top prospects, offering the chance to have the first card of the next superstar. Bowman’s portfolio has expanded to include Bowman’s Best, Draft, Chrome, and more. Bowman Baseball remains the first release of each new season and the first opportunity to collect a player’s 1st Bowman.

Debut Year: 1948
From 1948 through 1955, Bowman Baseball released annual sets. Topps purchased Bowman in 1956, and the brand would not release another set until 1989.
Licensors: MLB
This has always been a baseball product.
Value Level: Accessible
Similar to Topps Series 1, Bowman Baseball is a great set – at a great price point – designed for a spectrum of collectors. Although the hype and value is concentrated with the prospects, a range of rookie and veteran cards are also appealing.

Who is Bowman Baseball For?

Bowman Baseball is an inclusive product designed for every type of collector – from beginners to vets. Offering top-rated prospects, RCs, and veterans, Bowman Baseball provides a fun and exciting product for everyone in the Hobby. It’s hard not to fall in love with a product that includes autos, chrome prospects, an array of parallels, and much more.

Bowman Baseball’s History

Founded in 1948 by Gum Inc., Bowman Baseball would release one of the first post-World War II baseball sets the same year. Following the 1948 release, yearly sets from Bowman would continue through 1955. In 1956, through the attrition of the chewing gum wars of the 1950s, Topps acquired Bowman and Bowman cards and ceased production. The Bowman brand was moribund until Topps revived the Bowman name in 1989, releasing a new line of Bowman baseball cards featuring full-color photographs of players and rookie cards, which quickly became popular among collectors. Since 1989, Bowman has continued to innovate, introducing chrome cards, autos, and, most importantly, prospects. In 2000, Bowman became a prospect focus brand, cementing its standing as a must-have product with collectors. Bowman Baseball’s enduring popularity is primarily due to its focus on prospects. Each Bowman release allows collectors to hit on the next Mike Trout, Wander Franco, or Julio Rodriguez. Since 1948, Bowman Baseball has been the set of dreams.

Why Does Bowman Baseball Matter?

Bowman Baseball is essential for several reasons. First, Bowman Baseball was one of the first sets to release following World War II. Second, Bowman’s current focus on rookie cards and prospects has helped shape how collectors view and value these cards. Finally, Bowman Baseball has remained a popular and highly collectible brand since its return in 1989, with the introduction of new sets like Bowman Draft and Bowman Chrome, the use of printing tech, and the creation of new card categories and new ways for collectors to collect. The enduring popularity of Bowman Baseball speaks to its importance as a cultural touchstone, as well as its continued relevance in the Hobby.

What am I Chasing in Bowman Baseball?

If it’s Bowman Baseball, then it’s all about prospecting and 1st Bowmans. This is what Bowman Baseball – and Bowman brands in general – are all about. Each year there’s a new and exciting class of potential future hall of famers to collect. Just like each opening day, Bowman Baseball proves that hope springs eternal.


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