First look: 2011 Bowman Chrome baseball cards


Let the countdown begin …

Topps unveiled its plans for 2011 Bowman Chrome on Friday afternoon, thus starting the clock for the arrival of Bryce Harper‘s first Bowman Chrome autographed prospect cards.

BC-Day is Oct. 19.

There will be one Chrome autograph per 18-pack hobby box with Harper among nearly 40 players on the preliminary autograph checklist.

The base prospect set will consist of 110 players, while the veterans checklist will include 220 cards — 170 veterans and 50 rookies.

Each of the autographs will come with a SuperFractor parallel as well as a Red (limited to five), Orange (25), Gold (50), Blue (150) and Refractor version (numbering TBD).

New inserts this time around include Bowman’s Best Prospects (one per box), 2001 Bowman Chrome Throwbacks (two per box) and 2021 Bowman Chrome Future cards (two per box). Each of those will have 1/1 Atomic parallels while also having XFractors (25) and Refractor versions limited to 99. The Throwbacks set will consist of 20 cards while the Future cards, which are diecut, include 25. The Bowman’s Best cards also include 25 players with the numbering starting at card No. BBP51 — where the cards in 2011 Bowman left off.

The standard Chrome set will have Canary Diamond parallels — 1/1s — as well as SuperFractors, Red, Orange, Gold, Blue and standard Refractor versions. All cards also will have printing plates as has been the norm in recent years.

The USA Baseball presence will include the 18U National Team on autographs that will be bonus sigs for those who find them. Those cards will be found as Supers, Oranges, Gold, Blues, XFractors and standard Refractors. There also will be autographed printing plates for each player.

There also will be a USA Baseball team redemption card that is good for a team set — with redemptions to be found for printing plate, SuperFractor and the entire Refractor rainbow as well.

Among the players on the prospect autograph preliminary checklist are Ethan Martin, Jordan Lyles, Manny Banuelos, Melky Mesa, Aaron Hicks, Jordan Swaggerty, Brett Lawrie, Cutter Dykstra and Cameron Bedrosian among others.


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  1. Toro 11 June, 2011 at 02:32

    Looks like this year has some really good value compared to previous releases. You get the standard base autos and the normal parallels as well as the USA team AU’s, Bowman’s Best and the Canaries.

  2. Jamie Case 11 June, 2011 at 08:18


  3. Mike 11 June, 2011 at 10:17

    Funny…this set won’t come out until after the 2011 baseball season is over? Can we say STREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETCH?

  4. Dr Farkle 11 June, 2011 at 12:37

    Amen to the true rookie Dave M……. they just keep pumpin’ me wallet dry matey’!!!! When will the “true rookie” come though, 2012,2013,2014?? ….isn’t the world ending in Dec 2012? well, since we cant tAKE our Earthly money, I might as well invest in some of that there, Bowman Chrome!!!! See you in October!!!
    – Dr. Farkle

  5. todd 11 June, 2011 at 20:02

    harper the only card keeping this series alive… wonder how much prices will plummet just like 2011 bowman

  6. Jaypers 14 June, 2011 at 13:35

    I was glad to see that several of the prospects I’d hoped would finally have their first Bowman Chrome cards are on here. However, there are others who I know would be popular to sell and collect that still have yet to appear in Bowman Chrome as autographs (or in some cases, even a base card). They are:

    1) Matt Moore (Rays). He had a Bowman Chrome base card two years ago, but this kid would have been a definite boon to this product as an autograph. He led the minors in strikeouts two years in a row. I’m starting to see a pattern here with popular Rays prospects. In 2006, Jeremy Hellickson got a base card, but it took five whole years for him to get an autograph in Bowman Chrome. Likewise in 2007, Desmond Jennings had been given the same treatment. What’s even more perplexing is that Moore shares a dual autograph with Royals’ prospect Mike Montgomery in Topps Pro Debut, so clearly Topps has signed him to a contract. What gives here?

    2) Eric Hosmer (Royals). If you saw this 2011 Bowman Chrome autograph checklist, you would have noticed several players in it who were formerly exclusive to Razor for three years, back in 2008. Case in point – Brett Lawrie, Jordan Lyles, Aaron Hicks, Ethan Martin and Reese Havens. So, I can only assume Hosmer is not yet under contract to Topps. If not, that’s just a silly mistake, bottom line. Now that he’s been called up to KC, he should be included as a RC autograph. His teammate Mike Moustakas was also recently called up and even though his prospect autograph was found in 2008 Bowman, a green MLB rookie autograph would be a welcome addition as well.

    3) Casey Kelly (Padres). Another former Razor prospect, he is the top pitcher in their system, and should have been included in some capacity.

    4) Carlos Martinez (Cardinals). Topps did include a Carlos Martinez in this checklist, but the wrong one (they chose 27 year old from the Nationals’ system). The right Martinez is a fireballer in the Cardinals’ system, and arguably the top international prospect at this time.

    5) Jonathan Singleton (Phillies). Topps gave him autographs in both Bowman Platinum and Bowman Sterling last year, so why, pray tell, is he yet to have one in here? Go figure that one out and get back to me.

    6) Yorman Rodriguez (Reds). Topps continues to perplex us. He had a retail-exclusive autograph in 2011 Bowman, so where is he here?

    7) Pat Corbin (Diamondbacks). Another one who had an autograph in Bowman Platinum, but nothing since. One of AZ’s best pitchers, he deserved to be included.

    Honorable mentions – Jacob Petricka (White Sox), Matt Szczur (Cubs), Xander Bogearts (Red Sox), Garrett Richards (Angels)

    Here are my personal pros and cons of this product.


    1) I would give the prospect autograph set itself pretty high marks on the whole, although it’s about 7-10 players too large. Save the large autograph checklist for Bowman Draft Picks. I’m hoping there won’t be any redemptions, but we all know that’s impossible. After all, the release date is only four months from now, so who has time, anyway? Highlights include Harper, Thon, Eovaldi, Lollis, Gould, Heredia, Sampson, Colome, Lyles, Colvin, McNutt, Ranaudo, Cole, Ranaudo, Banuelos, Hicks, Marte, Turner and Lawrie. That’s about half of the entire checklist that should sell well, so that’s a fairly good sign. We’re assuming some of the green MLB rookies will have autographs as well, but this time Topps didn’t clue us in who they would be. For all prospectors’ sakes, I sincerely hope Michael Pineda will be one.

    2) I was wishing Topps wouldn’t crank up the presses like they did with 2011 Bowman, and if the serialization is any indication, it seems as though I got my wish. Prospect refractors numbered to 500 and prospect blue refractors numbered to 150 are good things. Naturally Topps won’t clue us in how many veteran refractors were produced (they never have, to date), but I’m reasonably confident this means they aren’t going overboard.

    3) I like the concept of the 10th anniversary 2001 Bowman Chrome reprints. However, whoever came up with the names of their parallels (Microfractors, Fusionfractors, Futurefractors) should be beaten severely. It would have been nice to have seen a sneek peak of what they will look like, though.

    4) The USA 18U autographs. Always been a fan of these. I’m fairly certain they’ll be stickers, though (they were last year). Here’s hoping for a strong crop. I also like the redemptions for a complete set of 18U cards, especially the parallels. While they won’t be as desired as the autographs, it’s a nice addition this year.

    5) The Base prospect set is much stronger than last year’s Bowman Chrome. While I don’t intend to give away the major players, if you Google these names you’ll find some definite potential here. Pay special attention to the last 30 names (191-220).


    1) Reptetition, repetition, repetition. I don’t have enough time (nor the drive) to list all the players who have had previous cards in Bowman Chrome (as well as Bowman and Bowman Draft Picks), but it’s startling. In addition, both Luke Jackson (BCP124 and BCP219) and Randall Delgado (BCP203 and BCP220) have TWO base cards each in here. I certainly hope Topps corrects these errors in particular, but there are other major names (Arcia and Banuelos) as well as minor ones, who have worn out their welcome by appearing in previous Bowman products, and won’t add to the popularity by being in here as well.

    2) Why bring back the Bowman’s Best insert set? And to give Harper another card (green background this time) seems like overkill, no matter how big of a seller he is. Was it popular in Bowman? Sure. But you can’t seriously tell me people were clamoring for it to return here, because I won’t believe you.

    3) I didn’t get it in 2005 Bowman Draft Picks, and I don’t get it here. Why make a second 1 of 1 parallel set with the Canary Diamonds in addition to the Superfractors? And not to include it in the autograph set as well makes even less sense. This parallel might be popular in other Topps products, but I don’t understand their significance in this one.

    Overall, this product is a step up from 2011 Bowman’s somewhat substandard checklist, and I do hope they don’t crank the presses this time around. Not to mention I’m hoping Bryce Harper’s 1st Bowman Chrome Autographs will NOT be redemptions, as his retail-inserted Bowman Autographs were. Keep in mind, folks, this information is all subject to change, and Topps has more than enough time to either improve the product, or screw it up.

    Overall grade = B+.

  7. Brett Bauer 14 June, 2011 at 13:59

    Cynical!! I love it!! Seriously though, everyone is right – the whole RC joke is just messed up now, and True Collectors KNOW that Bryce Harper’s ROOKIE CARD came in 2010 Bowman (the USA card) as it was “Available BY PACK”!! This may be his 1st signed CHROME card, but like the Signed Bowman card from this year = it is just NOT a ROOKIE CARD!!! **As for Value, there are 5 or 6 guys who should become pretty decent players like Banuelos (Yankee P), Melky Mesa, Swaggerty (remember him from the Magic Johnson signed Elite cards), and Brett Lawrie, plus a few other good Prospects!! Unfortunately, there are 30+ unknowns & many unknown USA players (already in last years’/ Topps Chrome and Bowman Chrome sendoffs), and at 1 per Box = just BUY the players you want as we all know the Box Price will be RIDICULUOUS as people chase the $1000 Harper!?! Like “TODD” said above, wait until he “Strassburg’s himself” and the price PLUMMETS so we can all get in… I LOVE Chrome for the Prospecting of RCs I think will be good, but this has gotten way too out of touch with reality ever since the 2007 Chrome release (with Heyward. Price, Bumgarner, Freeman, etc. ROOKIE CARDS – but they have “TRUE” RCs in 208 Chrome because those are SIGNED?!?!? Come on guys, it is up to US to cecide whether we should follow the guidelines we have used for nearly 40 years, or let Bowman tell us “Nope, this Signed card with the Diamonds in it made of Plutonium is his REAL Rookie Card, and it is ONLY $1000… I wil stick to buying High-Grade HOFer cards for that kind of money.,.

  8. Joe 7 July, 2011 at 13:28

    So there will be one Bryce Harper chrome auto in every 18 boxes. you basically have a 5% chance if you get one box

  9. Joe P. 11 July, 2011 at 19:52

    Jaypers (and Brett)-

    I was reading your comments above and it sparked a question. I’ve been collecting since the late 70’s, and I’ve been collecting rookie cards for the past 12 years. As you referenced, it’s now really confusing when trying to decipher what a “true rookie card” is. I’m old-school when it comes to defining a rookie card, but it’s getting harder and harder to figure out.

    I’d be curious to know what your standards are for determining rookie cards. Here are a few questions to get the juices flowing…

    Would you consider the base Razor autos of Hosmer, Wallace, Lawrie, Espinosa, etc true rookie cards?

    Many prospects have their only true rookie in Donruss Elite EE, ie Ackley, Shelby Miller, Kipnis, Profar, Brett Jackson, etc. Would you agree with this?

    Are Machado’s 2010 Bowman Chrome USA and 2010 BDP base cards all true rookies?

    If a player has a base card and an auto in the same set, are they both true rookies?

    If Harper’s true rookie card is the 2010 Bowman Chrome USA card, then does that mean that Rickie Weeks’ true rookie is the 2002 SP Authentic USA Future Watch (not any of the 2003 cards)?

    Any help/guidance would be appreciated…

    Joe P.

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