Hobby Musings: An appreciation of 1992 and 1998 Bowman Baseball – The other day on Twitter, GoGTS Live’s own Rob Bertrand and I got into a not-so-heated debate. Rob tweeted out that he couldn’t stand 1992 Bowman Bowman. Being an enjoyer of that set, I had to reply to him with my disagreement. As of this writing, our debate for the product’s merits is still ongoing.
1992 Bowman was a set that got a boost in the late 1990s and early 2000s thanks to the stardom of Manny Ramirez. Besides including his most notable rookie card, the set was also known in the hobby community for Mike Piazza’s rookie. It’s also received an extra boost in the past few years because Mariano Rivera’s only rookie card is in the set.
One of the amusing aspects of 1992 Bowman though is the attire of many of the prospects in the set. Rivera in particular is wearing an unconventional polo shirt and khakis in his picture. He looks more like he’s taking a high school senior picture rather than being a Yankees prospect. Another one of the cards that’s always stuck with me from that set is Nigel Wilson. Similar to Rivera, Wilson is wearing clothing that looks like it’s from a formal photoshoot rather than being posed in a baseball uniform.
The cards are pure 90s and while not all of them have aged well, they’ve always seemed to hold a special place with collectors. I’ve always had an affinity for the 1992 Bowman set design itself. Fairly simple with a white border. The gold foil border cards also have a nice look, with the foil popping against the pictures.
While I like 1992 Bowman a lot, it’s not my favorite 1990s Bowman set. That distinction has always belonged to the 1998 set. The first set that I actively chased as a collector, it’s one I remember going to my local hobby shop several times to rip packs. It also holds the distinction for me of being the product I first pulled an autograph out of.
My blue ink, on-card Marc Kroon signature is still in my collection 21 years later and I can’t ever imagine getting rid of it. It’s by no means anywhere near the most significant item in my collection, but it does hold a special place in my collecting heart. I’ve forgotten many things in my life, but I’ll never forget how I felt when I first pulled that card.
My love for the set aside, it’s a product that hasn’t exactly aged well over time. Many of the 90s Bowman sets have rookies for Hall of Famers. 1998 Bowman is one that does not yet have that distinction and is unlikely to do so. The top rookies in the set include former White Sox star Magglio Ordonez, former Angels infielder Troy Glaus and former Phillies infielder Jimmy Rollins. Who knows though? 10 years from now, 1998 Bowman could be home to some Hall of Fame rookie cardboard.
One thing going for 1998 Bowman is the autographs in the checklist. While the base set doesn’t have any Hall of Fame rookies yet, the autograph checklist does have some Cooperstown representation. 2019 member Roy Halladay has an autograph in the checklist. Adrian Beltre also has an autograph in the checklist, and he’s likely to join Halladay in Cooperstown. In addition to them, Nomar Garciaparra and Todd Helton are also represented in the autograph checklist.
It’s not one of the sexiest sets in the annals of Bowman history, but it’s one that will always be important to me nevertheless. I feel like every collector has that one set that’s near and dear to them for one reason or another. It may be the set from their birth year or a set they collected with their parents. The reason is honestly irrelevant so long as it’s a set that you enjoy. For now, my 1998 Bowman cards sit in a binder. Every once in a while, I like to look through them and recall all of the great memories I had chasing down the set. I hope it’s something that all of you are able to do with a treasured set of your own.
Hobby Musings: An appreciation of 1992 and 1998 Bowman Baseball – Image Gallery
For more Hobby Musings from Kelsey Schroyer, follow him on Twitter @KelSchroy75.