I went to the hobby store to get some supplies and saw that 2007 Bowman's Best is out. It looks pretty nice but is 90 bucks for a mini box. Gonna have to pass on that. Up on the shelf though was a dusty old pack of 1996 Bowman's best for only three bucks. Now that's more my speed. There's no autographs or relics, and the best cards are Atomic refractor inserts that I think I might already have, but hey who needs all those bells and whistles. Let's open this purple pack.
13 Frank Thomas
57 Jose Canseco
73 Matt Williams
132 Edgard Velazquez
167 Steve Gibralter
154 Luis Castillo
Frank Thomas right off the bat is not shabby at all. I can't pull a White Sox card anymore without thinking about Sox or No Sox. Unfortunately Big hurt is immediately followed by a trap card. A good trap card though, which is going straight into Mario's trade pile. Matt Williams makes this pack three-for-three on mid 90's star cards in the Veteran half of the pack, although the shine has really faded on everyone but Frank. The rookies get silver backgrounds instead of yellow. First up is Edgard Velazquez, better known as Edgard Clemente. He wasn't quite the player his uncle Roberto was and only had one full year with the Rockies. I remember Steve Gibralter was another hot prospect at the time, and he ended up playing 6 games for the Reds before banging around in the minors until 2001. The last card in the pack is a decent rookie though. Luis Castillo is one of the big rookies in this set along with Mike Sweeney, Geoff Jenkins and Carlos Guillen. Ok, so 1996 wasn't the greatest year for rookies.
The backs are pretty neat, Topps once again tried to incorporate some innovative stats on their off-brand cards and we have the Bowman's Best Stat-Scan. The rookie cards are separated into Class A, AA and AAA stats so you can follow the progression, but this means that the veterans have their career stats hacked up into three different chunks. This is the first time I can recall seeing the Home Runs per At Bat stat on the back of a card before. I wish I had pulled a pitcher so I could see their stats. This pack reminded me of two things from 1996: These cards thankfully do not have the stupid "Protective Film" that is found on Finest cards. Unfortunately I was also reminded that these cards have a weird greasy film on them. I bought several packs of this stuff back in '96 and pulled a couple of sweet inserts. No autos or gamers, but feast your eyes on this little gem out of the Cardboard Junkie's vaults:
Awwww Yeah! Die cut baby! NucularCrazyFractor! There ain't no die cuts in 2007 Bowman's Best! If Steve wasn't jealous before, I know he is now.