Feb 8, 2011
Junior High Countdown: 28. 1993 Bowman
With the retirement of Andy Pettitte this week, it's only appropriate to detail the one set that had his true rookie card (you may now swoon), 1993 Bowman.
Issued in a one series 708 card set, coming in a 24 pack box with 15 cards per pack. One of these cards per pack was one of 48 foil cards (included in the base set). I believe the suggested retail price at the time was $1.99 per pack. Today, you can find a box for between $35-45 if you shop around.
Printed on white, glossy card stock, the front had a white bordered photo with the Bowman logo at the upper right corner with the player's name ghosted in white in the lower left corner. The back for rookies and prospects had a second photo with a paragraph about the player and minor league career stats. The back for veterans had a second photo with a team by team breakdown table of performance for the 1992 season. The foil cards had rainbowish borders and highlighted different subsets on the back such as "Player of the Year" or "Top Prospect".
There were many, many, many. Key rookies through the years have been identified as Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jason Kendall, JT Snow, Roger Cedeno, Jose Vidro, Marty Cordova, Preston Wilson, James Baldwin. I even remember getting excited for pulling a Matt Walbeck rookie from a pack, so the rookie card hysteria is ingrained with the brand.
There were no insert sets as defined traditionally in '90s baseball card collectible sets.
What keeps this set going now is the inclusion of the Jeter and Pettitte rookies. As a follow-up to the wildly successful 1992 Bowman, it utilized the same formula and almost looks similar enough to be confused with its forebearer without some close inspection. However, as is mostly the case, what follows a huge success is a huge overprinting, so in this case, it falls short of the previous year's release and is much easier to find. From 1996 to today, box prices have not changed that much, suggesting a steady supply to this point. It was still the brand with the "Home of the Rookie Card" and demonstrated that. If the rookie class had more impact rookies, the impact would have been larger.
1993 Bowman is a set that is remarkable in that it's place has been known for many years and is likely to stay that way. The rookie cards drive the set and yet, the set itself is affordable, but difficult to complete because of its size and configuration. The Jeter rookie is not the best one out there from a mainstream set, but it is a cut above the base brand ones from that year. Having the only rookie of a borderline HOF like Pettitte, a Yankee favorite, also helps the set identity. In the end, there is a lot to like about 1993 Bowman, but its far-reaching impact to future sets is minimal since the brand of Bowman was really established for the modern era by 1992.