Saturday, March 5, 2011

HOF Bowman Vintage, or Is that Pee Wee on My Woodgrain TV?

I showed off some of my Bowman vintage in a previous post. Here's the rest of my collection:

It's the 1955 Bowman woodgrain TV set. There's something so great about this set. Nothing says retro like the TV frame featured here. It's probably the most recognizable and memorable vintage Bowman set. It may be a bit cheesey to some, but you have to admit to the design's staying power. I wish Topps would take risks like this these days.

The condition here is super rough. Definitely my most beat-up card in a top-loader. But who could pass up on this card for a few bucks? If you're going to have one card from this set, you could do a lot worse.

And from the 1954 Bowman set, here's Hoyt. I snagged this one on Ebay, also for a few bucks. I love this card, but this was one of the weaker designs, to me, of the early Bowman sets. I like the way the signatures are so clear, but the big blocks of color in the corner look clunky, out-of-place, almost like a sticker auto nowadays. It's also a very headshot-laden set--not my favorite pose for cards. Both of these cards are jumbo-sized, too. Bowman really played around a lot with their cards sizes. Pee Wee barely fits in a regular top loader.

It's great to have Hoyt in my collection. I just realized today, when I was looking over his career stats, that he pitched 21 seasons. He was fifty when he retired. Granted, he started when he was 30. There aren't many Hoyts and Jamie Moyers out there. Jamie has 24 seasons down, is 48, but a big difference is that he debuted at the age of 24. Think about how young they debut pitchers now. By the way, all of these stats are from Baseball Reference--a great website you're probably all aware of. I have to cite my sources like I make my students do.

Well, I'm close to having one card from each vintage Bowman set. Still missing one from 1948 and 1953. 1953 has one of the coolest card ever made in the set. I wish I had this Pee Wee Reese card:


  1. Before you even mentioned it, as I was reading this post I thought "what if they had made cards like the TV design in more recent sets?" and came up with a few thoughts. '75 Topps kind of defines that decade with the colors, but that's really about it. Where are the computer-styled cards? A card that looks like an iPod or TV remote? We've had cards on CDs, but what about CD-design cards (I recall some Ultra insert set like that)? Or records, cassette tapes? Webcam? Pacific Online cards were a small step in a generation-defining design. But they weren't good looking.

  2. I like the idea, but I just don't know if our modern technology would survive to become as classy or if it would just kind of be forgotten as a gimmick, like the CD cards.

    Still, designers should risk it. Indeed, what is the modern equivalent to the woodgrain TV? I think it may have to do with how we mostly watch baseball now. Would it transfer to a good card design?

  3. Upper Deck had a subset or something about 3 or 4 years ago -- an update set -- in which the photos were on a cell phone design. That's the closest thing that I can think of that would be today's Bowman TV set set. But they didn't look good.

    You're not alone in wanting the Pee Wee Reese '53 Bowman card. It might be the best card of all-time.