Friday, January 22, 2010

Airbrushed Fridays: 1989 Bowman #65

1989 is the year that Topps revived the Bowman name, and I had high hopes for the set. They tried to remain true to the original Bowman designs by using a non-standard card size, but I think this kept the set from being fully appreciated by kids my age who couldn't quite fit these cards into your standard 9-pocket sheets or even most of the cardboard storage boxes. A lot of the cards that I have seen from this set, past and present, seem to be damaged a little more than you'd expect from something of the junk wax era. The same thing goes for the late-'80s Topps Big sets, which are slightly larger and more flimsy.

Robin Ventura was a star third baseman who won six Gold Gloves and made two All-Star appearances. He was highly touted coming out of college, and while he never reached the level of play someone like Chipper Jones has, he had a very long and successful career. He also foolishly charged the mound and came after Nolan Ryan and became a highlight film staple for decades to follow.

Why did Topps airbrush Robin's photo? The "comeback" set for Bowman was the first widely available major league set that I can recall which included minor league prospects in a major league uniform. However, it seems that Topps either did not have the resources to go and find these guys wearing their hopeful major league caps or they just didn't care. In either case, you end up with a lot of airbrushed cards instead of the awkward high school yearbook photos that adorn some of the Topps draft pick cards of this era.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Ventura almost appears to be in some sort of underwater tank with a limitless expanse, floating about before a background of aquamarine. Something like that, anyway. The cap logo is laughably bad. There's not much else that needs to be said. I do want to state that I don't understand what they were thinking when they developed the card backs. Sure, the color scheme is fine and the card number wouldn't even make Mr. Magoo squint to read. I can't stand the team-by-team breakdown of stats rather than the traditional look, though. I loved Bowman (before it got expensive in 1992) for its minimalist design and break from the traditional player selection, but their card backs were useless. Does anyone need to know how their favorite player fared against the Detroit Tigers last season? Small sample sizes, people! And guys like Robin here are completely ignored if they haven't cracked the majors yet.


NicoLax24 said...

Totally true about the backs of those cards. I have a Tino Martinez rookie from this set that pisses me off because it never fits well into any sleeves, accept maybe a semi-rigid sleeve.

SpastikMooss said...

I completely agree on the Bowman size issue. When I was a kid I hated Bowman for that and gave a lot of the Bowmans to my little brother for just that reason. Luckily I never had anything too awesome!

Also, thanks for the random cards dude! As soon as I get a chance I will throw a post up about them. Totally unexpected and totally awesome!

camclow said...

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or email me at and I'll tell you what I have to trade.