My Bowman's Best Collection (Updated December 26th, 2021)
1995 Bowman's Best: “Bobby Houston” #50
1995 Bowman's Best: “Bobby Houston” #50 (Back)
1998 Bowman's Best: “Andre Wadsworth” #108
2000 Bowman's Best: “Brandon Short” RC #144
2000 Bowman's Best: “Brian Urlacher” Autograph #BU
Just like its flagship title, I wasn't impressed with Bowman's Best when I first saw it. The '95 set wasn't a bad design, It was actually a high quality set. Many card manufacturers used that Tech-Chrome look that the '95 set used, but I'm just not a fan of it. (See the 1995 Bowman's Best "Bobby Houston" #50 top left). Also, I'm a fan of stats and the '95 set didn't have any on the back of their cards. That was probably a decision made among the design leads, but I don't like when stats are left off. With that being said, they did use the back of the card accordingly, unlike Collector's Edge, (See the back of the 1995 Bowman's Best "Bobby Houston" #50 on left).
I always looked at Bowman's Best as a kind of "Bowman Chrome" type series. The cards were not exact duplicates as the Bowman series, but the Bowman's Best series card, as I stated above, had that Tech-Chrome look. The '96 series, in my opinion, really showed that, ( See the 1996 Bowman's Best “Lamar Lathon” #94 right). However, one thing that the Bowman team did do in '96, was bring back stats for the card backs. Also, the 1996 series had some really neat insert sets as well. Well worth the time to collect.
In '97, I thought the series took a turn for the better, I liked the front-side card design so much more than the previous 2 years. I'm a fan of the action photo, (even though it did run its course thru the 90s. Every card manufacturer had action shots on their cards.), and even though the '97 set still had the Chrome-look, it was still very nice, (See the 1997 Bowman's Best “Kevin Lockett” #103 RC right).
In '97 Bowman's Best added autographs to its list of insert sets. Since Proline introduced the hobby to certified autographs back in 1991, every card manufacturer has been scrambling to add autos to its portfolio. Bowman wasn't any different and in 1997 they added a 10-card set to its release. The cards didn't have a good spot for the players to sign and I was always concerned with signatures fading, but they were an attractive addition, regardless. (See the 1997 Bowman's Best “Jim Harbaugh” Autograph #47 below).
Unfortunately, my one-year up-tick towards Bowman's Best was just that, one year. I thought the '98 set was terrible. The backs were fine, but the card front was a waste of time. It didn't reach Collector's Edge status, but it was bad nonetheless. The player's image pasted on top of lines radiating from the center just looked dumb, in my opinion, (See the 1998 Bowman's Best "Andre Wadsworth" #108 left). And not only that, but it was a wimpy 125-card set. Ugh.
The '99 release of Bowman's Best was nice. I liked the design, the cards still maintained that high-quality look and feel, (See the 1999 Bowman's Best "Bert Emanuel" #78 right). The '99 release also carried with it a huge number of insert sets for the collector; according to my count, 11 in all. That's a pretty sizable number. That would keep the above-average collector going for a couple years.
The 2000 release of Bowman's Best was a nice comeback. The design was cool and the cards still maintained that high-quality look and feel, (See the 2000 Bowman's Best "Brandon Short" RC #144 left). The 2000 release also upped their card count to 150, which is always a plus. But the best thing about the 2000 release was the autograph set. This odd-numbered 21-card set, (I always think it's odd when card sets are 21 or 17 cards), had an extremely cool look to them. They were definitely the high-point of this release, (See the 2000 Bowman's Best: "Brian Urlacher" Autograph #BU below left).
1996 Bowman's Best: “Lamar Lathon” #94
1997 Bowman's Best: “Kevin Lockett” #103 RC
1997 Bowman's Best: “Jim Harbaugh” Autograph #47
1999 Bowman's Best: “Bert Emanuel” #78
By 2001 the Bowman's Best title had 6 years under it's belt and I would have to say that it had a very good following. Obviously, collectors liked the tech-Chrome look that the Bowman's Best release provided. In 2001, that look continued and the cards were again, high quality that collectors came to expect. I liked the 2001 release of Bowman's Best. The one thing I did not like; there were 100 cards to the base set; 2 of those were of defensive players. One of those 2 being the Ray Lewis card on the left, (See the 2001 Bowman's Best "Ray Lewis" #16 left). That is not good. Obviously, Bowman's Best thought it was more important to carry Tony Banks in its set than the 2000 Defensive Rookie of the year. Can you name the other defensive player in the 2001 Bowman's Best base card set?
2001 Bowman's Best: “Ray Lewis” #16
I have complete sets:
Bowman's Best Series:
1) 1995 Bowman's Best Set
A) Mirror Images Draft Picks Insert
B) Mirror Images Draft Picks Refractor Insert
2) 1996 Bowman's Best Set
A) Best Bet's Insert
B) Best Cuts Insert
C) Best Mirror Images Insert
3) 1997 Bowman's Best Set
A) Autographs Insert
B) Best Cuts Insert
C) Mirror Images Insert
4) 1998 Bowman's Best Set
A) Performer's Insert
B) Autographs Insert - Incomplete ( 17 / 22 )
C) Mirror Image Fusion Insert
5) 1999 Bowman's Best Set
A) Legacy Insert
B) Honor Roll Insert
C) Franchise Best Insert
D) Franchise Favorites Insert
E) Future Foundations Insert
F) Rookie Locker Room jerseys Insert
G) Rookie Locker Room Autographs Insert
H) Autographs Insert - Incomplete ( 2 / 3 )
I) Legacy Autographs Insert
6) 2000 Bowman's Best Set
A) Autographs Insert - Incomplete ( 17 / 21 )
B) Best of The Game Autographs Insert
C) Best Bets Insert
D) Franchise 2000 Insert
E) Year by Year Insert
7) 2001 Bowman's Best Set - Incomplete ( 120 / 170)
A) Autograph Insert - Incomplete ( 1 / 34 )
B) Impact Players Insert
C) Vintage Best Insert
8) 2002 Bowman's Best Set - Incomplete (169 / 170)
A) Bowman's Best (Gold - Parallel) - Incomplete (5 / 170)
Bowman Promo Sets:
1) 1999 Bowman's Best Promos
2) 2000 Bowman's Best Promos