2013 Bowman Inception Baseball Review
Each year manufacturers create new brands for collectors. Most of these products are never heard from again (Legends, Rising Rookies, Timeless Treasures Football,) but every once in a while a company hits a home-run and the new product becomes an instant classic. This was the case with Inception, a product that launched in 2011 with Football and immediately became a hit. 2012 was a big success despite it’s major flaws in production (chipping issues galore.) But if Topps knows anything, it’s how to nurture a brand.
Topps resolved the chipping issues and made other subtle improvements to Inception before sharing the brand with its largest audience: Baseball-card collectors. The Inception brand is still a teenager in sports-card years, but partnering it with the mature Bowman brand is genius. That’s like teaming up a HOF veteran with a hot-shot rookie…and it works. The brand recognition of Bowman combined with the sexy aesthetics of Inception is a match made in baseball-card Heaven.
Topps has learned from its Football product and evolved Inception over the past two years. Although the base autograph design (above left) looks very similar to the football design, the gradient is substantially larger providing for an improved (HUGE) signing area. Bowman Black makes an appearance in this set and it doesn’t feel forced…it feels natural since Inception has included black card-stock with silver ink autos since 2011.
Although I love the inclusion of the triple auto, this is the one design that I think took a step back from it’s football counterpart. In the football card version, the card feel like it’s all one design with three “clouds” for the players to sign on. I just thought it looked so cool. In the baseball card version, it feels a little too compartmentalized for Inception.
The four cards above are a grand-slam. Beautiful action imagery, soft-colored-gradient backgrounds, large signing area, and sick patch-autographs. I love the colored short-print parallels in the football product and these look even better in the horizontal design. I expected collectors to buy this product by the pallet, and I was right. Inception doesn’t officially release until tomorrow but excited collectors always find a way to bust boxes early…and it already looks like a hit.
Check these out:
- Oscar Taveras auto /50 — This card looks WAY better than any preview pics above.
- Wil Myers patch auto /35 — Really nice combination of Inception + Bowman design elements.
- Bryce Harper patch auto /10 — You know he’s saying goodbye to a homerun ball here…awesome card.
- Carlos Correa Green auto /25 — The green clouds in the background make this feel so dramatic.
- Yu Darvish patch auto /5 – AWESOME photography. Everything draws the eyes towards the patch & auto.
- Byron Buxton Silver Ink Auto 03/25 — Yeah, these are going to be popular.
Overall, I am an Inception fanboy so this product is a no brainer. Topps has made vast improvements to the already popular Inception brand: they combined Inception with the historic Bowman brand, added veteran patch auto to the checklist, produced some gorgeous new designs, and included popular parallels (colors) and variations (silver ink.) At just $125 per box, you get four (4) on-card autographs and one (1) memorabilia autograph per box. That is CRAZY. In fact, that is probably the biggest improvement over the football card product that included only a couple of autos in a box full of base and event-worn jersey cards. Bowman Inception is giving you FIVE autographs for $125. You’re paying $25 per auto with the chance of pulling some insanely valuable cards. This may be the product that gets me back into collecting baseball.