1997 Bowman Rookie Cards: World Series Edition!

When Lil’ Wayne was 16 he bought his first Mercedes-Benz, and when I was 8 I bought my first baseball cards: a crisp pack of ’97 Bowman.  A magical summer later (and almost a magical fall, until Edgar Rentaria broke my young Cleveland area-heart) I was hooked on the stuff, this particular set becoming a sentimental favorite.   Throughout the years I have come close to acquiring the complete set (the crown jewel being Jaret Wright’s RC, which I bought for twenty bucks at a card convention the March before the 1998 season*), but stopped when I discovered girls and drugs and D.H. Lawrence and stuff.

*Fun Fact: The Indians turned down a Jaret Wright-Pedro Martinez swap at  the exact moment I made this purchase.

Why am I thinking about this today?  Because when I did collect cards, I used to look at them – a lot – and one card that keeps popping into my head as I watch this World Series is Lance Berkman’s RC, an image I could never shake because of how goofy it is: Berkman, with that trademark boyish smile, leaning on a beat-up white truck (?) in the parking lot (?) of the Astrodome. 

This was a much simpler time in my life, a Wonder Years before all the teenage angst. 

Adrian Beltre’s RC card is somewhere in here too, and, although it’s not as memorable as Fat Elvis, it is charmingly awkward.  (Also, among his “Skills” listed on the back are the “classic wrists” of a future “HR machine”).

 On E-Bay you can get either one in pretty good condition for around 99 cents, while Jaret Wright’s card is gonna cost you at least a cool dollar - ADVANTAGE: Cleveland.

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5 Responses to “1997 Bowman Rookie Cards: World Series Edition!”

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  1. I believe this marks one of the first occasions on which the words “advantage” and “Cleveland” have appeared in print beside each other.

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  2. Kyle says:

    I am smitten with the charming strangeness of that Lance Berkman card.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Berkman and the photographer showed up at the Astrodome during the offseason, only to discover that the doors were all locked and neither of them had a key. “Shit, what do we do now?” Improvise.

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  3. Baseball Splits on Twitter says:

    I’m a bit late to the party here, but I just want to say that 1997 Bowman is still my all-time favorite set. It holds a high sentimental value for me as well — I was 13 and at my baseball card-collecting peak at the time. Plus, it was the year they introduced the awesome “Bowman Chrome” brand. I’m pretty sure I would have been willing to eat only fruits & vegetables for a month straight in exchange for a box of those beauties.

    ’97 ended up being a solid RC class too, especially for guys who carved out fairly long playing careers: Beltre, Berkman, Roy Halladay, Aramis Ramirez, Jayson Werth, Vernon Wells, Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, Milton Bradley, Orlando Cabrera, Adam Kennedy, Ronnie Belliard, Mark Kotsay, Kerry Wood, R.A. Dickey, Javier Vazquez, Kelvim Escobar, Jake Westbrook, Jason Marquis, Jon Garland, Brad Penny (lots of journeyman pitchers!)

    Though there were a few in there who didn’t live up to their lofty expectations: (the aforementioned) Jaret Wright, Travis Lee, Jose Cruz Jr., Hideki Irabu, Kris Benson (#1 overall pick), Kerry Wood (again)

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