Sunday, November 10, 2019

My 1989 Bowman sweepstakes inserts

Back in the day, I didn't even consider these to be baseball cards.  I don't think the terminology was so standardized, and we didn't have much in the way of what are called "inserts" today.  I personally called the advertising/offer cards, such as the red 1987 Topps one that Fuji featured the other day, inserts.  But maybe these from Bowman are actually inserts in both senses.
Jackie Robinson.
Card back.
At the time I was excited when I heard that Topps was reviving the Bowman brand.  I got a factory set of them in 1989, and opened a handful of packs as well.  But I was disappointed with the reality.  The size was problematic, the lack of printed names on the front was problematic, and the stats on the back weren't what I was looking for (although I suppose that it's nice they tried something different).  They fixed the first two of those items for the 1990 edition, moving to standard size and also printing names on the front.
Willie Mays.
These sweepstakes insert cards did a good job showing Bowman's history, I think.  When they released the set, I suspect most collectors (even us kids) knew the basics of Bowman: that they preceded Topps and stopped making cards in the mid-1950s.  But outside of a grainy photo at the top of a column in a price guide, most of us kids collecting back then probably hadn't seen too many Bowmans, and I don't think there were even typically reproductions around.  So these inserts were good in that way, I think.
Richie Ashburn.
Yogi Berra.
Looking at the checklist for these on Trading Card Database, it looks like there were 11 altogether, and they do make a good sampling of the different Bowman sets, including color and black-and-white, photos and drawings.  They don't include any from my favorite, though, the 1955 Bowman "Color TV" set. 
Gil Hodges.
Whitey Ford.
One thing that's striking, as you can see from the six of the eleven cards that I have, is how centered these are on New York.  Of my six cards, I got two Dodgers, a Giant, and two Yankees.  The ones I don't have are two Mickey Mantles, a Satchel Paige, a Duke Snider, and a Ted Williams, so three more New York cards.

As you can see, the sweepstakes is that you can win a set of original Bowman cards, supposedly valued at $10,000.  I'm sure that winning such a prize would have seemed so unlikely to me that it wasn't worth entering.  I'm sure someone must have won, and congratulations to them.

Thanks for reading!


  1. I loved these "inserts" back in the day. There was no way I could add any of those cards to my collection, so they were the next best thing.
    I actually ran into these in the a dollar bin at a card show a little while back. Yep, a dollar for each one of those junk wax sweepstakes inserts cards. The world is a crazy place.

  2. A few months ago I found some of these sweepstakes cards in my collection and flipped them over. I had filled out my name and address on the back, but didn't mail them out. Glad I didn't. It gave me a chance to chuckle at my elementary school penmanship.

  3. The question is do they have any resale value?