July 25, 2008

1948-1979 Countdown: #37. 1950 Bowman

These rankings appear a bit random, don't they? Like, who in their right mind would list this set so low? And lower than 1973 Topps? Is this some kind of joke?

No, it's not a joke. 1950 Bowman may have nice artwork and no words on the front (propelling the Bowman Mystique), but the checklist is missing Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial and, for the era, has a relatively weak rookie class (lead by Don Newcombe, Ozark Ike, and Roy Sievers). And in a few instances, Bowman used the same artwork better in another set (case in point, the same shot of Ted Williams was used much more effectively in the long rectangle format of the following year).

This was the only year when Bowman was the only game in town, and they didn't disappoint. It was the largest checklist the company had ever done, the cards are nice to look at and though the rookie class isn't spectacular, there are a host of stars from the Fifties who make their first cardboard appearance.

Best of the Set
The checklist has a whole handful of established stars, including Ted Williams (his first with Bowman), Jackie Robinson, Warren Spahn, Bob Feller, and Roy Campanella. But for my money (and I don't have enough to afford this set), I'm going with Yogi Berra (#46). Those post-war sets liked to show catchers in mid-motion, decked out in their gear and pads, and gazing skyward for a pretend foul pop.

And though Yogi's still padded up, his action looks and feels much more natural. It's a much different version of the star, one that's almost all but forgotten: No Nonsense Berra (as opposed to Whimsical, Fun-Loving Yogi). Needless to say, this card would make a terrific poster. And for some reason it reminds me of this painting.

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