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2005 Bowman was a baseball card set released by Topps. It would be the last of the traditional Bowman releases before the new rookie cards rules went into effect. Alex Rodriguez had just signed a Topps exclusive deal and was featured prominently in this set.


The product was released in retail, hobby and HTA jumbo boxes. The standard hobby boxes (as shown below) have two AU/GU hits per box. The HTA jumbo boxes had 4 GU or AU per box including an autographed box topper. These boxes are still relatively easy to find (and afford) in both card shops and online.

Base Set

Base Set Checklist and Gallery

The 2005 Bowman set had three different types of cards included in their base set. Numbers 1-140 featured veteran players and were trimmed in red. Numbers 141-165 featured prospects who already had a card in Bowman and were trimmed in green. Numbers 166-330 were all First Year players (trimmed in blue) and rookies except for 242 Pat Osborn, 244 Shaun Marcum and 321 Ben Harrison, who were on their first Bowman card but already had another rookie card.

There are a number of cards in the set that share photographs with other Bowman releases.

Key Cards

The rookie class in the 2005 set is highlighted Ian Kinsler, Justin Verlander, Melky Cabrera, Andy LaRoche, Russ Martin, Matt Kemp, Billy Butler, Chuck James, Carlos Gonzalez, and Chris B Young

The players who were originally the top prospects in the set were Justin Verlander, Andy LaRoche, Brandon McCarthy, Matt Kemp, Billy Butler, Buck Coats, Chuck James, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris B. Young, and Ryan Garko


Base Parallel Sets

Four different full parallel sets of 2005 Bowman were produced. The 1st Edition set was actually released in seperate packs than the standard Bowman cards. However, no inserts were included in those packs and the boxes were distributed to hobby dealers only.

Overall parallel insert rate into hobby, HTA and retail packs was 1:1. The Gold paralllels were distributed into all packs and were not serial numbered. The Red and White parallels were available in hobby and HTA packs only.

The Red parallels are all serial numbered 1/1 and were inserted at 1:2768 Hobby and 1:708 HTA and are by far the most rare cards in this set. As you can see in the picture, the border of these cards is not the same red as used in the Chrome Refractor sets. It is much more muted, but is still easy to distinguish from the other parallels.

The White parallels were distributed very differently from the Red and Gold. Each card was serial numbered to 240, but only half of the print run was inserted into packs at a rate of 1:23 Hobby and 1:6 HTA. The rest were packed out as exchange cards to the at a rate of 1:94 hobby and 1:23 Retail. 4 random cards were assigned to be redeemed with each exchange card and the deadline was 12/31/2005 to exchange these cards.

Alex Rodriguez Cards

Base Inserts

As Alex Rodriguez had just signed an exclusive deal with Topps, he was put front and center in many products in 2005. The first group of cards was a series of "Cards That Never Were", Bowman cards of his that would have been produced if he had not been signed exclusively with Upper Deck. These cards were inserted at a rate of 1:12 hobby packs.

A-Rod Jersey Cards

  • 1994 - 1
  • 1995 - 25
  • 1996 - 90
  • 1997 - 800

A-Rod Autographs

Extremely rare and carry high value.

Insert Sets

2005 Bowman continued the tradition of autographed insert cards and the other inserts that had become standard issues for the last few years.

Veteran Game Used Relics

Chavez Jersey

Veteran Relics Checklist and Gallery

A partial parallel set of 2005 Bowman featuring swatches of game used jerseys and bats. Inserted at the following rates 1:50 Hobby, 1:19 HTA Jumbo, and 1:114 Retail. None of the cards are short printed.

Some of the card fronts feature different pictures than the base set while others the identical one as the base set. The cards are printed on the thicker stock used for the GU and parallel cards. Topps has never stated if any of the jersey pieces are prime, thus any prime jersey cards found on the secondary market should be met with skepticism.


These autographs cards are a partial parallel set of 2005 Bowman of numbers 141-165. The group of prospects (who were not rookies in this set) all signed a number of cards for insertion into packs and as box toppers in the HTA jumbo boxes. The autographs are actually signed on the card, unlike the Signs of the Future set from the same year. The card fronts and backs are identical to the base card, except the additional of a COA hologram on the back and a signature on the front in blue or red ink. The red inked autographs are not serial numbered but Topps has stated the print run was 25 cards. Note that the Group A cards are slightly easier to pull than the Group B cards.

David Aardsma did return his cards before the cards were shipped, thus his card was inserted as an exchange card that could be redeemed unitl 05/31/2007.

The players from this set that are currently highest in demand are Phillip Hughes and Felix Hernandez.

Signs of the Future

SOTF Checklist and Gallery

SOTF Example

Once again a Signs of the Future insert set made its way into 2005 Bowman. The cards feature a major prospect or rookie and their autograph on a sticker on the front of the card. These cards were inserted at 4 different rates depending on which group the autographs were in. Overall insertion odds were 1:62 hobby, 1:25 HTA Jumbo Packs and 1:142 retail packs.

The lone short print in the set is the David Wright card. According to Topps only 100 copies were produced but the cards were not serial numbered. Brad Snyder did not return his stickers in time and thus a redemption card was packed out instead. The exchange deadline was 05/31/07 (as with all other 2005 Bowman exchange cards).

Futures Game Used

Futures Game Used Checklist and Gallery

These cards feature game used jersey swatches from the 2004 Futures Game, played during the All-Star break, prior to the major league All-Star Game. Thus, it should should be noted that these jerseys are unique from that particular event. The cards were inserted 1:36 Hobby, 1:19 HTA Jumbo and 1:114 Retail.

These cards are easily confused with the 2005 Bowman Draft Futures Game Relics without a picture. The key is that the 2005 Bowman Draft Picks Futures Game Relics are parallels of the main set, while the 2005 regular Bowman ones are a unique insert set featuring pictures on the players while wearing the jersey pieces. Also only a couple players are included in both sets.

None of the jersey relics are noted as primes. Caution is suggested if a "prime" jersey peice is spotted one of these cards.

Other Inserts

Besides the two insert sets veteran and Futures Game relics and the Alex Rodriguez Throwbacks, there were two other special game used relics cards that were inserted into packs. The first was a Base of the Future relic featuring a piece of game used base from the Futures Game and an autograph of Aaron Hill, who was the MVP of the game in 2004. This card was inserted 1:106 HTA exclusively with a Red ink parallel version (serial numbered to 25) inserted at 1:4708 HTA packs.

The other card was a dual bat card of Jason Bay and Bobby Crosby, the two Rookies of the Year in 2004. This card was inserted at a rate of 1:668 hobby, 1:248 HTA, and 1:1535 retail. These Rookie of the Year game used cards were an annual insert card in Bowman.

Other Information

Example Box Breaks
Official Topps Release Information

See Also