Card of the Day: 1997 Bowman’s Best International Preview Atomic Refractor Mariano Rivera

Refractors are a beautiful thing. In their basic form the refractor coating on the card catches the light in a certain way, and suddenly every man has an appreciation for the colors of the rainbow. OK, that’s a little fru-fru, but you know it’s true. Refractors look awesome. But in 1997 the Topps company started a new refractor, the Atomic Refractor, something very similar to today’s X-Fractor.

Look at the above Rivera and tell me you do not think it is one of the better looking cards you’ve ever seen. I’m a Red Sox fan and even I have to admit that this Mariano Rivera cards is one of my favorite cards of all time. And if you think the scan looks good, you should see it in person.

I was not a huge fan of the base 1997 Bowman’s Best design. It was a little dull for me. It was almost like the cards should have been produced from one of those robot baseball games from the early 1990s. But I did like the International version very much. I think the addition of the flag of the player’s home country adds a lot. And then when you brighten the card up with the refractor technology it adds a whole new element. The colors of the flag become vibrant, and the metal-like dullness of the regular Bowman’s Best card turns into a shiny surface.

I’m not entirely sure why Topps ditched the Atomic design, but I kind of like it better than it’s very similar X-Fractor sibling.

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