Got a package in the mail from YakyuShop the other day containing the some of BBM's latest offerings - the Atsuya Furuta Retirement box set and six packs each of this year's Historic Collection set "Back To The 70's" and the Rookie Edition set. The Furuta set and the "Back To The 70's" set have been out for a few months, but the Rookie Edition packs have just hit the stores in the past few weeks.
First the Furuta set. This is a box set of 27 cards commemorating the career of Swallows catcher Atsuya Furuta. BBM has produced a couple of sets like this in the last few years and I normally don't get them, but I've always been a fan of Furuta's so I decided to pick this one up. The folks at YakyuShop tracked one down for me. It was a bit steeper than I'd have liked at $45, but the price was driven up by the possibility of memorabilia cards in the set. (This is NOT a complaint about YakyuShop's price - their price is pretty much in line with BBM's recommended price for the set.) So naturally, I didn't get any of the memorabilia cards in the set, but it's still a nice little set. There's a card showing what I think is a picture from when he was drafted in the 1990 (well, November 1989) draft, cards commemorating his All Star Game MVPs in 1991 and 1992 and the championship teams he played on in 1993, 1995, 1997 and 2001 and a reprint of his 1991 BBM card. There are also cards celebrating the times he appeared on the cover of "Weekly Baseball", reaching 2000 hits, and his final game. There's one card showing him playing positions other than catcher - he's playing first on the front of the card and outfield on the back.
The "Back To The 70's" set showcases retired (OB) players who starred in the 1970's or active players who were born in the 70's. There are 72 cards from each group. I did pretty well with the six packs I got - I got 11 OB players, 12 active players and 4 insert cards to go with only 3 doubles (there were 5 cards in a pack). Of the four insert cards, two were actually serially numbered ones - a "Legend Star" Mitsuru Fujiwara (#88 of 200) and really cool "Photographic Card" of Makoto Matsubara (#55 of 100). The Matsubara card has something like a raised frame around the picture. So basically, the "Back To The 70's" set is a typical Historic Collection set. I'd like them better if they only had OB players, but they're usually pretty cool.
The Rookie Edition set is basically a draft pick set. I'm not really up on how the draft is done in Japan, but it looks like from Deanna Rubin's posts that there's a draft of high school players in October, then college, industrial league and whereever else players in November. (I say "whereever else" because Kazuhito Tadano, one time Cleveland Indian prospect, was drafted by the Fighters this past November. I remember Makoto Suzuki being in the draft a few years back as well. Perhaps it's for previously undrafted Japanese citizens returning from abroad?). Anyway, typically the Rookie Edition set contains cards for the players drafted, cards of somewhat random active players that show pictures of them from their rookie year and cards of the new managers. This year's set appears to be no different. Of the six packs (six cards to a pack) that I got, I got 21 draftee cards, 8 active player cards, 1 new manager card and 1 insert card (an "07 Rookie" card of Takuya Asao) along with 5 doubles (this is BBM, of course). I didn't get a Sho Nakata card, but I did get cards of the other three guys on the card wrapper - Yuki Karakawa, Kohei Hasebe and Yoshinori Satoh. The Rookie Edition set kind of "is-what-it-is". I always like to get a few packs from it, but usually a couple of cards of guys holding holding up a baseball or making a "guts" pose is enough.