Saturday, April 24, 2010

BBM Timeline 2002

2002 brought a lot of changes for BBM. They issued their first "Historic Edition" set that was labelled as such - the "All Time Heroes" set. It had 240 cards - 20 per team - which broke down to the current lineup for each team, the "greatest" OB lineup for each team, and a "Memorial Hero" and checklist card for each team. The set also included insert cards for current players ("Big Heroes") and OB players ("Great Heroes") as well as autographs of OB players and a Hiromitsu Ochiai bat card. BBM got the rights to produce a Japan National Team set for the first time - it was a 47 card box set (with possible Yoshinobu Takahashi jersey cards) for the 2001 World Cup team. The Preview set contained 123 cards with a design that was completely different from the regular sets. It had two insert sets - a 4 card "Titleholders" set featuring the 2001 MVP and Rookie Of The Year award winners and a 24 card "Team Leader" set featuring the batting and ERA leaders for each team.

The big change for the year was that BBM split the regular set in two. The first set (1st Version) was 439 cards and contained the subsets (Leaders, Record breakers) that were typical for the previous regular sets. It also included the "Best 9" and "Prime Time Players" insert sets. The second set (2nd Version) was 428 cards and included the "Golden Glove" and "Opening Game" insert sets. There were also silver and gold signature parallel cards for each set and various jersey cards.

I want to stress that unlike 1992 when BBM issued the regular set in two series - the 1st Version and 2nd Version sets are really two distinct sets, although they are numbered consecutively. Each set features 30 players for each team (plus team checklists and manager cards) and there is a substantial overlap of the players in each set. Plus the two sets feature a different design for their "regular" card.

BBM also increased the number of teams that it issued pack based team sets for - in addition to the Giants and Tigers, the Hawks and Buffaloes also had sets. All four sets featured various insert and memorabilia cards - autographs, jersey cards, bat cards and batting glove cards. An additional Tigers team set ("Extra Version") was produced that was roughly identical to the first but with a metallic sheen.

The 67 card boxed All Star set also featured possible bat and signature cards.

BBM replaced the "Diamond Heroes" set with "Touch The Game" - a 213 card set featuring several insert sets and a couple memorabilia inserts - game used balls, bats and windbreakers.

Box sets were issued for both pennant winning teams - the Giants and Lions - featuring (you may be detecting a theme here) possible game used bat or jersey cards. The Nippon Series box set (surprisingly) does not feature any memorabilia cards.

The final set of the year is a 55 card "Legend Of Hideki Matsui" boxed set in honor of Matsui's departure from NPB. The set featured the possibility of an autographed or game used memorabilia card.

As usual, I cribbed a lot of information for this from Gary Engel's "Japanese Baseball Card Checklist And Price Guide". I also swiped the image of the Tuffy Rhodes "Touch The Game" card from Jason's online Tuffy gallery. (And I hope he doesn't mind!)

From top to bottom, that's the 1st and 2nd Version boxes, Koji Akiyama's cards from the Preview (#P77), 1st Version (#229) and 2nd Version (#675) sets, Kodai Sakurai's cards from the Tigers team set (#T68) and Tigers "Extra Version" set (#EX69) and Tuffy Rhodes card from the "Touch The Game" set (#104).

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