Tuesday, September 28, 2010
BBM Timeline 2004
BBM started their 2004 year with the now annual "Historic Edition" set - this year featuring pitchers in a set called "Golden Arm". It contained 144 cards split between 72 cards of active players and 72 cards of OB players. There were two 12 card insert sets - "Super Arm" featuring active pitchers and "Great Arm" featuring OB pitchers. There were also autograph and undershirt memorabilia cards available.
The Rookie Edition set returned for a second year. The set was shortened to 121 cards with only 71 cards for picks from the fall 2003 draft (the remaining cards were again active players shown in their rookie seasons and "Rookie Year Reports" for one 2003 rookie per team plus two checklist cards). There was again a facsimile autograph parallel issue, a 21 card insert set featuring former Rookies Of The Year and two possible ball memorabilia cards featuring the 2003 Rookies Of The Year (Hiroshi Kisanuki and Tsuyoshi Wada).
To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of professional baseball in Japan, BBM issued a 48 card box set. I've gone on at length about this set in the past, so I won't say much more about it here other than it's pretty much a rehash of the 2002 All Time Heroes set and it celebrates 70 years of baseball by leaving out the most significant player.
Once again, the "regular" set was issued as 1st and 2nd Version sets which were roughly the same size. The 1st Version set was 440 cards with insert sets for Best 9 and Golden Glove as well as one for players from the 2003 Asian Championship team. The 2nd Version set contained 412 cards plus insert sets for the pitchers and cleanup hitters in the Opening Day lineups for each team, Newcomers and Team Captains. Both sets again featured the facsimile autograph parallel issues and various jersey memorabilia cards. Once again, BBM issued boxes of "Light Packs" for the sets which featured the "Kira" parallel issue and MVP inserts.
The "Touch The Game" set was issued with 146 cards along with a serial numbered parallel issue. As always, there were a boatload of memorabilia cards available, including parts of baseballs, Hisashi Iwakuma's windbreaker, Koji Uehara's undershirt, Nobuhiko Matsunaka's jersey, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami's bat, Munenori Kawasaki's spikes and Norihiro Akahoshi's stockings.
The annual All Star game set was a 65 card box set. It featured possible serially number parallel versions for the players who were selected by the fans as well as the "Number 1 Vote Getter" (which means that the number one vote getter - Kenji Johjima - had two different serially number parallel cards in the set).
For the first time, BBM issued pack based team sets for all 12 teams. The sets were either 96 or 99 cards in size and featured the usual array of facsimile autograph or "kira" parallel issues, insert sets and memorabilia cards. In addition, BBM also issued a 15 card Giants team set that was given away to subscribers of the Daily Yomiuri newspaper.
The big news of the 2004 season was that Kintetsu was selling the Buffaloes to Orix who would merge the two teams together after the season. BBM produced a 56 card Kintetsu Memorial box set that included possible autograph, jersey, windbreaker, bat, batting glove and spikes cards.
As the Giants were the first professional team in Japan, the 70th Anniversary of pro baseball was also the 70th Anniversary of the Giants. BBM issued their first team anniversary set to celebrate. The pack based set contained 104 cards featuring Giants greats from the past as well as the current team. The set also included insert sets for "Giants Heroes", "All Time Best 9" plus serially numbered photo cards and a Nagashima special set. There were also possible autograph cards (like this one of Kazuhiro Yamakura):
As usual, the Central League Champion (the Dragons) was commemorated with a box set. The Dragons set contained 44 cards including possible "pitching rubber" or "home plate" memorabila cards. The Pacific League introduced a playoff system in 2004 which resulted in BBM issuing a box set containing cards for all three teams (the Fighters, the Hawks and the Lions) in the playoffs. The set contained 57 cards - 16 cards for each team's players and manager plus three "season highlight" cards for each team. Surprisingly, there were no insert or memorabilia cards associated with the set. As usual, BBM issued a box set in honor of the Nippon Series (the Lions defeated the Dragons). The set contained 63 cards with possible parallel versions of the Series MVP card (Takashi Ishii).
A box set commemorating Senichi Hoshino, who had retired as Tigers manager abruptly the previous off season due to health issues, was released. The 45 card set included possible facsimile autograph, photo, film or ball cards.
The final set for 2004 was a high end "Carp Expert" box set. The set contained 35 cards - five cards each of seven different players - Hiroki Kuroda, Shinji Sasaoka, Kenjiro Nomura, Shigenobu Shima, Takuya Kimura, Tomonori Maeda, and Koichi Ogata. Each set contained a possible memorabilia or autograph card.
(As always, Gary Engel's "Japanese Baseball Card Checklist And Price Guide" was invaluable in putting this information together.)
From top to bottom, that's the 1st and 2nd Version boxes, the Baystars team set box, a Giants 70th Anniversary wrapper and the Pacific League Playoff set box.