Friday, April 15, 2011

2011 BBM Hometown Heroes

Got a couple sets in the mail the other day, so I can try to catch up a little on some of the sets that have come out in the last few months. First up is BBM's first 2011 set is the 10th edition of their annual "Historic Collection" set. This year's set is entitled "Hometown Heroes" and it highlights players from each of Japan's 47 prefectures.

As always, there are 144 cards in the set that are split evenly between OB players and active players (72 for each group). Each card has the outline of the prefecture that the player is from on the back and BBM attempted to have a least one OB and one active player from each prefecture in the set. For the active players, there are six cards per team, so BBM had to really had to juggle to get each prefecture represented. As a result, the Lions' backup catcher Tatsuyuki Uemoto ended up being in the set since he is apparently one of the few (if not the only) active player from Yamaguchi Prefecture. And it turns out that there are no active players (or at least there were none in 2010) from Tottori Prefecture. Despite these restrictions, the active players in the set includes the usual suspects - Norichika Aoki, Yu Darvish, Kenta Maeda, Hisashi Iwakuma, Michihiro Ogasawara, T-Okada and Tsuyoshi Nishioka. For obvious reasons there are no gaijin in the set. As usual, the OB players tend to be from the 1970's and later, although there's a couple older players (Tetsuharu Kawakami, Yoshio Yoshida, Shigeru Sugushita) and one from the dawn of professional baseball in Japan (Eiji Swamura). Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nagashima, Isao Harimoto, Koji Yamamoto, Sachio Kinugasa, and Hiromitsu Ochiai are among the other players, along with a number of players who are either currently playing in the US (Kosuke Fukudome, Hideki Matsui, Kei Igawa, Akinori Iwamura, Kenshin Kawakami) or spent a number of years in the US (Masato Yoshii, Kazuhiro Sasaki). (Keep in mind that the set was released in November, so it reflects where player's were last year - when Akinori Iwamura was playing in the US and Tsuyoshi Nishioka wasn't.) As usual, Katsuya Nomura, Choji Murata and Masaichi Kaneda are not in the set.

Here's some sample cards. First, the front and back of Tatsuyuki Uemoto's card (#131) showing the outline of Yamaguchi on the back, followed by that cards of Norichika Aoki (#088), Tatsunori Hara (#011) and Tetsuharu Kawakami (#012), which is the only card in the set with a horizontal format.

It's pretty rare that I get any insert cards along with the sets that I buy but for some reason I got all of them with this one (just the inserts, no memorabilia cards). There are two 12 card insert sets - "Active Stars In Japan" featuring active players (obviously) and "Pride Of The Hometown" featuring OB players. As you probably already assumed, there's one player represented per team (for the OB players, there's a player from Kintetsu rather than Rakuten). Here is the "Active Stars In Japan" card for Seiichi Uchikawa (#AS06) and the "Pride Of The Hometown" card for Hisashi Yamada (#PH11):

There's also a 12 card insert/parallel set that I guess was some sort of card shop premium since it is labelled "Card Shop Special Card". Basically, BBM took 12 cards from the OB part of the set (1 per team but you already knew that) and put a purple tint on the picture, changed the number on the back and put a label on the front. Here's Kazuhiro Kiyohara's regular card (#068) and "Card Shop Special Card" (#CS11):

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