Tuesday, September 17, 2013

RIP BBM All Star Set Part Two

Continuing my review of the until this year perennial All Star box set from BBM...

Some changes were in effect for the eleventh edition of the set in 2001.  The biggest change was that instead of the regular cards having a design that resembled the "flagship" set, they would have a whole new design that was completely unrelated to the "flagship".  The other change is that for the first time since 1995 there would be no oversized cards included with the set.  The All Star rosters grew to 32 for each team so there were 70 "regular" card (when you included the managers and coaches).  BBM also included another five cards in the set - a "Number One Vote Getter" card for Hideki Matsui, a card showing the MVPs for all three of the All Star games from 2000, two cards celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first All Star game in 1951 (one showing the team from each league), and an odd two-sided card with Hideki Matsui on one side and Alex Cabrera on the other.  This pushed the number of cards in the set to 75, the largest yet.

2001 BBM All Stars #A71

2001 BBM All Stars #A73

2001 BBM All Stars #A42
The big innovation for the 2002 set was that for the first time BBM included random memorabilia cards.  There were rare versions of each of the three 2001 MVP cards - 500 possible Roberto Petagine bat cards, 40 possible Kazuo Matsui autographed cards and 10 possible Norihiro Nakamura autographed cards.  The more common version of each card had a facsimile autograph in for the Matsui and Nakamura cards and a picture of a piece of wood for the Petagine card.  Once again the set featured a card of the "Number One Vote Getter" (Hideki Matsui again).  The rosters dropped to 28 again (and the Pacific League had an extra player this time) so there were 63 "regular" cards to go with the other four for a total of 67 cards in the set.

2002 BBM All Stars #A65 (Not the real bat)

2002 BBM All Stars #A48
The 2003 set also included possible memorabilia cards.  Each set included some form of signed cards for Tuffy Rhodes and Makoto Imaoka.  The "regular" version just had a simple facsimile autograph.  There were also a set of facsimile autograph cards that were serially numbered to 300 for each player.  Lastly, there were 50 cards for each player that were actually signed by the player.  These cards were not the "regular" cards for the two - they weren't even numbered as part of the set.  The team rosters were 28 again but once again one of the teams (the CL this time) had an extra player for some reason.  Since the 2002 All Star series only had two games, there was only two MVP cards along with another "Number One Vote Getter" card (Imaoka).  All this added up to 68 cards in the set.

2003 BBM All Stars #TR

2003 BBM All Stars #A4
The 2004 through 2009 sets are all very similar.  In addition to the "regular" cards (62 in each set except 2007 which had 66), each set had a card for the "Number One Vote Getter" and the MVPs of the two All Star games from the previous year (so each set was 65 cards except 2007 which was 69).  The big innovation in the sets was the addition of a parallel version of the "Fan Selected" cards - 100 serially numbered versions of the card of each of the "Fan Selected" players on the teams - the text on the front of each card was gold instead of just black text. (NOTE - I don't know for sure if the 2009 set has them.)  Starting with the 2008 set a graphic was added to each card indicating if it was the player's first All Star appearance.

Sanyo stopped sponsoring the All Star games after 2006.  Gulliver was the 2007 sponsor after which Mazda picked it up.

Oddly, BBM's logo does not appear on the front of the cards after 2003.

2004 BBM All Stars #A65

2004 BBM All Stars #A41 (Parallel Version)

2005 BBM All Stars #A65

2005 BBM All Stars #A24

2006 BBM All Stars #A63

2006 BBM All Stars #A06 (Parallel Version)

2007 BBM All Stars #A67

2007 BBM All Stars #A50

2008 BBM All Stars #A64

2008 BBM All Stars #A46

2009 BBM All Stars #A65

2009 BBM All Stars #A60
BBM had a big new idea for the 2010 set.  All the sets previously were released in mid to late July, to coincide with the actual All Star games.  The pictures were all just random shots of the players taken during the season.  In 2010, BBM decided that they would delay the release of the set until late August so that they could use pictures taken during the All Star games themselves (kind of like how for the Nippon Series sets they use pictures from the Series itself).  They also decided to have possible memorabilia cards in this set - there's a version of the "Number One Vote Getter" and MVPs cards that contain a piece of a ball.  (Not sure how many of the memorabilia cards were available.)  The more common, non-memorabilia version of the card was labeled a "Non-Ball" card.  The MVPs were the ones from the 2010 All Star games, so the MVPs from the 2009 games were never commemorated in a set.  The set contained 67 cards in all.

2010 BBM All Stars #A67

2004 BBM All Stars #A59
More changes were in store for the 2011 set.  As with 2010, the set featured photos taken during the 2011 All Star games (three for the first time since 2001).  The All Star rosters grew to 32 so there were 70 "regular" cards in the set.  There were cards for the MVPs of the three games but there was no card for the "Number One Vote Getter" for the first time since 1999.  (I don't know if there were any parallel or memorabilia cards available in the sets.)  BBM decided that they didn't have enough icons on the cards so they added new ones to indicate if a player had been voted in via the payer vote or the "+1" vote.

2011 BBM All Stars #A73

2011 BBM All Stars #A66
For what apparently was BBM's final All Star set in 2012, BBM kind of went back to the basics of the first few sets.  The set only contained the 70 player cards - no subsets of the game MVPs, no "Number One Vote Getter" card, no nothing.  BBM indicated the MVP winners by putting yet another icon on the player's card.  Like the 2011 set, I don't know if there were any parallel or memorabilia cards available.

2012 BBM All Star Game #A33

2012 BBM All Star Game #A39
I have mixed feelings about BBM ending this set.  On the one hand, it was an easy set to pick up if you just wanted to get a sense who some of the top players in Japan were.  Since there's only six teams in each league and they play two to three games, there's a lot less chance that a good player is going to get snubbed the way it happens in the US.  On the other hand, there's also a lot of guys who aren't necessarily the top tier who end up making the team as well for the same reason (I'm looking at you Yu-Chan).  And I have to say that some of the designs in the past 12 years have been remarkably ugly.  I think I will miss the set, but if BBM chooses to end the annual Nippon Series set as well, I will miss that set much more.

I want to credit the 7th Edition of Gary Engel's "Japanese Baseball Cards Checklist And Price Guide" for help with information about the 1991 to 2007 editions of the set.

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