Sunday, March 23, 2014

2014 BBM Brilliant Teenagers

When is a historic set not an historic set?  How about when it contains more active players than retired players.  For the past 10 years or so, each of BBM's annual "Historic Collection" sets have contained 144 cards in the base set that are evenly divided between active players and OB players.  (For the purposes of these sets, "active" players are players who played in NPB the year before the cover date on the cards and "OB" players are either retired or active in some other league than NPB.)  The 2014 edition, entitled "Brilliant Teenagers" is a little heavy on the active players, however, as it has 83 of them as opposed to 61 OB players.

The theme of this year's set is players who debuted in NPB as teenagers.  All the pictures appear to be from a time in which the player was a teenager (so for example the card of Motonobu Tanishige of the Dragons shows him with the Whales in the late 1980's) so the cards are at least historic in that sense.

It's kind of an odd collection of players.  On the one hand, you've got a number of Hall Of Famers and Meikyukai players (or guys towards the end of that spectrum) - Tsuneo Horiuchi, Hideki Matsui, Kazuo Matsui, Yutaka Enatsu, Masayuki Kakefu, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami, Takuro Ishii (as a pitcher!), Manabu Kitabeppu, Akira Etoh, Tomonori Maeda, Kenji Johjima, Yukio Tanaka, Tsutomu Itoh, Kimiyasu Kudoh,  Kazuhiro Kiyohara and Keishi Suzuki.  The active players include a number of big stars like Masahiro Tanaka, Kenta Maeda, Seiichi Uchikawa and Sho Nakata, super-veterans like Masahiro Yamamoto, Norihiro Nakamura, Daisuke Miura and Tanishige as well as a couple players from the 2013 rookie class - Shohei Ohtani and Shintaro Fujinami.  There's also a couple players currently playing in North America - Hisashi Iwakuma and Hiroyuki Nakajima.  On the other hand, there are a number of guys included who had very short careers - Kento Tsujimoto (three years at the ichi-gun level), Tomoya Kawaguchi (three years), Hiroyuki Miura (three years), Shoji Matsumoto (32 games over six seasons) and Kazunori Tanaka (five years and shown in a Shonan Searex - ni-gun team for the Baystars - uniform).  I'm not sure why they were significant enough to be included.  Miura and Matsumoto are appearing on BBM cards for the first time ever - they were the top two picks for the Hankyu Braves in the 1978 draft.

Now that we've covered who's in the set, who's not that should be?  For starters, anyone who debuted in the pre-draft era (before 1965).  BBM apparently decided to make this another Draft Story so the oldest players in the set are Horiuchi and Enatsu.  This leaves out any number of legends who debuted as teenagers including Sadaharu Oh, Katsuya Nomura, Sachio Kinugasa, Tetsuharu Kawakami and Masaichi Kaneda (who debuted with the Swallows in 1950 at age 16!).  Of the draft era players, the omission of Choji Murata stands out (as usual) and Ichiro, Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka all would have been appropriate to have included.

The cards themselves are pretty attractive.  Most of the pictures are in color and there's a good balance of action vs candid shots.  The occasional horizontally formatted card looks nice as well.  The set is organized by team - 12 cards per team with Kintetsu and Rakuten being combined.

Here are some example cards:









All the cards can be seen at Jambalaya and Ryan did a post on the set as well.

I had debated using the Horiuchi card since Ryan showed it on his post but I like the card too much not to include it.  I think it and the Yukio Tanaka card are my two favorites from the set.

1 comment:

Ryan G said...

The Horiuchi card is a great photo! It's why I chose that card for my type collection.