Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 In Review - BBM

BBM published 48 sets for 2014, down slightly from the 50 they did in 2013 but still a pretty impressive number.  The sets were all released in a 13 month period from November 2013 through (and including) November 2014.  (Just to be clear - I'm talking about the sets that actually say "2014" on the front, regardless of whether they were actually published in the calendar year.)

Almost half of the sets BBM did were ones that BBM does every year - the "flagship" 1st and 2nd Version sets, the team sets for each of the 12 NPB teams, the "high end" Genesis set, the Rookie Edition (draft pick) set, the "Farewell" box set for the players who retired in 2013, the Rookie Edition Premium box set, the "Historic Collection" OB set (the theme was "Brilliant Teenagers") and the two "Dancing Heroine" sets for the team's cheerleader/dance squads - "Hana" and "Mai".  There are two other sets that I feel comfortable now adding to the list of BBM's annual sets - the "Icons" box set (which had a theme of "Big Guns" this year) and BBM's version of Topps' Heritage set called Classic.  For the first time since 2007, BBM did not issue any collegiate sets so there was nothing this year for the Tokyo Big Six.

BBM issued eight team-specific box sets this past year.  Three of them - "Pitchers Spirit Of Carp", "Hawks Futures And Legends" and "Impact Of Lions Blue" - featured both active and OB players from each team.  The other four had only active players - "WE LOVE HOKKAIDO" (Fighters), "Tigers Fielding", "Celebration Of Hawks 2014", "Red Sensation" (Carp) and "March" (Buffaloes).

BBM only issued three "single player" sets this past season and it was kind of odd who they did them for.  They did one for Hiroyuki Nakajima ("Next") who had spent the past several seasons in the minors in the US - this set just showed him working out or in a Lions uniform; there were no photos of him in a North American team uniform.  The other two sets were for Carp players - Shota Dobayashi ("Breakout") and Kenta Maeda ("Red Samurai").  I'm pretty sure they did the set for Maeda on the assumption that the Carp were going to post him this winter.  Somewhat surprisingly, BBM did not issue any "single player" sets for anyone who retired at the end of the 2014 season.  I would have expected a set for Atsunori Inaba if no one else.

Most of BBM's remaining sets were historic sets.  In addition to the "Historic Collection" set mentioned before, BBM also did pack based OB team sets for the Dragons ("Dragons Legend"), the Eagles ("Eagles 10th Anniversary"), the Buffaloes ("Buffaloes 25th Anniversary"), the Giants ("Giants 80th Anniversary") and the Lions ("Lions Legend").  In addition, BBM celebrated the 80th Anniversary of professional baseball in Japan with two "80th Anniversary sets" - a "Pitchers Edition" and a "Batters Edition".  They also released a set called "All Star Memories 90's" as a follow up to a similar set done last year for the '80's.  They started a new series of OB team box sets called "Achievement" by publishing sets for the Hankyu Braves and Nankai Hawks.  They did a box set in celebration of Shigeo Nagashima and Hideki Matsui receiving the Peoples Honor Award last year that included all the baseball players who had ever won the award (the others being Sadaharu Oh and Sachio Kinugasa).  They also did a couple box sets that featured both active and OB players - "Rookie Edition Classic" and "Speed & Smarts".

Finally, BBM also did a box set called "Honeys Flash" for the Hawks cheerleaders and dance squad.

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