Saturday, May 16, 2015

More 2014 Front Runner Sets

Christmas came early at my house this year - yesterday I received both a box full of goodies from Ryan and a box with my latest Yahoo! Japan Auction wins from kuboTEN.  So I'll try to start blogging a little bit more than I have the last few weeks to try to cover a bunch of the new stuff.

I thought I'd start out with a couple of Front Runner Trading Cards sets from last year that Ryan picked up for me.  But before I do, I want to mention that I added a spreadsheet listing all the Front Runner box sets to the Set Index.

The first of the sets is the Giants Stars & Legends set.  This was the first set that Front Runner has done with the Giants - their previous sets had only been for the Carp, Lions, Buffaloes and Baystars.  This set was also a tie-in for the Giants 80th Anniversary last year.

The base set contains 30 cards (the largest Front Runner base set so far).  There are 12 cards for the "Stars" - the 2014 Giants players (and manager Tatsunori Hara) - and 18 cards for the "Legends" - retired Giants players.  The "Stars" include pretty much who you'd expect - Shinnosuke Abe, Hayato Sakamoto, Shuichi Murata, Tomoyuki Sugano, Hisayoshi Chono for example.  The "Legends" are players from the 60's through the 90's - guys like Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nagashima, Isao Shibata, Tsuneo Horiuchi, Isao Harimoto, Suguru Egawa, Hiromi Makihara and Masumi Kuwata.  I'm not sure what Front Runner's criteria for picking the retired players for this set was (other than could they still sign an autograph) so it's hard to say if anyone should have been included but wasn't.

The front of each card shows the picture of the player in front of a tinted background - blue for the current players and gold for the retired players.  The back of the card shows the photo with it's original un-tinted background.  Most of the photos are in color but there's a couple in black and white:


Back of #14



It's not a bad little set.  Front Runner was able to attract enough "Legends" (including the two biggest ones in Oh and Nagashima) to make the set worthy of the name - I felt that their 2013 Carp Stars & Legends set that didn't have either Koji Yamamoto or Sachio Kinugasa in it was really not worthy of the name.  My only real complaint with the set itself is that the player's name is very difficult to read on some of the cards.

The big issue with this set though really has nothing to do with this set.  It's that the BBM Giants 80th Anniversary set that came out a few months later has pretty much everything that this set has plus more.

Ryan did a post on this set when it came out and all the cards can be seen here.

The other Front Runner set I got yesterday was the Carp Season Summary set.  In 2013, Front Runner did three Season Summary sets (for the Carp, Buffaloes and Baystars) which were among my favorites of their sets.  The Carp one was the only Season Summary set for 2014 and while I still like it, it's not as good as the 2013 versions.

The 2013 sets were an attempt to actual chronicle the season.  The backs of most of the player cards referenced the events of a particular game during the season.  Since a player could have have had more than one good game, some of the players had multiple cards in the sets (for example Kenta Maeda appeared four times in the Carp set).  This set only has one card for each of the 24 players included in the set and the backs of the cards don't carry any details about any particular games.

The cards themselves are fairly attractive.  The set contains most of the big names for the Carp - Kenta Maeda, Shota Dohbayashi, Ryosuke Kikuchi, Masato Akamatsu, Bryan Bullington, Kila Ka'Aihue and Brad Eldred.  Here are some examples:


Back of #08


The top borders were cut a bit tight by my scanner.

Ryan did a post about this set a few months back and Jambalaya has all the cards on-line.

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