Sunday, July 12, 2015

2015 BBM Classic

I picked up a copy of this year's edition of BBM's Classic set off of Yahoo! Japan Auctions (via kuboTEN) a few weeks ago.  Classic is BBM's version of Topps' Heritage and/or Archives sets - it contains cards for active players using a card design that BBM used previously.

There are actually two parts to the set - the active player part and the OB player part.  There are 108 cards total in the set - 72 active players (6 per team) and 36 OB players (3 per team).

The active player cards use the design of the 1993 BBM set (which is to be expected since last year's set used the 1992 design and the year before that used the 1991 design).   There are a handful of players still active in NPB that had cards in the 1993 set (Masahiro Yamamoto, Takashi Saito, Satoshi Nakajima and Motonobu Tanishige) but none of them appear in this year's Classic set - so instead of comparing two cards of the same player, I'll have to pick a couple at random...:

1993 BBM #239

Back of 1993 BBM #239

2015 BBM Classic #011

Back of 2015 BBM Classic #011
Once again BBM matched the design pretty well.  The main differences in the two designs are the same differences they've had in the previous two Classic sets - the Classic cards are the standard 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches rather than the original slightly smaller size and the backs have the "Classic" logo for a watermark rather than the team logo.  The only other little difference is that the Classic Tigers cards are labelled as the "Hanshin Tigers" (which has been standard with almost all cards since 2002) while the 1993 cards simply said "Tigers".

One thing I found interesting is that the original set had all the cards for a team using banners with the team's colors as the top and bottom borders on the front and back of the card.  Classic does this as well, but the colors are updated for the teams who have changed their colors in the last 22 years.  So for example, the Marines cards are silver/gray and black instead of pink and brown.  The Hawks and Fighters have also updated their colors (and of course the Eagles didn't exist in 1993) but the other eight teams have the same color scheme.

The players included in the set are pretty much the biggest stars of the league - or at least the biggest six stars for each team.  You can nitpick who's not in the set - I'd have liked Shogo Akiyama myself and why is Daisuke Matsuzaka in the set when he hasn't made an appearance at ichi-gun this year - but for the most part, it includes who you'd expect - Kenta Maeda, Yuki Yanagita, Takeya Nakamura, Tetsutu Yamada, Hayato Sakamoto, Shohei Ohtani, etc.  Wily Mo Pena appears in the set which marks his first baseball card with Rakuten - he signed too late in the spring to be included in either the 1st Version or Eagles team sets from BBM.  There are a handful of rookies included - Takayoshi Noma of the Carp, Sachiya Yamasaki of the Buffaloes, Toshihiko Kuramoto and Yasuaki Yamasaki of the Baystars, Hayato Takagi of the Giants - and their cards have the same kind of "Rookie" symbol the original set had.

The photos used on the cards are the typical attractive BBM photos - albeit with the typical BBM poses - pitchers pitching and batters batting - although there are a couple of catchers catching.  Like the original set, there are a couple cards that use a horizontal format on the front.  Here's some examples:






Kikuchi is the only guy who's not a pitcher or catcher shown on defense.

As has been the case for all the Classic sets, the OB player cards do not use the same design as the active player cards.  This year's cards use a design very similar to the OB cards in last year's Classic set which I believe was a new design.  As usual there's no obvious rhyme or reason why any of the OB players were included, other than they could sign autographs.  The OB players include Katsuya Nomura, Hisashi Yamada, Koichi Tabuchi, Koji Akiyama, Alex Ramirez, Julio Franco, Akinori Iwamura, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Koji Yamamoto.  Here's a couple examples:



All the cards can be seen here.

I do really like the concept of the Classic set but I wish BBM would improve a couple things in the execution.  First of all, either eliminate the OB cards and do nine active players per team or use a "classic" design for them.  Or even use the same format as the active player cards.  Secondly, add some cards that echo the original set.  The 1993 set had multi-player cards - why not do a couple of those?  Maybe throw in a "Leaders"-style subset card for last year's MVPs.  Just something that would make this a little more than just a simple throwback set.  And I pretty much said the same thing as this last year...

1 comment:

Ryan G said...

I'm not sure if I seconded your opinion last year, but I agree that BBM could do something different with the OB players. They'll have more designs to draw on as they started making team sets and such in '94. And hopefully they'll start using insert designs from the correct year.