Thursday, November 26, 2015

2015 BBM 25th Anniversary Set

BBM released a set commemorating their 25th Anniversary at the end of October.  This set has 189 cards in its base set - 180 player cards and 9 "Great Records & Highlights" cards.

This is one of the few BBM sets that do not have the player cards split evenly between all 12 teams.  I don't think the players are split evenly between active and OB players either although I didn't actually count to see.  The set contains pretty much everyone who was a major NPB player since 1991.  The OB players include players whose career began before 1991 but who still played the majority of their career during the BBM era - Norihiro Komada, Kimiyasu Kudoh, Atsuya Furuta, Masumi Kuwata, Koji Akiyama, Tsutomu Itoh, Yukio Tanaka, Kazuhiro Sasaki, etc.  There are also (obviously) OB players who played their entire career since 1991 - Hideki Matsui, Tsuyoshi Shinjyo, Norihiro Nakamura, Kazuhisa Ishii, Hiroki Kokubo, etc.  The active players include pretty much all the big stars like Shohei Ohtani, Tetsuto Yamada, Yuki Yanagita, Shogo Akiyama, Shitaro Fujinami, Takeya Nakamura and Kenta Maeda.  There are a number of OB and active Westerners included like Tuffy Rhodes, Alex Ramirez, Wladimir Balentien and Matt Murton.  There are also several former NPB players who played in MLB in 2015 - Hisashi Iwakuma, Masahiro Tanaka, Yu Darvish (well, he was on the DL for an MLB team all season), Norichika Aoki, Munenori Kawasaki and Koji Uehara.

So who's not in the set?  You could nit-pick the inclusion of a number of players who aren't in the set but I think the big ones that are missing are Hideo Nomo, Ichiro Suzuki, Hiromitsu Ochiai and Kazuhiro Kiyohara.  Honestly Kiyohara is the only surprise here.  Nomo hasn't appeared on a BBM card since 1994 (his 2000 20th Century Best 9 cards didn't show his picture).  Ichiro has only appeared in three BBM sets since he left for the US and the most recent of those was 2009.  Ochiai has not appeared in any baseball cards since he was fired as Dragons manager in 2011.  But Kiyohara shows up in BBM's historic sets pretty regularly.

The cards themselves are fairly attractive, although I have my usual complaints about the photo selection - mostly batters batting and pitchers pitching.  Some of the older photos are a bit grainy which is a complaint I had with the All Star Memories sets of the past couple years.  But on the whole it's a nice looking set.






The backs of the cards feature a reproduction of the player's first BBM card, similar to what BBM did for their 20th Anniversary set back in 2010.  I didn't do a full study but it looks like there's at least one card represented from each flagship set from 1991 to 2001 and each 1st Version set from 2002 to 2015 (Yasuaki Yamasaki).

Back of #163
The nine "Great Records & Highlights" cards are apparently a continuation of the subset with the same name from the 2010 20th Anniversary set.  They use the same design and they only commemorate events that have occurred since that set came out.  The nine events in the subset are the Marines winning the Nippon Series in 2010 (only third place team to survive the Climax Series and win the Nippon Series), Takeya Nakamura out-homering a team in 2011 (I think), Alex Ramirez 2000th hit in 2013, Hideki Matsui and Shigeo Nagashima getting the People's Honor Award in 2013, Wladimir Balentien hitting his 56th home run to break Sadaharo Oh's record in 2013, Masahiro Tanaka going 24-0 in 2013 (hmm, a lot of 2013 here), Shohei Ohtani having double digits in wins and home runs in 2014, Motonobu Tanishige appearing in his NPB record 3018th game in 2015 and Masahiro Yamamoto becoming the oldest player to record a win in 2015.

The set has four six card insert sets associated with it.  I normally don't get these but I decided to splurge this time.  The four sets are "Old Time Stars" (retired players), "Stars Shining Overseas" (Japanese players playing in MLB), "Rising Stars" (young NPB players) and "Legendary Stars" (veteran NPB players - two of whom have retired since the set went to press).  The design of each set is very similar to the others - mostly just a change in the background and banner colors.




Now that Jambalaya is back on line you can see all the cards here.

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