Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2015 BBM Team Sets

I did something last year that I've never done before - I decided to get all of the pack based team sets that BBM issues for the 12 NPB teams.  I felt that the flagship BBM sets were simply leaving too many players out and I wanted to get cards of as many players as possible.  I also wanted to see how easily and how cheaply it could be done.

BBM streamlined the team sets to some extent in 2015.  In previous years, each team set's base set could have between 81 and 126 cards and the size of the set could vary by team.  For example, in 2014 the Marines set had only 81 cards but the Giants set had 117.  But in 2015, all 12 sets had a base set size of 81 cards.

Each set contained cards of pretty much every player on the team's 70 man roster along with the team's manager.  Most sets also contained at least one card for the team's mascot(s).  Several sets had a team card/checklist as well.  All sets also contained at least two subsets.  Here's a breakdown of the cards in each team set:

Team Player/Manager Cards Mascot Cards Checklist Subsets
Chiba Lotte Marines 67 4 1 Ageless Wonder (3), Real Steal (3), Foreign Impact (3)
Chunichi Dragons 67 3 1 Award Winner (1), Puzzle (6), Combination (3)
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 69 0 0 Puzzle (3), Road To Record (3), Award Winner (4), Next Decade (1), 2014 Champs (1)
Hanshin Tigers 68 1 0 Reliable Pitching Staff (5), Dynamite Row (7)
Hiroshima Toyo Carp 69 1 0 Big Comeback (2), Shining Order (9)
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 68 3 1 Make History (3), Award Winner (3), Veteran's Comeback (3)
Orix Buffaloes 69 2 0 Dominators (4), High Standard (3), Big Boost (3)
Saitama Seibu Lions 68 1 1 Combination (3), Puzzle (6), Award Winner (2)
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 68 3 1 Puzzle (3), Calendar (6)
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 68 3 1 Puzzle (6), Combination (3)
Yokohama DeNA Baystars 65 3 1 Pitch, Hit & Run? (3), Puzzle (6), Combination (3)
Yomiuri Giants 70 1 0 Master Skill (3), Star-To-Be (7)

There's a number of significant players whose only BBM cards this year were in the team sets rather than the flagship sets - Nobuhiko Matsunaka, Kenshin Kawakami, Kei Igawa, Fumiya Nishiguchi and Takashi Saitoh all come to mind.  Here's an example card from each set showing a player who did not make the 1st Version set this year (and I think Mima is the only one to make the 2nd Version set):

2015 BBM Marines #M51

2015 BBM Dragons #D02

2015 BBM Hawks #H46

@015 BBM Tigers #T67

2015 BBM Carp #C03

2015 BBM Fighters #F08

2015 BBM Buffaloes #Bs15

2015 BBM Lions #L57

2015 BBM Eagles #E14

2015 BBM Swallows #S68

2015 BBM Baystars #DB37

2015 BBM Giants #G56
  As you can see, each team set had its own card design.  Some of them are a little busier than I like in a card design but I don't think any of them are out and out ugly.

The sets were released over a five month period between March and July.  An odd thing happened due to the schedule of the team set released - in June, the Fighters and Giants made a trade with Kenji Yano and Hideki Sunaga going to the Fighters for Toshiyuki Yanuki and Atsushi Kita.  Because the Fighters set had already been released but the Giants set was released at least a month later, Yano and Sunaga don't appear in either set but Yanuki and Kita appear in both.

2015 BBM Fighters #F62 and Giants #G69

2015 BBM Fighters #F18 and Giants #G21
I was hoping to be able to pick up the sets without spending a lot of money but that presented some obstacles.  I was planning on being able to buy multiple teams from the same sellers on Yahoo! Japan Auctions and try to minimize the proxy bidding fees from kuboTEN or JAUCE but I didn't see many opportunities for that.  I ended up only getting the Carp and Eagles sets using a proxy bidder.  Ryan was gracious enough (as always) to pick up sets for me both in stores and off YJA and he was able to find the remaining 10 sets.  I hoped to keep the expenses down to roughly 1000 yen per set.  Ryan found some great deals for me that made it almost seem possible but the last two sets (the Baystars and Giants) pretty much blew the budget - the Baystars set was around 1500 yen and the Giants set was 2000 yen.  Total cost of all 12 sets is difficult to calculate as isolating the costs from the other sets Ryan found for me is close to impossible but I figure including the shipping to the US, the total amount I spent on the 12 sets was around $200.

Would I recommend doing this?  If you want cards of almost everyone on a 70 man roster in Japan, this is the best (only) way to do it - unless you live near a card shop where you can pick up just the singles for the players who weren't in the flagship sets.  For most people, I would probably recommend only buying the team set for their favorite team(s).

Will I do this again?  Not sure yet.  I think it will depend on how cheaply I can do it and how willing Ryan is to continue to find stuff for me.  So far I have not exhausted Ryan's patience (and I am not viewing that as a challenge) so I will likely do this again.  


Ryan G said...

I learned a little bit about set buying this year hunting all of them down for you. I'm still amazed at the BayStars' popularity, but it might be possible to get the Giants cheaper this year if you decide to go for it.

And I don't mind finding the sets for you! The chase was fun. I didn't realize it was so expensive in the end but I think without the shipping the cost gets much lower.

For those looking for the most complete "set" of players, grabbing all the team sets in place of the first and second version sets is a good call. In fact, I might do that this year myself! And given the cost of singles, it's much cheaper to just buy a set. Even at 2000 yen for 81 cards, that's under 25 yen per card. Given that card singles start at 40 yen at the cheapest stores, 50 cards puts you over that price. And since most sets ran under 1000 yen the cost effectiveness gets even better.

R Laughton said...

Nice work. The exchange rate has been pretty favorable this past year so $200 for all 12 sets seems like a steal. Awesome fellow collector with Ryan. I hope you do it again.

NPB Card Guy said...

@Ryan - I have considered getting only the team sets and not getting the 1st and 2nd Version sets, especially now that they don't have much in the way of subsets. I don't think I can bring myself to do it. I still consider the flagship sets as the "set of record" for NPB.

Ryan G said...

I've thought about that, too. I guess it depends on what you want: the set of record, or cards of all the NPB players. I've thought about doing a "set run" of BBM like I do with Topps and the rest of the MLB flagship lines at some point, but at the same time as a one-off novelty I think having a full run of team sets would be cool.

The same idea could be done with Topps, getting all 30 of the retail team sets instead of or in addition to the flagship set, though in that case the designs remain the same and most of the photos are the same; there are just a handful of missing players and unique photos.