Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 BBM The Ballpark Stories

The 2016 edition of BBM's annual "Historic Collection" set was released back at the end of November.  This year's theme is "The Ballpark Stories" and it appears that each card commemorates an event that happened at a ballpark which sounds kind of obvious but bear with me for a minute.  As usual for the "Historic Collection" set the base set contains 144 cards - 72 OB players and 72 active players.  The cards are split evenly by franchise - six OB players and six active players per team (except that the Eagles only have the six active players - their OB players are from Kintetsu).

As I said before, each card commemorates an event that happened at a ballpark.  The particular ballpark in question is listed on the front of the card in the lower left corner.  For the OB players, the ballparks are old ballparks that have been abandoned by NPB teams - Korakuen, Kawasaki and Komazawa Stadiums in Kanto; Osaka, Fujidera and Nishinomiya Stadiums in Kansai; Heiwadai Stadium in Fukuoka and Hiroshima and Nagoya Stadiums.  It looks like the back of each card describes some event that occurred at the ballpark (including the date in most cases) and as far as I can tell, the photo on the front is from that event.  Some of the events included are Shigeo Nagashima's retirement, Sadaharu Oh's 756th home run, Isao Harimoto's 3000th hit, Sachio Kinugasa passing Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak, no-hitters by Tsuneo Horiuchi, Shinichi Kondoh, Yoshinori Satoh and Naoki Takahashi, several Nippon Series clinchers, Keishi Suzuki's 300th win and many other milestones.  For a change, all the OB players in the set are actually retired - there are no MLB players in the set at all (which makes sense since the only park that was still around when most of the current Japanese MLB players was Hiroshima - although Ichiro played in Fujidera Stadium).

For the active players, the ballparks are all alternate parks to the home parks for the NPB teams such as the ballparks in Matsuyama, Kobe, Niigata and Kobe.  There are 25 of these ballparks represented in all.  Each card shows the player in a game from the 2015 season at one of these alternate parks.  The back of the card appears to describe how the player did in the game (and mentions the date of the game).  Some of games are represented by more than one player - for example there was a game played on April 11 in Kagoshima between the Fighters and Hawks that's covered by three different cards - Tadashi Settsu and Akira Nakamura of the Hawks and Takuya Nakashima of the Fighters.  None of the "events" on these cards are particularly earth shattering as far as I can tell - no records being set or milestones being reached.  The active players in the set include Kenta Maeda, Shohei Ohtani, Takuya Nakamura, Shogo Akiyama, Tetsuto Yamada, Yuki Yanagita and Kazuo Matsui.

I created a spreadsheet of all the cards showing which ballparks and events are in the set (or at least the ones I could figure out).  The alternate ballparks are identified by the name listed on the box score for the game on NPB's website.

Here's some example cards:

#054 Koji Yamamoto in the Carp's Central League clinching game at Korakuen Stadium 10/15/75

#062 Hiromu Matsuoka in the Swallows' Nippon Series clincher at Korakuen Stadium on 10/22/78

#078 Yoshinori Satoh's no-hitter at Fujidera Stadium on 8/26/95

#019 Atsushi Nohmi at Toyama on 6/24/15

#107 Sho Nakata at Asahikawa on 6/24/15

#131 Ernesto Mejia at Kobe on 6/20/15
For the most part I like this set.  My only gripes (and you knew I had to have some) is that since they were not going include the current NPB ballparks, they couldn't include the two oldest ballparks in Japan - Koshien and Jingu.  I also wish they could have somehow included an ariel shot of the ballpark being featured as well - for the most part the pictures don't really convey any sense of the ballpark.

You can see all the cards here at Jambalaya.

The set has two 12 card insert sets associated with it - "Legend Heroes" and "Active Heroes".  The seller I bought the cards from on Yahoo! Japan Auctions included three of the "Active Heroes" cards with my set.  Each of these cards shows the player in action at an alternate ballpark although not necessarily the one he was depicted in on his base set card.  For example this card of Yoshio Itoi shows him at Yamagata (I think) while his base set card shows him in Kyoto:


Back of #AH07


Ryan G said...

I was waiting for you to post this set. Now I see what took you extra time! That's a good list - maybe I can help with it if I end up getting a set for myself.

I'm still disappointed that there's a wasted opportunity here to showcase all of the ballparks themselves in a bonus insert or subset. However, as you noted, it's called Ballpark Stories, and the cards do manage to tell a story of what happened at a bunch of different parks. And with the photos hopefully coming from the right park, and maybe even the right game, that makes it even better.

NPB Card Guy said...

I'd appreciate the help on the list. One of these days I really need to learn Japanese...

MoeyoCD said...

Odd that on the Atsushi Fujii card they used the 2015 game in Toyohashi. It's his hometown and he hit an 11th inning walkoff homerun there the year before. I'm not positive that the photo on the Fujii card is in Toyohashi, but he's wearing the home uniform and clearly not in Nagoya Dome.
Definitely like the idea for the set.