Let's start with BBM. They have two sets coming out in the next few weeks. On January 29th they will be releasing the annual box set for players who retired at the end of the previous season - I end up calling this the "Farewell" set but it's real name translates as something like "Regret At Parting Ball People". This year's edition contains 40 cards - 39 cards in the base set plus one "special" card that could be an authentic autograph or it could be a facsimile autograph parallel of one of the base set cards. In early February BBM will release a 25 card box set dedicated to Yoshinobu Takahashi who retired at the end of last season to take the Giants managerial job. The box will be called "24 Karat" and will contain a 24 card base set (Takahashi's uniform number was 24) and one "special" card which will be a memorabilia card or a parallel card.
On February 16, Sports Graphic Number will release their latest set dedicated to a single player. This time it's Hiroki Kuroda. This will be a pack based set with a 45 card base set, an 18 card insert ("rare") set and all sorts of possible special cards - autograph, memorabilia, photograph, die cut parallels, etc.
I was quite surprised to find that Calbee snuck a set out this past weekend. Typically Calbee's first set each year comes out in March. But this year they've issued a small (36 card - 3 per team) set entitled "2015 All Stars". The name is a bit of a misnomer as the players included in the set are not necessarily players who made the All Star teams last summer. All the cards look like the "Star" cards that are inserts for the standard Calbee sets - there's even a "gold signature" parallel version of the cards. As usual, Jambalaya has all the cards on line.
I actually got a heads up and some photos from this set from a reader named Michael who's currently on a business trip up in Hokkaido. He said that the cards are being issued in the traditional manner with chips but only one to a pack rather than the two that Calbee's been doing the past 10 years or so. Here's the pictures he passed along to me:
|Pack of cards on the chip bag|
|Back of #AS-25|
|#AS-19 (Gold Signature Parallel)|
|Back of #AS-19|