Saturday, July 23, 2016

2016 BBM Classic

This year's edition of BBM's Classic set (the fourth edition overall) was released just over two weeks ago.  Classic is BBM's version of the Topps Heritage and Archives sets - it contains cards of current players using an older (i.e. "classic") card design.

There's actually two parts to the set - the current players and the OB players.  There are 72 current players in the set (six per team).  All of their cards use BBM's set design from 1994 (last year it was 1993, the year before was 1992, etc).  There are 36 OB players in the set (3 per team).  Their cards use the card design from BBM's All Time Heroes set from 2002.

Here's a sample card from the 1994 set and one from this set (there are two guys from the 1994 set who are still active in NPB - Kazuya Fukuura and Kazuo Matsui,  Only Kukuura is in the set)

1994 BBM #529

2016 BBM Classic #017

1994 BBM #529 Back

2016 BBM Classic #017 Back
Once again they've matched the original design pretty well.  (You might point out that the colors don't match but they are the team's colors and the Marines' colors have changed in the past 22 years.)  As with the previous three years, the biggest difference in the card design is that the new cards are the standard size (2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches) while the 1994 cards were a little smaller.  This will be the last time that this difference occurs as the 1995 cards were standard size.

The checklist for the current players contains pretty much the top stars that you'd expect - Shohei Ohtani, Yuki Yanagita, Tetsuto Yamada, Shintaro Fujinami, Shogo Akiyama, Takeya Nakamura, Seiichi Uchiyama, Hideaki Wakui, Hayato Sakamoto, Yasuaki Yamasaki and Yuki Matsui are all in the set.  There's a number of rookies - Shun Takayama and Louis Okoye probably being the biggest two - and their cards are denoted by the same "Rookie" symbol that the 1994 rookie cards had (as seen on the Fukuura card above).

The photography is...ok.  While each individual photo is attractive, I have my usual complaint about the lack of interesting photos in BBM's recent sets.  Once again, most of the photos are simply of pitchers pitching and batters batting.  I think there's only one card in the set showing a current player fielding.  Here's some examples:






BBM used a new design for the OB cards in the last two editions of this set but this year's set uses the design of the 2002 All Time Heroes set (which is the design that the OB cards in the first Classic set in 2013 used).  As usual, I can find no rhyme or reason why any of the OB players were chosen for the set.  There's a couple older (50's to 70's era) players - Yoshio Yoshida, Keishi Suzuki and Hiromitsu Kadota - and several who retired last year - Michihiro Ogasawara, Masahiro Yamamoto, Kazuhiro Wada, Satoshi Nagai, Teppei Tsuchiya.  The bulk of the rest of the players are from the 80's through the 00's.  There's also a card of last year's Eagles manager Hiromoto Ohkubo as manager rather than as a player.  There are no OB players from Orix or Hankyu - instead there are three Kintetsu players.

Here's a comparison between Yoshida's actual 2002 All Time Heroes card and his card from this set:

2002 BBM All Time Heroes #096

2016 BBM Classic #098

2002 BBM All Time Heroes #096 Back

2016 BBM Classic #098 Back
So again BBM did a great job matching the original design.  Here's a couple more of the OB cards:



You can see all the cards here at Jambalaya.

I pretty much feel the same way about this set as I've felt about the other three - it's a nice idea that BBM doesn't execute very well other than the cards for the current players.  I'd prefer a larger set or at least replacing the OB players with additional current players.  It'd also be a little more interesting to do the OB players in the same format as the current players - kind of like what Topps Archives does.  Having some subsets that harken back to the original set would be nice as well - the 1994 set had some multi-player cards that BBM could have emulated for this set.  But it looks like BBM isn't planning on changing the format of this set so we can look forward to another round next year using the 1995 design.

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