Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Recent Box Sets

I mentioned the other day that I had gotten a package from Ryan the other day.  Among the goodies were four recent box sets - well, I say "recent' but most of them were actually from late 2015 - early 2016.  I thought I'd talk briefly about all four of them.

2015 Epoch Swallows Victory Memorial #09

2015 Epoch Swallows Victory Memorial #20
First up is the 2015 Epoch "Swallows Victory Memorial" set from last fall.  This set commemorates the Swallows 2015 Central League pennant.  The base set has 30 cards - 28 cards of the Swallows players such as Tetsuto Yamada, Wladimir Balentien, Tony Barnette, Shingo Kawabata, Kazuhiro Hatakeyama and Yasuhiro Ogawa, 1 card for manager Mitsuru Manaka and 1 card showing the team's celebration after clinching on October 2 last year.  I don't think much of the card design - it's a little busier than I like - but I thought the actual photos Epoch used were quite good.  You can see all the cards at Jambalaya.

2016 BBM Spirit Of Legends #36

2016 BBM Spirit Of Legends #01
In December BBM put out a box set called something like "Spirit Of Legends" that exclusively featured pitchers who had won the Sawamura award.  This sounds like a good idea (and is the kind of theme that Epoch has featured in several of the box sets they've done with the OB Club) but I'm not real impressed with the execution of it.  As is pretty much typical of a BBM OB set, most of the 36 players featured in the set played in the 1970's or later.  Actually pretty much every Sawamura Award winner since 1970 is in the set - the only ones missing are Kazumi Takahashi, Shigeru Kobayashi and Hideo Nomo.  But there's only a handful of the earlier ones - Shigeru Sugshita, Masaaki Koyama, Gene Bacque and Hiroshi Gondoh, leaving out guys like Yutaka Enatsu and Masaichi Kaneda.  Most of the OB players in the set have appeared in other recent BBM sets.  A number of the players included are currently playing in the US - Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kenta Maeda, Masahiro Tanaka and Koji Uehara.  I guess I just feel the set's a bit uninspired - the design is kind of blah and many of the photos are grainy.  You can judge them yourself by taking a look at the cards over at Jambalaya.

2016 BBM Farewell #08

2016 BBM Farewell #02
BBM issued their annual set for retiring ballplayers in January.  I call this set "Farewell" but the translation of the official title is something along the lines of "Regret at Parting Ball Players".  This year's edition has 38 cards featuring 38 different players (as opposed to previous years which featured multiple cards for certain players).  Everyone you'd expect to be in the set is there - Masahiro Yamamoto, Yoshinobu Takahashi, Motonobu Tanishige, Michihiro Ogasawara, Kazuhiro Wada, Fumiya Nishiguchi, Satoshi Nakajima, Hirokazu Ibata.  There's not really a lot to say about this set - the photos all seem to be from last year.  Many of them are from the retirement ceremonies for the players.  Notably missing is Nobuhiko Matsunaka because he didn't officially announce his retirement until February - a month after this set was released.  I assume he will be in this winter's version of the set.  Jambalaya (as usual) has all the cards from the set on-line.

2016 BBM Go Higher #3

2016 BBM Go Higher #5

2016 BBM Go Higher #9

2016 BBM Go Higher #16
The final box set that Ryan picked up for me is the "Go Higher" set that BBM released in June.  This set features Shohei Ohtani of the Fighters and Shintaro Fujinami of the Tigers.  The 18 cards in the set include seven of each player and another four showing both of them.  Each card commemorates various events in the player's careers - their draft in the fall of 2012, each player's debut, first post season appearance, etc.  I really like the card showing Ohtani batting against Fujinami (card # 5 from above) but the whole set is pretty nice.  Once again you can see all the cards in the set at Jambalaya.

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