Thursday, January 12, 2017

2017 BBM Time Travel 1975

BBM didn't do a "Historic Collection" set this year, replacing it with the Fusion set.  For those looking for their OB player fix (beyond the 55 OB players in the Fusion set that is) BBM issued a set in late December called "Time Travel 1975".  This set has a major retro feel to it - the cards have a matte finish rather than the usual glossy finish and monochromatic backs rather than the standard full color ones.  The player cards only have stats through the 1975 season, making you feel like the cards were issued at that time.  The cards feel and look very similar to the "Achievement" box sets BBM put out two years ago for the Braves, Buffaloes, Hawks and Whales although I will mention that the photos look much better in this set than in those - some of the photos from the "Achievement" cards had been processed to look "aged" and it wasn't a good look.

The set has 99 cards in its base set.  84 of these are player/manager cards.  There are six cards per team with the exception of the two pennant winning teams - Hankyu and Hiroshima.  Those teams both have 12 representatives.  The players included are most of the big names active in NPB in 1975 - Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nagashima, Isao Harimoto, Katsuya Nomura, Sachio Kinugasa, Koji Yamamoto, Yutaka Fukumoto, Hiromatsu Kadota, Hisashi Yamada, Isao Shibata, Senichi Hoshino, Kenichi Yazawa, Morimichi Takagi, Koichi Tabuchi, Michio Arito, Keishi Suzuki and others.  There's a handful of Westerners in the set as well - Roger Repoz, Bobby Marcano, Don Buford, John Sipin, and Gail Hopkins.  Four of the managers that year are included - Nagashima, Nomura (player/manager), Shinichi Eto (player/manager) and Takeshi Koba.

My usual complaint about a set like this is who does it not include (you can see my posts for the similarly themed Epoch/OB Club sets for 1977 and 1987).  In this particular case, I think BBM did a pretty good job.  The biggest names I see missing are Choji Murata (who hasn't appeared in a BBM set since 2004 - other than the 2009 Legend set that I'm pretty sure was issued with a magazine), Yutaka Entasu and Osamu Higashio.  There's a couple gaijin missing - Charlie Manuel, Dave Johnson, Richie Scheinblum, Ron Woods and Clarence Jones all come to mind - there's a couple of the other managers who would have been nice to see - Wally Yonamine of the Dragons and Masaichi Kaneda of the Orions for example - but overall most of the major award winners and league leaders for the 1975 season are in the set.

The photos used on the player cards all appear to be from 1975 (or thereabouts).  What's nice is that it looks like BBM went into their archive and picked photos that they hadn't used for cards over and over in the past 15 years (especially for Mitsuhiro Adachi).  I'm kind of curious about a couple of the Dragons cards - they appear to have been taken at a training complex.  The Dragons spent spring training that season in Bradenton, Florida - is it possible the photos were taken there?

Here's some sample cards:

#55

#11

#69

#19

#36

#65
Here's a sample back. This is Sadaharu Oh's card.  Some of the cards for players with less years on the back have BBM's ubiquitous "Did You Know?" box on them.  (Oddly enough, the back of player/manager Katsuya Nomura's card has hit batting stats on it while player/manager Shinichi Eto's has his managerial stats on it.)

Back of #82 (Sadaharu Oh)
The remaining 15 cards in the set are split up into three subsets.  The first one is six cards featuring baseball highlights from 1975 - the Pacific League's adoption of the DH rule on January 20th (the card shows Hankyu's Tokuji Nagaike who won the first Best 9 award for DH), the Carp's Koji Yamamoto's two home runs in the first All Star game on July 19th, what I think is Hankyu's Yasuhiro Takai breaking the record for most career pinch hit home runs on August 27th, the Carp winning their first Central League pennant on October 15th (showing manager Takeshi Koba), the Carp's Yoshihiko Sotokoba throwing 200 pitches in a 13 inning outing in Game 4 of the Nippon Series on October 30th and the Braves winning the Nippon Series on November 2nd (showing Hankyu manager Toshihiro Ueda).  Neither Takai or Ueda have cards in the regular set.  I have a minor gripe about this subset - all the people shown are either from the Carp or the Braves.  There were things that happened to other teams that year - for instance Toshio Kanbe of the Buffaloes threw a no-hitter.  The first DH to bat in a regular season game was Toshizo Sakamoto of the Fighters - maybe he should have been on the DH card rather than Nagike.

#87
The next subset is for current (or recently retired) players who were born in 1975 - Kazuya Fukuura, Kenshin Kawakami, Hiroki Kuroda, Kazuo Matsui, Yoshinobu Takahashi and Koji Uehara:

#92
The last three cards are for "1975 social situation" which I think really means 1975 pop culture.  There's a card for singer Hiromi Iwasaki's first #1 single "Romance" and the debut of the TV shows "Himitsu Sentai Gorenger" (which apparently is where the footage for the "Power Rangers" TV shows came from) and "Time Bokan".  Here's Iwasaki's card that I think shows the cover from the single for "Romance":

#98
As always you can see all the cards at Jambalaya (including the insert cards which feature the league leaders) and Ryan wrote about the set last week.

I want to mention that this set must be pretty popular in Japan - it took me three auctions before I was able to get one.  The first auction I attempted to get the insert sets as well - I bid 3000 yen but the auction went for 10,000!  As a point of comparison, I got the Fusion set for 1500 yen and last summer's Classic set for 1000 yen.

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