I'd bought a pack from the set back when it came out but I wanted to track down one particular card from it that shows the colorful uniforms of the 1973 Nittaku Home Flyers. When researching the set in Engel, I realized that there were a bunch of OB cards in it. So I tracked a complete set down on YJA and asked Ryan to pick it up for me.
This was the first time that BBM did a team set of any kind for the Fighters. 2003 was the last year that the Fighters played in Tokyo and was also the 30th Anniversary of Nippon-Ham buying the team. I don't know if either of those played a factor in BBM deciding to do a team set for the Fighters that year - it wasn't until 2004 that they started doing pack based team sets for all 12 teams.
The base set contained 126 cards. The first 78 cards are a traditional (or what has become a traditional) team set. There's 66 "regular" cards for the players (and manager Trey Hillman and coach Kazuyuki Shirai) of the 2003 team and two six card subsets - "Top Prospects" and "Top Of Fighters" (team leaders from 2002). Here's some example cards from this part of the set:
First up is a six card subset for great dates in Fighters history. The six dates are 11/19/1973 (Nippon-Ham buys the team from Nittaku Home), 10/6/1977 (first time attendance reached one million), 10/13/1981 (winning the Pacific League pennant by beating Lotte in the playoffs), 9/28/1982 (clinching the second half of the 1982 season - they would lose to Seibu in the playoffs), 7/3/1998 (the "Big Bang Lineup" set a hitting record that I can't figure out), and 7/9/2002 (the team announces the move to Sapporo).
Next is a four card subset labelled "Uniform Story" that shows the different uniforms worn by the Fighters from 1974 to 2003. The back of each card shows a drawing of the home and away versions of the uniform a la "The History Of Uniform". Here's manager Futoshi Nakanishi modeling the uniform worn during the first half of 1974:
|Back of #087|
|Back of #104|
The set also included two insert sets - "Fighting Spirit" (18 cards) and "Fighters Best 9" (12 cards - includes manager, relief pitcher and DH if you're wondering how they got to 12). The "Fighting Spirit" cards only have active (at the time obviously) players while the "Best 9" cards include both active and OB. I pulled a "Fighting Spirit" insert in the pack I opened:
Oh, and I'm sure you'd all be disappointed if I didn't show off the card that made me look for this set in the first placed so here it is:
I'd like to acknowledge that I leaned a LOT on Engel while researching this set. I'd also like to acknowledge that it was the now defunct "Fighters Collection" website for showing this card - that's where I learned it existed.