There were a couple of sets announced in the last week that I thought I'd mention quickly. Two of these are sets from BBM that were expected while the other is a Calbee set that I was kind of surprised by.
First the BBM sets...
- For the fourth year in a row BBM is issuing a multi-sport set in October and for the third year in a row that set is called Infinity (it was Masterpiece in 2016). As has been the case for the previous versions BBM's website is a little light on the details. It's a pack based set but I can't tell you how big the base set is as BBM claims it is still finalizing the checklist. It looks like there's 24 baseball players included - mostly OB players including Shigeo Nagashima and Isao Harimoto, some players active in the US (although shown in NPB uniforms) like Masahiro Tanaka and Shohei Ohtani and a couple active players like Koji Chikamoto and Daisuke Matsuzaka (although he's shown in a Lions uniform). The other sports represented in the set include swimming, professional wrestling, mixed martial arts, boxing, soccer, ski jump, figure skating, tennis, rugby, table tennis, soft tennis, softball, badminton, gymnastics, table tennis, judo, track & field, handball, Tae kwon do, BMX and eSports. The set will have "Phantom" inserts and some sort of metal cards available as well as autographed cards. It will hit the stores in late October.
- Also for the fourth year in a row BBM is issuing a pack based set called Fusion in late November. Like Infinity I can't tell you yet how big the base set will be but it looks like the set will contain the usual four parts that it has in the past and will be larger than the 144 cards it's been each of the previous three years. The four parts are "1st Version Update" (which will have 21 cards), 2019 Leaders (which will have 24 cards), 99 player cards (most likely a combination of active and OB players) and an unspecified as yet number of "Ceremonial First Pitch" cards. If you add up the subsets they've announced the counts for you get 144 so obviously the base set will be larger than that. Nine of the player cards will have "secret" versions. There will be four insert sets. Two of these are the standard Fusion insert sets - a 24 card "Great Record" set which shows two active players from each team celebrating a milestone and a 12 card "Legendary Player" set which features an OB player from each team. The other two are the premium inserts of "Phantom" and "Esperanza". The 12 "Phantom" cards are serially numbered and I assume feature one OB player from each team. I also assume the the 24 "Esperanza" cards are also serially numbered and feature two active players from each team. There will also be autographed cards randomly inserted into packs.
- Calbee issued a card set for the Samurai Japan baseball team in the fall of both 2016 and 2017. The 2016 set included almost all the members of the 2015 Premier 12 team and the 2017 set included almost all the members of the 2017 World Baseball Classic team (both sets were missing players who were on MLB rosters when the set was issued). They didn't do a set in 2018 but they are back with another one this year. Despite coming out in time for this year's Premier 12, the set doesn't feature the team for that roster (although it includes some of the players). Instead the players included played for Samurai Japan in last fall's MLB All Star series and in the pair of friendlies against Mexico last March. The set will contain 44 cards which is the largest of the Samurai Japan sets Calbee has done so far and will include a card of team manager Atsunori Inaba. The checklist is available on-line and includes Tetsuto Yamada, Yuki Yanagita and Shogo Akiyama. The set will be released on October 28th although as usual with Calbee I wouldn't be surprised to see them on-line a few days earlier.