Sunday, May 18, 2008

70th Anniversary set

I've been sitting on this rant for a couple years now but I've never had a place to vent it until now, so for anyone who thinks I can only say nice things about BBM...

In 2004, Nippon Professional Baseball celebrated it's 70th Anniversary. To commemorate this, BBM put out a 48 card box set. Since I love historic sets, I picked it up, expecting it to be fun. It absolutely sucked.

I noticed the first problem with the set the moment I opened up the box. The card design was very similar to the design of the 2002 BBM All Time Heroes set. As I looked through the cards I realized that not only was the design similar, it was the same photos for almost every card! The only two cards that were different were those for Hiromitsu Ochiai and Tsuyoshi Shinjyo.

Obviously, the card on the left is from the All Time Heroes set, the one on the right is from the 70th Anniversary set. The backs only differ by copyright line and card number.

The second problem became quickly apparent when I organized the set and got a good look at who was in it. The set contained four cards for each of the 12 teams - two current players and two retired (OB) players. If the current manager of the team had played for the team, he would be one of the OB players. This means that Tsuneo Horiuchi (Giants), Akinobu Okada (Tigers) and Daisuke Yamashita (Baystars) got cards at the expense of other, more deserving players (although I can't knock the inclusion of Koji Yamamoto for the Carp, Tsutomu Wakamatsu for the Swallows or Ochiai for the Dragons). (This is actually why Ochiai has a "new" card - his All Time Heroes card was with the Orions.) No active player who switched teams since 2002 was included other than Shinjyo - so the Tigers get represented by Norihiro Akahoshi and Akihiro Yano, but not Tomoaki Kanemoto.

So the next issue isn't who's in the set, but who's not. Masaichi Kaneda, winningest pitcher in NPB history, is not in the set. Tetsuharu Kawakami is not in the set. Eiji Sawamura is not in the set (in fact, I don't think anyone who played before the '50's is in the set. But there's one omission that just trumps all the rest. Remember that Tsuneo Horiuchi had to be one of the Giants OB cards because he was their manager in 2004. It should be no surprise that Shigeo Nagashima is the other OB Giant. So who does that leave out?


There's no Sadaharu Oh card in the set.

I will repeat that.

There's no Sadaharu Oh card in the set.

In a set that celebrates 70 years of professional baseball in Japan, BBM could not find room for the guy who hit the most home runs in the world. The guy who is arguably the most famous Japanese player in history (OK, at least outside of Japan, where it's Nagashima).

Now, BBM has done some designs that I haven't liked, and their card decollation has almost always sucked, but this is the first time where I felt that they were actively trying to rip me off.

So as a public service, I'm including scans of the two "new" cards so if you already have the All Time Heroes set (which is a great set), you can skip this one.

Actually, even if you don't have the All Time Greats set, skip this one. It has to be the biggest waste of money I've ever spent on Japanese cards.

No comments: