Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2012 BBM Hawks and Lions sets

I don't normally buy BBM's team sets - I feel like I have to draw the line somewhere on what I get.  But as I mentioned in a conversation with Jason in the comments of this post, my curiosity was piqued by the Hawks and Lions team sets this year.  Instead of the kind of standard BBM card design - mostly borderless photo with a minimum of text, both sets had a retro design that was evocative of some sets from the US.

The player cards from the Hawks set are a throwback to a couple of Topps early sets.  They've got the large rectangle on the lower part of the card that doesn't quite go the entire width of the card from the 1953 Topps set and the "team name on an angle in the upper corner" feature of the 1966 Topps set.

The photography on the cards is pretty much the standard BBM photography - mostly action shots.  So they aren't emulating the kind of portrait photography that Topps pretty much specialized in.  In fact, despite the retro design, BBM has their usual photo of Hiroki Kokubo throwing his bat on his follow-through:

Despite the retro fronts, the card backs are also pretty much standard BBM fare:

Back Of Kokubo's card (#H46)
The set contains 99 cards - a whopping 87 of them are player cards (including manager Koji Akiyama and one of the only two Japanese cards of Brad Penny).  This also includes 22 players from the Hawks' developmental squad (ikusei) - they're the guys with the three digit uniform numbers:

The remaining 11 cards in the set (I'm skipping the card showing the mascots which is in the same format as the player cards) fall into three subsets.  The first of these subsets, the four "Newcomer" subset, features a design that again borrows heavily from a couple old Topps sets.  The fronts feature the player's head with the word "NEWCOMER" on the top of the card and on the bottom of the card (but upside down there).  There's also a baseball in the top left and bottom right corners of the card:

This looks very similar to the 1968 Topps "Game" cards.  It was the backs of the cards in this subset that really gave me pause, however:

Back Of Hideki Okajima's Newcomer card (#H91)

If that doesn't make you think of the backs of the 1973 Topps cards, then you must never have seen the back of a 1973 Topps card.  (I'm amused that in the stats on the back of the cards, Okajima's uses a katakana symbol for the Red Sox while Brad Penny and Willy Mo Pena's cards use letters for all the teams - BOS, CIN, FLA, LAD, etc.)

The remaining two subsets (the two card "Next Ones" and the five card "Titleholder" subsets) both look like traditional BBM subsets:


You can see all the Hawks cards here.

The inspiration for the Lions set is a little more recent - the 2009 O-Pee-Chee set produced by Upper Deck.  Here's a couple examples:


Like the Hawks set, the card backs are typical BBM backs:

Back Of Kataoka's card (#L46)
The Lions set is the same size as the Hawks set - 99 cards - but only 70 of them are "regular" player cards (including a card of manager Hisanobu Watanabe and two Ikusei players) plus two similarly formatted cards for the teams mascots.  The remaining 29 cards are split in four subsets (plus a checklist card).

The first subset is a three card "puzzle" or "sequence" series of cards featuring Kazuhisa Makita.  Each one of the three cards shows three sequential images of Makita's pitching motion - if you line them up in order you'll see nine sequential images of Makita's motion.  This is not an unusual subset for BBM's team set, but this is the first time I've see it done in a horizontal format:

#L79, #L76 and #L73
There's a six card subset celebrating the first career win or hit of several Lions players:

There's a nine card subset showing various milestones reached by Lions players in either 2011 or 2012:

The previous three subsets are pretty typical BBM subsets, but the final one is kind of unusual.  It's an eight card "Newcomer" subset but instead of swiping an old Topps design like they did for the Hawks, they've done something that I think is a little original.  The cards are all portraits with "Newcomer" written across the top and the player's name, number and position written on the front.  I think they're pretty attractive and I haven't seen a design like it before (although it would not surprise me if they based this design off of something that I either haven't seen or don't remember).

All the Lions cards can be seen here.

I need to thank Jason for his comments - I hadn't picked up on the 1953 Topps element in the Hawks set and I didn't know the Lions set was based on the 2009 O-Pee-Chee set until he mentioned these things.


Jason Presley said...

The Lions Newcomers has a very 2009 Goodwin Champions vibe.

NPB Card Guy said...

YES! Thank you. I knew they looked familiar.

Jason Presley said...

FYI, I finally finished loading the missing BBM team set issues from 2008-2012, so all the major issues are now in the SCF Inventory Manager. I've still got to chase down the memorabilia cards and some of the smaller BBM boxed sets, but all the major stuff is now done.

NPB Card Guy said...

As always, thanks for the hard work on those checklists. They are incredibly helpful.