Sunday, February 3, 2013

2013 BBM "Great Numbers" set

The first 2013 set released by BBM (back in November) is the latest edition in their annual "Historic Collection" sets.  This year's theme is "Great Numbers", highlighting the primary uniform numbers worn by different players.  As always, the 144 cards are split evenly between the active and OB players (72 for each).  Also as always, the OB players include players who were still active in the US in 2012 - Norichika Aoki, Hiroki Kuroda, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tsuyoshi Wada* and Hideki Matsui).

* OK, I guess Wada wasn't exactly "active" in 2012.  But he was on the Orioles roster for the season.

And also as always, the cards for the active players are split evenly between the 12 teams, six cards per team.

The 72 cards for the OB players include a 14 card subset for "The Great Retired Numbers" - the 14 players who have had their numbers officially retired by their teams*.  These 14 do not include Keishi Suzuki, whose #1 was retired by the Kintetsu Buffaloes but has since been un-retired by the Orix Buffaloes.  Both Suzuki and Mitsutaka Gotoh, who currently wears #1 for Orix, are included in the "regular" cards in the set.

* I say "officially retired" because I think there are some numbers that are "unofficially retired" - I don't think anyone other than Atsuya Furuta is ever going to wear #27 for the Swallows again, but it's not recognized as retired.

As for the set itself, it's a typical BBM "Historic Collection" set.  There's the usual mix of guys who seem to always show up in these (Kazuhiro Sasaki, Masumi Kuwata, Kazuhiro Kiyohara) along with a couple odd balls who don't (Daryl Spencer, Punch Sato).  Masaichi Kaneda makes an extremely rare appearance due to his #34 being retired by the Giants.  As usual, the players are predominately from the 1970's to the 2000's, with only a very few from earlier - mostly in the retired number subset, but there's a couple like Shigeru Sugishita and Futoshi Nakanishi.  I did find it odd that there's a couple uniform numbers between 0 and 27 that were not represented in the set - 12 and 24.  I'm not sure why BBM didn't find someone to fill those numbers (Chang-Yong Lim of the Swallows wore #12 for example).  There are no uniform number 42s either - according to the JapanBall Blog, #42 is the most popular number for a foreign player to wear in Japan.  The set does feature a handful of gaijin OB players (the afore-mentioned Spencer, Boomer Wells, Randy Bass) although I don't think there's any active Westerners included.

The highest uniform number in the set is Norihiro Nakamura's #99 - no ikusei (development squad) players were included.

Here's some sample cards (as always, you can see all the cards over at Jambalaya):





I don't think I've ever seen a picture of Tsutomu Wakamatsu with a mustache before.  Or maybe not that noticeable of one.

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