Sunday, November 30, 2014

Front Runner Rookie & Young Star Sets

November has been a busy month for me - between packages from Ryan, Hiro and some other stuff I ordered from various places I've had quite an influx of cards this month.  I think it's somewhat appropriate (and also way overdue) to finish the month by talking about the last of the box sets that Ryan included in his package that I got back at the beginning of the month - the Rookie & Young Stars sets from Front Runner (aka Frontier International) from both 2013 and 2014.

Each Rookie & Young Star set is a box set containing cards for one particular team.  The base set for each set is pretty small - between 24 and 27 cards.  Each set includes possible autograph cards and (in several cases) short printed rookie cards.  Rookie & Young Stars is kind of a misnomer for the sets as the sets tend to include the same number of "established" stars as "young" stars.  And of the six sets I'm going to discuss in this post, only one of them actually contains any rookies in the base set.   Some of the sets also include OB players.  Generally, each set uses a slightly different format between the "Stars", the "Young Stars", the "Rookies" and the OB players ("Legends").

Front Runner issued three Rookie & Young Star sets last season (along with four other sets).  The teams featured were the Lions, the Baystars and the Buffaloes.  I posted about the Baystars set back in March (when I got the last package from Ryan) but I didn't get the Lions and Buffaloes sets until this package.  The Lions set contains 27 cards split between "Stars" (9 cards) and "Young Stars" (18 cards).  It's the only one of these sets that does not include the team's manager.  The Buffaloes set also contains 27 cards - 11 "Stars" (including manager Hiroshi Moriwaki), 6 "Young Stars", 6 "Rookies" and 4 "Legends".  Here are samples of each type of card in each set:

Lions #07 (Star)

Lions #17 (Young Star)

Buffaloes #02 (Star)

Buffaloes #16 (Young Star)

Buffaloes #24 (Rookie)

Buffaloes #18 (Legend)
The cards for the base sets for both the Lions and the Buffaloes sets can be seen at Jambalaya and Ryan did a post on the Buffaloes set.

Front Runner did four of these sets this year (along with at least seven other sets), adding the Carp to the fold along with returning champions the Lions, Buffaloes and Baystars.  All four sets came out in March and April, which means that a number of the players who just joined the team in the sets are shown not playing, but rather wearing a team jersey over street clothes, presumably at the press conference announcing the player joining the team.

The Lions set is the only set that actually has a different format for the "Stars" (8 cards) vs the "Young Stars" (14 cards) and "Lions Legends" (2 cards).

Lions #06 (Star)

Lions #19 (Young Star)

Lions #23 (Lions Legend)

The remaining four sets each have a different format than each other, but the cards in the various subsets have only minor variations in format.  Regardless of the team, each of the "Young Star" cards has a big colored square behind the player.  The Carp set has 8 "Stars" (plus the manager), 11 "Young Stars" and 3 "Legends".  The Buffaloes set has 15 "Stars" (plus the manager) and 9 "Young Stars".  The Baystars set has 9 "Stars" (plus the manager) and 14 "Young Stars".

Carp #06 (Star)

Carp #13 (Young Star)

Carp #22 (Legend)

Buffaloes #02 (Star)

Buffaloes #19 (Young Star)

Baystars #10 (Star)

Baystars #13 (Young Star)
The back of all the cards in all four team sets uses the same design:

Baystars #07
I have to admit that when I first saw the 2014 cards on-line, I wasn't very enamored of them.  I felt they were kind of ugly.  But they actually look a lot better when you're holding them in your hand than they do on your computer.

You can see all the cards in each of the sets over at Jambalaya (Lions, Carp, Buffaloes, Baystars) and Ryan has done a post for each set as well in which he covers all the "special" cards available with the sets (Lions, Carp, Buffaloes, Baystars).

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