Sunday, January 17, 2016

2016 BBM Dragons 80th Anniversary

The Chunichi Dragons are celebrating their 80th Anniversary in 2016 and like the Giants in 2014 and the Tigers last year, BBM has issued a baseball card set to commemorate the milestone.  BBM had previously issued sets for the Dragons 70th Anniversary in 2006 and 75th in 2011 so I didn't really expect anything new from this set when it was announced.

And I wasn't particularly surprised at what I saw once the set came out.  BBM appears to have exerted the least amount of effort in releasing this set.  The base set contains 81 cards - all of either current or former Dragons players.  There are no subsets.  Most of the Dragons stars from the past 50 years or so are included such as Morimichi Takagi, Hiroshi Gondoh, Kenichi Yazawa, Yasushi Tao, Masaru Uno, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami, Takeshi Yamazaki and Hirokazu Ibata.  Notable foreign players include Gene Martin, Ken Macha, Tyrone Woods and Leo Gomez.  There are around 18 or so cards of players who played for the Dragons in 2015 including Masa Yamamoto, Motonobu Takahashi, Kazuhiro Wada, Michihiro Ogasawara, Masahiro Araki and Masahiko Morino.  The bulk of the players in the set debuted with the Dragons in the 1960's or later - only six players represent the years between 1936 and 1959 - Michio Nishizawa, Shigeru Sugishita, Toshio Naka, Toru Mori, Yasuhiko Kawamura and Shinichi Etoh - and only two of those players (Nishizawa and Sugishita) were members of the 1954 Nippon Series Championship team (one of only two in Dragons history).

As you'd expect, there's a great deal of redundancy between this set and the previous two Dragons Anniversary sets.  There are only six retired players (well, retired prior to 2015) who appear in the set who did not appear in the other sets.  The most significant of these players is Senichi Hoshino who was the biggest name left out of the prior sets.  The others were Hiroshi Shintaku, Toshio Tanakura, Tadashi Sugimoto, Kazuyuki Oda and Eddie Gaillard.

The biggest names I see missing are  Hiromitsu Ochiai and Wally Yonamine.  Ochiai is no surprise as he has not appeared on a baseball card in over four years now.  Yonamine managed the Dragons to a pennant in 1974 (their first in 20 years) and was included in both the previous sets but is a no-show here.  Most of the other notable omissions are all pre-1960 players such as Makoto Kozuru, Eiji Bando and Shunichi Amachi (manager of the 1954 Champs).  There's a couple guys (like Ogasawara) that I question why they were included in the set as they played only a short period of time with the Dragons.

Here are some sample cards:






The set also has a 15 card insert set associated with it called "Dragons Heroes" that features a number of Dragons greats - Sugishita, Takagi, Hoshino, Yasunori Ohshima, Yazawa, Takamasa Suzuki, Tao, Uno, Tatsuo Komatsu, Genji Kaku, Yamamoto, Yamasaki, Tatsunami, Kenshin Kawakami, and Tanishige.  I normally wouldn't have gotten these but I was having difficulty locating a set on Yahoo! Japan Auctions and I ended up way overpaying for a set that included this insert set.

As a Dragon fan, I really wanted to like this set but I really can't recommend it.  The two previous Dragons Anniversary sets are much better.

All the cards can be seen at Jambalaya (as usual).

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