Thursday, October 29, 2020

2020 BBM Giants History 1934-2020

Earlier this year BBM issued an OB team set for the Carp called "Carp History 1950-2020".  It was a very attractive set and apparently was popular enough that BBM issued a similar set for the Yomiuri Giants called "Giants History 1934-2020" in mid-September.  Like the Carp set, this was a pack based set with a 90 card base set split into three groups of cards - "Giants History", OB players and active players.

This is the third set like this that BBM has done covering the entire span of time that the Giants have been around.  The other two were Anniversary sets - a 104 card 70th Anniversary set in 2004 and a 99 card 80th Anniversary set in 2014.  As far as I can tell this set is not celebrating any particular anniversary unless there's something special about the 86th.

There are seven "Giants History" cards, one more than the Carp set had (and yes, the ones in the Carp set were called "Carp History").    Each card covers an 8 to 15 year stretch of the team's history.  The back of the card shows the team's finish in each season (including the spring and fall seasons from 1936-38) along with if they won the Nippon Series and who the manager was.  Card #1 covers 1934-44 (although there was no actual baseball season in 1934 and 1935), Card #2 covers 1946-60 (no baseball season in 1945), Card #3 covers 1961-74 (the Tetsuharu Kawakami managerial years including the V9 Giants), Card #4 covers 1975-88, Card #5 covers 1989-2001, Card #6 covers 2002-09 and Card #7 covers 2010-19.  Here's the 1946-60 card - I'm pretty sure #3 in the foreground is not Shigeo Nagashima - I think it's Shigeru Chiba, who had the number before Nagashima:


The bulk of the set is the cards of the OB players.  There are 71 of these, one more than there had been in the Carp set.  As always this includes both retired players as well as active former Giants (such as Tetsuya Utsmui and Hisayoshi Chono).  The players include a lot of the names you'd expect - Sadaharu Oh, Nagashima, Kawakami, Hideki Matsui, Koji Uehara, Shinnosuke Abe, Yoshinobu Takahashi, Tatsunori Hara, Isa Harimoto, Isao Shibata, Tsuneo Horiuchi, Masumi Kuwata and Suguru Egawa - but there's several notable exceptions.  Masaichi Kaneda is not in the set which really shouldn't be a surprise as he didn't show up in either of the earlier Anniversary sets either.  Hiromitsu Ochiai and Kazuhiro Kiyohara aren't in the set either although again that's not much of a surprise - Ochiai hasn't appeared on a baseball card since the Dragons fired him as manager in 2011 and I think BBM's been avoiding Kiyohara due to his legal issues.  Most of the players (or managers) that I was surprised to see excluded are from the 1940's and 1950's - Hall Of Famers Chiba, Noburo Aota, Hideo Fujimoto, Takehiko Bessho, Victor Starffin, Osamu Mihara, Shosei Go and Haruyasu Nakajima, all of whom were in at least one of the earlier Anniversary sets.  The only players from before 1950 are Eiji Sawamura and Kamakami.  Some of the later players who are missing include Masahiko (Masaaki) Mori and Shigeru Kobayashi.  The player selection (as usual) tends towards more recent players.  There's only one foreign player included - Alex Ramirez - so guys like Wally Yonamine, Tuffy Rhodes and Warren Cromartie were left out as well.

On the plus side - this set apparently includes the first ever BBM card of Katsuya Sugawara who pitched for the team from 1966 to 1973.  It looks like this is his first baseball card since the 1973-74 Calbee set.  Besides the Calbee cards he had a couple oddball cards in the late 60's and early 70's.  Despite having played for the V9 Giants he was not in Epoch's set for that team from 2014.  (I mention this as a curiosity and not as a reason to run out and buy the set.  I just find it interesting that with all the OB sets BBM has done over the past 15 years or so there are still players from the 60's and 70's who haven't had cards.)

The OB player cards use a very similar design to the Carp cards.  They are very attractive although not quite as attractive as the Carp cards had been (I will admit to liking the Carp much more than the Giants so that might be part of it).  These cards feature a white border while the Carp cards did not.  They also include the player's name in English on the front while the Carp cards did not.  The photos are a mixed bag.  There's a couple black and white but most are in color.  BBM used a horizontal format for a couple of the cards and it worked pretty well.  Here's some examples:








The backs of the cards include a feature that BBM had included on the Carp cards as well.  There's a series of dots that represent every season between 1934 and 2019.  The seasons that the player played for the Giants are colored orange while all the other seasons are colored black.  There's a separate dot below the line of dots for any year that the player managed the team - this allows for player-managers although there aren't any in this set.  Here's the back of Shigeo Nagashima's card as an example:

You can see the orange dots representing 1958 to 1974 and then the dots below the line representing his two stints as Giants manager - 1975-80 and 1993-2001.

The active player subset only includes 12 cards, two fewer than the Carp set.  It pretty much includes who you'd expect - Hayato Sakamoto, Tomoyuki Sugano, Kazuma Okamoto, Yoshihiro Maru and Yoshiyuki Kamei for example.  There's one foreign player - Gerardo Parra - along with a player who was active with the Giants when the set went to press at the end of July but is now an OB player - Hirokazu Sawamura, who was traded to the Marines in early September, right around the time this set was released.  Here's a couple examples:



As you've probably guessed, I like the set (although I am a sucker for the OB team sets).  You can check out all the cards over at Jambalaya as usual.


Nick Vossbrink said...

Abe and Matsui cards are quite nice here.

NPB Card Guy said...

Yeah, BBM can have some really good posed shots on occasion.